Who’s doing the work?

Photo courtesy: dreamstime.com

We’ve all seen it. Typically on the side of the road. They’ll be some sort of construction just off the side of the road and they’ll be one or two men digging a ditch while 6 to 10 men stand around and watch the ditch diggers. A few are “in the trenches”, the rest are just bystanders.

It dawned on me the other day that even when we’re starting our own businesses we sometimes get confused as to who is supposed to do the work. Who’s supposed to take action. Who’s going to initiate a transaction where goods and or services are exchanged for money?

Sometimes we’ll be so busy “in the trenches” in one area of our business, we’ll ignore other, equally as important areas of our business. You might find yourself devoting days and weeks to making your website the best it can be, but you’re ignoring the accounting and the financials of your business. Or you might find that you’re devoting a lot of time to building relationships online, but you’re TOTALLY IGNORING your local community.

Sometimes, we find ourselves “in the trenches” focusing on areas that are not as important as what we should be focusing on. For instance, we may spend considerable time and money to have a logo created that catches attention and yet we are SHUNNING THE SALES PROCESS because we’re afraid we might hear a “no”.

In each of these examples we’re “in the trenches” in one area and being the bystander in the other.

In the past I have been guilty of this in many ways.

The first that came to mind are the various blogs I’ve attempted to start before. I honestly can’t remember the number of blogs I’ve started and let die. Somewhere between 3 and 5. Each case was the same. I would stumble upon an idea that would inspire me to write a couple blog posts. So I’d quickly crank out 2 to 5 posts and sit back and wait for the millions and millions of subscribers I was going to have.

There are NUMEROUS problems with what I just described, but for the sake of this discussion let’s just focus on two. My “trench” in each of these examples was the content that I produced for the blog. So I’d get busy for a few days on writing about whatever the idea was for the blog. And then I would TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY ignore any effort on my part to draw an audience, to build a community.

Another great example happened when I attempted to sell real estate. Here my “trench” was really diving in and trying to get to know the local inventory on hand so when I had clients I could take them to the PERFECT MATCH for their requirements. So I spent days and weeks combing through the inventory of houses in the local market. I made notebooks of all the details.

BUT I COMPLETELY IGNORED GOING AFTER CLIENTS! OK. Not completely, I sent out a bunch of letters. Thousands of them (we could mail 300 letters for free each month for the broker I worked for). So I passively went after clients.

Now tell me, what good does knowing the inventory do if you NEVER HAVE CLIENTS to show the inventory to???


I don’t think I fully realized it then, but I occupied myself with being in one “trench”, knowing the inventory, at the expense of missing the most important “trench”, going after clients who could and would make a purchase.

So I ask YOU, what “trenches” are you currently in that should be taking a back seat to the truly important tasks in your business? Are you trying to design the perfect backend to the sells process but you’re ignoring actually finding clients? Are you focusing on producing content, but ignoring building a community of people interested in your content? Are you putting all your efforts into growing your online presence, but you’re COMPLETELY DISCOUNTING your local market?

Don’t confuse action with productivity.

Figure out the right “trenches” and then maximize your efforts THERE!



About Ivan Bickett

I want to help people see that there is a better way to conduct business and life. If I can help, let me know.
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4 Responses to Who’s doing the work?

  1. Alana Mokma says:

    OHMYGOSH, your messages are insane. They are hitting home which is sweet, but it is PAINFUL.

    “Don’t confuse action with productivity.”

    This sentence is what stood out to me the most. I work on “my business” almost every night… but the action is not always productive.

  2. Ivan Bickett says:

    I’m so glad they are hitting home with you. And trust me, I FEEL your pain. I’m putting out messages that are stemming from MY life (for the most part). John G. Miller, author of QBQ, once said “We tend to bring to the world what we ourselves most need.” Trust me, I get action and productivity confused often. Then I stop and analyze it, realize what I’ve done, and TRULY become productive.

    Alana, you’re AWESOME! Keeping taking steps towards your goal and you’ll get there in no time.


  3. Rose says:

    This is a reply to who is doing the work. If we decide to start selling Louie’s unique woodturnings, we will need to focus on the internet as well as our friends and local community. We are looking into that. Ivan, you are very good at motivating us. Keep up the good work.

    • Ivan Bickett says:

      I assume you replied through the feed??? The comment posted.

      I know a guy who can help yall if decide to go down that path. ME!

      I would think initially your sales would be more local (friends and friends of friends buying items). In the long run, I think you’d have more sales online b/c the pool of potential customers is much larger than your hometown. We’d just need to work on getting Pops’ name out there.


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