You can run your business in one of two ways:
- Reactive mode is when you just “go with the flow,” – when you don’t really have a plan, you just react to what comes your way and deal with it when it does.
- Proactive mode is when you take the time to consider what you want, lay out a plan, and prepare as much as possible for each step that is coming your way.
All of us start our businesses in reactive mode – it’s just a natural part of starting a business.
Start-up mode is what I call stage 1 of business growth, and is all about experimentation and proving your business model. You have an idea of what you want to offer and who you want to work with, but quite often things evolve as you try different ideas and have varying levels of success.
This stage requires you to be a bit reactive – to be able to respond to feedback you receive so you can figure out the business model and shift into growth mode.
Once you have proven your business model – people are buying what you are offering – then you are in stage 2 of business growth, in which the focus is to continue to build on that foundation.
Ideally, as you shift from stage 1 to stage 2, you also shift from being reactive to being proactive. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you start to plan ahead. You take the time to decide what you want to do in the coming months and years, and work together with your team to make it happen.
Not shifting from reactive mode to proactive mode is what causes A LOT of issues for entrepreneurs at this stage of growth. And many people aren’t sure exactly why they are struggling, let alone how to fix it.
A few things to consider when it comes to shifting from reactive to proactive mode:
- Being reactive is much easier – it’s a lot easier to simply go with the flow and respond to what comes to you versus stepping back and considering what you really want and how to get there. Reactive mode is a hard habit to break for many of us, especially if we have been stuck there for years.
- Reactive mode can feel “good enough” – this is a very dangerous trap in my opinion, and one that I found myself in for many years. I was the queen of flying by the seat of my pants and taking whatever opportunity came my way. And quite honestly, it was OK. I was making decent money and enjoying my work for the most part. But it really wasn’t by design, and it got to the point where I felt like something was missing. I no longer wanted to just grab what came to me. I started to get the itch to create work that I really wanted to do. And it was then that my whole business model and income changed (more on that in the next chapter).
- Reactive mode can actually be a lot of fun – there is a rush from the energy of “go go go!!!” that comes into play when you are in reactive mode. Although it can be draining and frustrating, it can also be exciting to get up each day not knowing what will come your way and just having to go with it. It can be very fulfilling to tackle the unexpected and come out on top.
- Reactive mode affects everyone in your business – it’s not just about you. If you are in reactive mode it forces your team to always be in reactive mode as well, continually scrambling to catch up, put out fires, and try to get things done right and on time.
Are you in reactive mode or proactive mode in your business? Hit comment and let me know.