Know Your Business Know Your Environment

The second in a series of articles entitled ‘Know Your Business’, which explores how to identify the perfect business to run and is written by entrepreneur and multi business owner James Keightley, who runs his own ecommerce business and business coaching consultancy.

I have previously outlined that there are several logical levels that are important to follow when identifying the best match between you and the type of business you want to run and own. These are; the overall vision, how it relates to you as an individual, what your beliefs are about the business, what skills and capabilities are required, how it requires you to behave and lastly the environment you and your business will operate in.

By working through these one at a time it will be possible for you to flesh out a clearer picture of how you and your business will look and feel at each of these stages and provide you with food for though on what business you will be suited to run.

The first of these is the environmental level and by this I mean, what sort of environment do you want to see and feel your self in on a day to day basis when you are running your own business? How comfortable or uncomfortable would it feel for example if this involved working underground as a miner for example? How would it feel to be working at heights or being amongst children etc? It is important to identify the type of environment you most enjoy working in, whether this is amongst others, in a more solitary environment, with young people or adults for example.

You are a very lucky if you enjoy all the environmental aspects of your chosen career because for those who consider that they have the best job in the world, there are usually still aspects of it which they prefer less than others.

It is important to try and identify the most suitable environment possible and yet remember that from time to time this may involve aspects or short periods that are not the perfect environment. The idea is to find an environment that on the whole is ideal and well suited to you. For example, on the whole I like being in the outdoors, but I appreciate that from time to time about 20% of my time may be indoors or other less desirable environments. I appreciate this and understand that occasionally I need to take the rough with the smooth so to speak, but on the whole I am able to enjoy working in my preferred environment.

So how do you do this? Well it is a case of following some thought provoking exercises and recruiting the support of others to try and identify what your ideal environment might look and feel like, which is the same for identifying the finer details for all the parts of the logical levels of your perfects business.

Work through some of these suggestions below, which are intended to flesh out ideas and suggestion about what your perfect environment might be, ensuring to write everything down, no matter how insignificant it might seem. I’ll repeat that. You need to make sure that you write everything down no matter how insignificant or ridiculous it might seem, just scribble it down, because the weirdest of ideas can lead directly and indirectly to other thought processes. We can string it all together later on and use it to construct a clearer picture.

Fleshing out your ideal environment;

Ask Yourself – before you do anything, think about it and ask yourself what environment you feel naturally attracted to. Not what you would like to do, but simply what environments would you most like to spend your time in. Is it on your own, are you with others, is it in the country, an office, amongst animals or in a theatre etc. Write down as many as you can think of, just scribble them all down on a piece of paper or better still type them on our computer so they are easier to sort at a later date. Your list my have 10 or 100 things listed.

Go For a Walk – walking is a great way to get some space to think freely and to day dream. Go for a walk on your own and reflect some more on the thoughts you gave to the above task and see if anything else pops up. Write this down on a pocket book or note pad and be sure to add it to your list when you get home.

Browse the Magazine Rack – when you buy yourself a magazine, which do you go for? What are they about and what magazines catch your eye the most or which do you find yourself picking up and flicking through? Notice what thoughts this might stimulate about the environments you prefer or dislike. Are they walking magazines, home furnishing or travel magazines etc?

Go For Another Walk – leave it a few days and go for another walk. It is important to let a few days’ laps because you will be amazed at how much work the unconscious mind does when you think you are not thinking about things. Then go for another walk and see if on reflection the magazine exercise prompts any new thoughts around the issue of your preferred environment. Again, note your thoughts down and add it to your lit when you get home. Add ideas, even if they already appear on the list because if the same ones keep cropping up then this is saying something.

Write a Short Story – story writing is a really great way to think creatively and release the things that are stored up in your head. Write a short story that only needs to be a page long about something you have done that you really enjoyed. For me it was a story about building my own house. Write down what you did, how you did it, what it involved, what challenges you faced, how you over came them, what you enjoyed the most, how you would make it more enjoyable if you could repeat it and what was the outcome of it.

Go For Another Walk – spend some time walking and reflecting on the story you have written and see what other thoughts it prompts about the environments you like to spend time in. Who were you with, where were you, what were your surroundings, what pictures does it conjure up and what type of painting would someone paint to illustrate the environment the best captures the essence of the story you have written?

The Miracle Question – ask yourself if a miracle could happen and you were able to wake up tomorrow in your ideal environment and where money or any other factors that would ordinarily be a limiting issue did not exist, what environment would you be in? Add your thoughts to your list

Ask Others – ask others to email you a list of suggestions as to what type of environment they see you smiling in all day long. When they think of you working somewhere, what environment are you in. Remember to make sure they don’t describe what it is you are doing, but to describe where you are, what your surroundings are etc.

By now you should have a fairly comprehensive list of environments that appeal to you in some form or another and to varying degrees.

Prioritizing Your Environments

Now it is time to try and identify which environments you are most suited to, which you would enjoy spending most of you time in and what the priority of them are.

Take an initial look at the list and see if you can group together any of the ideas in to common environments. Are there suggestions that you have noted several times. From the list try to formulate a list of at least your top ten most preferred environments.

Now write these down on individual cards, pieces or paper or post it notes.

Next, in any order pick up any two environmental descriptions you have written on individual pieces of paper and ask yourself, ‘if I could only choose one, which would I choose and which would I discard?’ Place your preference to one side. Repeat the process until you have whittled it down to just three preferred environments and make a note of these being your preferred three ideal environments you like to spend time in.

In the next article, ‘Knowing Your Business Knowing Your Behaviour’ we will be exploring how you like to behave.

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