world of businessIn the classic tale “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, our hero, Alice chases a rabbit down a rabbit hole. She is soon puzzled by all the wonders she encounters there. Things get “curiouser and curiouser.” Then, at a fork in the road, seeking direction, she meets up with a grinning Cheshire Cat.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” Alice asks the Cat.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to!” says the Cat.

“I don’t much care where,” Alice says.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the Cat’s eyes cross, looking down opposite roads.

“Well, as long as I get…SOMEWHERE!” Alice adds, thoughtfully.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” grins the Cheshire Cat, “if you only walk LONG enough!”

Alice soon comes to the conclusion that she just wants to go home; back to where she felt comfortable and safe. A world away from a land of confusion, which she discovers is not “wonderful” at all.

The uncharted world of business

Like Alice’s wonderland, in the often mythical and uncharted world of business, you can quickly find yourself down a “rabbit hole.”  An entrepreneurial attack can cause you to jump in with both feet before giving the matter a great deal of thought. You start your journey fascinated by the endless possibilities, and the shear wonder of it all.

Everyone knows owning a business is the opportunity of a lifetime.  We’ve all seen the rich and famous doing it. Right?

Why, who knows, we may become financially independent!  We could then spend time with our family traveling the world; our children attending the best schools. We could finally be our own boss, not having to report to anyone. Yes, you can see it all now, a farm in the country with an old barn and a few horses.  You name it, it’s yours!

CAUTION: This could be you

[YOUR NAME]-in-Wonderland, Business Owner!

On our first encounters into this wondrous world of business, the journey seems doable. Then as the years click by, something a little “curiouser” happens; disillusion, disappointment, frustration. REALITY sets in, taking away the joy of it all. We discover we have somehow lost our way and self-doubt becomes the norm. We begin to think, “Maybe this dream of being independent and owning a business is for others, not me!?”

The business has taken over your life and, in some cases, the dream has become a nightmare, and nothing is what it should be. You’re working endless hours and still not able to keep up with the day-to-day grind of operations.

Yep, you wonder where the WONDER went!

On first read, Alice inquiring of a grinning, sometimes disappearing Cat, may seem a bit bizarre. However, the Cat’s response, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” was perfectly sound.

You’ve heard the saying, “Without a vision the people perish.” In my book “System Busters,” I go into great detail of how a business owner needs to SET the vision, regarding how they want their company to look and operate, and even what the size of it should be, in order to fulfill their dream. Then an owner needs to make the decision to bring that vision into reality, systematically.

First things, first!

Dreaming of farms in the country, traveling and being independently wealthy is great, but, business (first things) FIRST!

The vehicle you need to take you to the wonderland you’ve dreamed about is, of course, your company! And this vehicle has to be built with a plan, well-maintained and continually serviced. Properly managed, it can take you and your family to the “wonderland” you envisioned as you began your business.

When Alice said she didn’t much care where she would go, the Cat’s next response was even MORE perfect: “Then it doesn’t matter WHICH way you go!”

If you’re NOT working ON your business, systematically, building a company that Ensures great quality products and services with on-time delivery—a company with minimal errors, great working conditions for employees; a company absent of clutter and miscommunication—then it doesn’t really matter which way you go!

If working ON your business, systematically, is NOT the plan, the winds of chaos will carry you from one disaster to the next—from one error to the next—and you will have little or NO control.

What happens then is, those around you become disillusioned and they look for a way out of YOUR “rabbit hole”—a nightmare of little wonder!

This is where most businesses live, responding to the day-to-day problems, but NEVER eliminating them through written procedures, policies, and checklists, etc. These types of systems can be the road map to where you want to go—and what’s more important, a roadmap for OTHERS to follow.

Back to Alice

Alice said something very interesting, without hesitation or thinking it through.

“As long as I get SOMEWHERE!”

Again, this is where most business owners live, and where I lived for the first five years of owning my business. I just wanted to grow—I just wanted to get “somewhere.”

The Cheshire Cat’s response to Alice’s “somewhere” remark was most remarkable, and sadly true—“Oh, you’re sure to do that, if you only walk LONG enough!”

When a business owner doesn’t have a road map to where they’re going—i.e., an Operations Manual—they will surely get somewhere, but they’d better KEEP walking, keep working; no time for rest or enjoying things they’ve always wanted to do, because the dreams they had of how their life would be as a business owner—before JUMPING down that rabbit hole into the REAL WORLD (without quality control systems)—is that, IT’S ALL A DREAM!

Did I mention? Great systems work!