Over the last four days I’ve spent nearly 30 hours reviewing and evolving TechWhirl’s corporate strategy and business plan. And, judging by the amount of old docs I had on my system (roughly around 40) that reference plan, brainstorm or vision I would guess that subconsciously I’ve spent far more time thinking about this area of our work.
The biggest challenge is getting my head straight on what I was trying to plan and what was appropriate for each document. A really bad habit I had before London Business School, and one that I only had beaten out of me by my second year project partner (don’t worry Grant, no names here man, no names) was to not combine activities. Don’t do analysis while taking notes; don’t skip steps. I’m summarizing here but the net is that I started going back to those habits with my current endeavor.
I know when I’m doing it because I get this wicked headache and things just don’t add up. A document that should be fairly simple starts becoming damn complex. I’ll start with wanting to change some aspect of the site and finish by drafting some strategic principles. How’d I get there? Frankly, most times it’s hard to say but the docs rarely make sense and are rarely really useful.
I realized late last week that my new project was starting to fall victim to the same fuzzy thinking so I went back to the basics. What am I trying to accomplish? Why am I doing this? Etc, etc. As the fog started the lift, I realized “oh no, I’ve done it again” and I started piecing together what we’ve done and what we haven’t. It took a while and a little light reading in some old LBS binders to realize that we didn’t just need to make some changes to a product, but double back to our strategy and business plan.
My first step was collecting all of the documents that had anything to do with planning up to and including wireframes and sitemaps and put them in one folder. From there, I looked over the folder and decided the level of the thinking: was it at the company, site or product level? My next step, and the one that will have to do for today’s work was synthesizing my own thoughts, notes and about five different docs to create a first cut of our company strategy. It’s not all together different than what we state publicly but we have made a couple alterations. That’s okay, at least they’re listed and I can move on to the overall business plan for now and next year.
All this work just to get to the thing I really want to do which is to make some changes to our main site. I guess subconsciously I knew that all this foundational work hadn’t been done so I was trying to throw it in to any document open on my computer. That’s okay, better late then never I guess.
The fog of entrepreneurship and too many demands on my time is starting to lift. I’m sure this isn’t the last time, but I’m glad to finally be seeing a little more clearly.