The Small Business Experiment- Part 5, Defying the Law of Inertia

the small business experiment part 5

We are living in an age of unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs everywhere. Hyper-connectivity is reversing the Tower of Babel. In the midst of swirling conversations, the economies of the world are folding and bending and snapping together in new ways, much like Transformers in some giant, world-sized toy box.

Success is equal opportunity–with an equal opportunity to crash and burn. If you fail in business today, you cannot say you did not have enough information. If you are not taking advantage of all the free training from the world’s finest universities, (available everywhere while podcasts last), it is to your detriment. The tools to apply this knowledge are ever more accessible and approachable too.

Yet, for all the business advice dispensed, the application remains a cautionary tale. One size does not fit all. Just because Amazing Strategy A works for Enterprise B, (insert flashing starburst containing the word Amazing here), it does not necessarily follow that this strategy will produce the same results for you. Terms and conditions do not always apply, even if you read them. Your particular environment may be different. Many rabbit trails are pursued in the name of a famous founder, with less than stellar results. Context is always king, followed quickly by timing, constraints, opportunity, and available elbow grease.

Despite all available risk, I remain a U.P.: Unquenchable Possibilitarian. I remain hopeful that these changes in our world will bring about a marvelous evolution of free enterprise. 

What stands in the way is a strange dichotomy. While the environment is subject to continual change, humans resist it. We are subject to the Laws of the Universe, and specifically, Newton’s First Law of Motion: Inertia. This law states that things, including people, want to keep doing what they are already doing. If they are at rest, they want to stay at rest. If they are moving, they want to keep moving. It takes nothing short of great force to suspend inertia.

It can cause quite a problem. It takes an earthquake to make us change our habits. (When was the last time you gave up something yummy to eat before the doctor told you that you had to?) On the other side, once we are on a roll, we want to stay on a roll–even if being on a roll does not accomplish the right things. We long for things to stay the same, and try to insert as much predictability as we can into an unpredictable world. Inertia plagues the best of entrepreneurs.

But for entrepreneurs who want to go the long haul, we need to practice the discipline of change. Even making small changes to your daily routine can be a start. Beyond just getting used to the idea, we need to practice changing gears at a moment’s notice–all in the name of a higher purpose. Begin by taking a look at every activity for which you have said, “we have always done it this way”.

Whenever we assist a budding enterprise with graphic representation of their Vision and Mission, we start by helping them to divine their purpose and their trajectory.  “Where do you want to be in five years?” After a bat of the eyes, and an incredulous stare, they usually ask something akin to, “How it is even possible in this day in age to think five years out?”

It isn’t possible.Guessing where you will be in five years is a crap shoot at best. Yet, the entrepreneur that realizes a calling and a purpose bigger than themselves will thrive in an environment of change–far beyond the entrepreneur who is only concerned with survival. The entrepreneur with vision is prepared for change. When the environment zigs, she can zag. She is ready to jump if the opportunity arises, or take wing if the bottom falls out. (She has taken wing so many times that she has accumulated frequent flyer miles.) Most importantly, she is fit to survive, because she is concerned not only about her own success, but the success of everyone around her. She succeeds with her customers– never without them. She focuses on making herself and her company useful to a changing world.

Entrepreneurs must develop a plan to avoid Inertia. Change is the new daily homogeneity.  Few businesses that have achieved any measure of stature are the same as the founder originally planned them to be. Only one mantra remains a constant in entrepreneurial cosmology: all that can change, will change. 

We need to make daily effort to defy Newton’s First Law of Motion. Plan your own quarterly earthquake to avoid apathy and indifference. Find a mentor to hold you accountable for the vast difference between busy and productive. It will take Herculean force, because change is here to stay.

We are perched somewhere between the Now and the Not Yet. No one knows what tomorrow will bring or what we are yet to become. But today’s entrepreneur understands the risk and is prepared to engage and evolve into all that they are destined to be. I have watched many entrepreneurs transformed into a dynamic force for good. It is very encouraging in a messy world to say the least.

May you be fearless to embrace your own evolution. And may you become my fellow Unquenchable Possibilitarian. 

Have you enjoyed this series? If so, please let me know in the comments below.


Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies?  Because no matter how beautiful your graphics, they will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your vision, the more lucid your marketing will be, and the better connection you will make with your target customer. We want to help you find the gold in your business. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.