The Obvious Place To Start: Scale Lessons from the Cheshire Cat
Over 150 years ago, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was first published; it’s one of the best-known and most popular works of children’s fiction.
And it’s one of the best business books I’ve ever read!
There’s the scene where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat (even if you’ve heard this all before, please keep reading because this is critical – and I’ve included an example for you).
Their conversation goes like this:
‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where…,’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘…so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’
Most businesses run this way – they are just going.
Some are failing at everything.
Even many of the ones that are making money, or maybe even growing and giving a reasonably good service – are just going.
Which means that they are in serious danger of falling down suddenly. And very hard.
You see, if your business has no visible ‘guiding principle’ or clear ‘targeted destination’ directing it, then every decision you make will be an emotional one, based on the short-sighted information.
And, if you let your business be driven by growth, instead of your business driving the growth, then you’ll always be vulnerable to ‘Growing Broke’.
It seems like an obvious place to start to say you need a plan; and that is because the obvious truths are often the most powerful but neglected ones.
Here’s the 2 simple steps:
To plan well and understand how you are going to get your business to a place that you can call success you need to know what success looks like – FOR YOU. So, to set up correctly or to start out in a way which will enable you to scale your way to success, you need to begin with the end in mind.
Step 2 :
Once you have your goal clearly identified, simply start to work backwards. Work out what your business will look like in terms of: finances, turnover, personnel, products, processes, structure and marketing.
The greater and more complex your goal, the more detailed your plan needs to be.
If you have big aspirations for your business, especially if those plans involve employing other people, then you will fail if you don’t have a clearly defined, step-by-step plan.
I’m not suggesting, by any means, that you take all of the flair and innovation out of your business by making everything run in line with performance targets.
You absolutely do not need to become a corporate, impersonal machine to be able to SCALE – you simply need a map and a very clear direction, or you will never get to where you want to be.
Sounds simple reading it right now. But when you’re stuck working in the business, it’s a different story. So, here’s a simplified example for you to download: