Putting the cart before the horse

This is what most businesses do.

They focus on the detail or the benefits of their products or services before actually looking at why their business even exists.

Like choosing what food to put on your restaurant’s menu before you’ve clearly defined the concept.

We go for the easy as we can all talk about what we do or the benefits of our offerings. It’s much harder to talk about our company’s purpose or why we do what we do.

If you start with a purpose, a mission, what you stand for, the business’s values and then it’s so much easier to get the details right and align everything.

It’s then easier for the right people to fall in love with what you do.

Mass produced generic services and products that sell on benefits and features are in a one way race to the bottom and very few remember them when they’re gone.

Long lasting businesses that people care about take time and a willingness to follow a mission, a purpose and stick to it.

Any benefit


It is interesting in society that we have adopted, as Cal Newport describes it in his fabulous book ‘Deep Work’, an ‘any benefit’ approach to deciding to do something or use an app or spend time. It is part of the mainly shallow activity that we have now become conditioned to engage in.

All it needs is a benefit and we adopt it. It has become a sales tactic especially once companies have paid a team of ‘experts’ to say ‘drinking x is good for y’. Drink it whatever other consequences it might have, it has a benefit.

Jumping off a cliff has a benefit, free falling at high speed is exciting. Although it has many other more definite downsides.

Often, what we all miss in this process of ‘any benefit’ selection is to start to analyse the downsides. We fail to go deeper.

What if we took our two most important current work goals or our 2 most important personal goals and weighed up doing something or using an app etc against them? Perhaps, then we can go beyond an ‘any benefit’ view to better assess how we might use our time to move forward towards our important work and personal goals.

Simple have ‘a benefit’ is not enough and we’ll end up being busy doing stuff regardless of our goals.

If we are to create enough time to do the really important valuable work, then we have to reduce the amount of time we allocate to shallow things and create time to do the deeper more meaningful things.