The Information Worker

January 16, 2009

Learning to Grow, Walk, Eat, Ask, Seize, Give…

Filed under: SharePoint Technology,Sharing Minds — adamclark @ 2:53 pm

When I first made the decision to leave my old workplace, I knew that I could do something great, that was different to everyone else.  The founding of Sharing Minds was a big step into a great big world that I knew was there but had never truly entered into.  While I have not yet been running Sharing Minds for 12 months I have to say that for the most part I still have that sense of awe for those people who run their own businesses.

The challenge that I now find is having enough time to proactively do things rather then just reacting to requirements.  The chance to Grow Sharing Minds is awesome and I am really happy to now be adding my second full-time employee (Now there are Three!).  But in growth there is risk, you have to take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, pray that the work will be there, that your employee’s are going to say and do the right thing to clients.  These are the lessons that I am now learning in growing Sharing Minds.

When I started Sharing Minds, SharePoint opportunities were abounding, and work was plentiful.  Now the work is still there but harder to find and learning to Walk in the current downturn in the economic climate is not easy.  I think that small businesses just need to adjust to longer sales cycles, help their customers to find the benefit in the product and make sure they get what they need.  Within Sharing Minds we have the saying that “We help our clients on the Journey”.  We don’t want to do the work for them, the best result is when they have learnt from us and they ask us back to continue walking the journey with them.

Another area I am really learning is is that of discussion,  for most of my career I have always had aa degree of comfort when talking to people, the gift of the gab as some people call it. But now running Sharing Minds I am learning (and really enjoying) the opportunity to grow my linguistic skill and social abilities. 

Microsoft have a saying ‘ Eat your own dog food’.  That is that they use all of their products within the organisation before they release a product to a client/customer.  At Sharing Minds I am really trying to get a similar process up off the ground.  But I also find that challenging at the same time, being a small business still in start-up mode, we don’t have lots of processes or methodologies documented, our hardware is not always up to spec and we’re always playing catch-up.  But things are getting there, we’ve got a great Intranet that is slowing getting some content running on it.  And hopefully in the first few months of 2009, we’re going to have a proper, professional Internet site running in a hosted environment.  All in all though I have to say that this is what I have so far found to be the single hardest aspect of running a business.  Eating is hard!

When I worked for a company I found that asking for information, tools, clients (or sometimes permissions) was easy.  I had skills and the need was always easy to define.  With starting Sharing Minds I have found the need to learn how to Ask.  Asking for tools is more internal but harder as I see the bottom line.  Asking clients to pay invoices on time (all of them have so far which is great) and the hardest is learning how to ask a new customer to give you work.  I still have a long way to go on that last one, but I am once again finding the process an interesting challenge that I am enjoying!

Carpe Diem! This line to seize the day and go for what your after is something that has always been of great encouragement.  Being bold in a lot of circumstances brings great results, but learning to temper that is also a skill. 

Do unto Others… that famous line is a cornerstone upon which I have created Sharing Minds,  like all business we’re there to do business, but at the same time I have found it important to give back to the community.  In 2009 I hope to get Sharing Minds more active within the business and greater community with all Sharing Minds employees giving some of their time to community activities that benefit others. 

I find this is a great time that I am in and my journey is just beginning, what has gone before has only prepared me for what lies ahead and I hope that Sharing Minds will continue to grow to become a leader in the collaboration areana, a partner to those who normal compete and a company that is both respectfull and respected in the community!

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