When I started my first business, I did things as best I could at that time. I look back on that time and smile because what I did then is a far cry from what I do now. It’s not that it was ever bad, it’s just that as my business grew, as my resources grew, as I grew, my standards and execution grew and improved with me.
You can only ever work with what you have. And when you are first starting a business you are most likely going to be resource-scarce, time-pressed, and ability-short. This isn’t a condemnation, it’s a description.
Of course when you are bootstrapping you can’t be extravagant. Of course when you are the founder, CEO, CMO, CFO, COO, secretary, admin assistant, and caterer all in one you don’t have time for nice-to-haves. Of course when you are just starting out you don’t know what you don’t know and you get better only through trial and error and hard-won experience. Of course!
You can only work with what you have, and do the best you can with what you have at any given time. And then, when you have a little bit more, you can do a little bit more. When you’ve learned a little bit more, you can improve a little bit more. It is that simple.
It is so easy to get stuck in the mindset of I want it all right now or It worked well before so I’m not going to change. But even if you don’t change, your world will change around you. The market will change, your competitors will change, your customer’s expectations will change, best practices will change, industry benchmarks will change… It will all change, change, change and change some more.
So why let yourself or your business stagnate? You don’t have to blindly follow what changes around you, but you do need to have the strength to admit when there might be a better way and always try – at least try – to improve.
Your business is not a finished product. It is not something that you birth and then leave alone. It is not something that is created perfectly-formed. There is almost always room for improvement, room for updating, room for more (or less), or room, simply, for better.
So whether it’s your services or your product, your outlook on life or your abilities, your mindset or your physical health – or all of the above – why not commit to improving what you can when you can? Why not commit to trying as much as you can to be the best you can?
It won’t always be possible, or perfect, or smooth, and we all have bad days (or weeks, or months… or maybe even years), but at least put improvement on your radar. At least reflect on what might need improving. At least think about when it might be possible to get even just 1% better. At least try.
It won't always be easy, but it can be that simple.