No Rest For A Weary Tortoise
I thought the weekend past would give me a chance to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation. We’ve been going hot and heavy for weeks trying to build up our customer base. Although we may not have much to show for our efforts from a financial perspective, our customer list grows almost on a daily basis. With each proposal we find out a little more about ourselves, a little more about our customers, a little more about our business environment, a little more about our competition, a little more about marketing strategy, a little more about database development, a little more about proposal writing, and we learn a little more about how much more we need to learn.
The nine to five I go to Monday through Friday is actually getting in the way of us growing our business. It would be nice to kick the job to the curb. But right now the job is all that’s keeping us from going deeper into the poor house. Until we can actually justify me exercising my contractor privilege to leave at a moment’s notice, I’d better keep my appreciation for clocking in for the man every day and keep my impulsive nature to quit at arm’s length, at least for now. I go to work every day with the understanding that change will be coming and chances are fairly high that it will be arriving sooner rather than later.
Until that day comes, I’ll continue to wake up, check my calendar, check for any requests for proposals that may have been submitted over the night, go to work, come home, and then spend the rest of the day working on databases, proposals, websites, documentation, and anything else that might keep the business growing at the most rapid a pace as possible.
This past weekend was supposed to be an opportunity to relax and unwind after all the weeks of pushing. We knew we’d be doing some work. We have about four outstanding jobs on our plate. But the earliest delivery date for these jobs is days away. We could have coasted through the weekend. But I had the nagging feeling that now is not the time to rest. It’s still very early in this game and we don’t have the financial reserves to do any easing at the moment. Besides, resting before the job’s done, isn’t that the way the hare lost to the tortoise?
This weekend was spent in full software development mode. A database that wasn’t due until this coming Friday was completed by late afternoon Sunday. Another database that wasn’t due for about three weeks was started and is more than half completed. We wanted to expand our services by learning to put our databases on the web. We downloaded some trial versions of PHP and ASP.Net tools and spent a little time learning what’s necessary to develop web applications so we can develop our web strategy. And a couple of customers that we’ve already helped wanted a few minor tweaks that we knocked out late Sunday. We spent well almost forty hours working on the business this two day weekend. Who’s got time to take a break?
This morning I had to drag myself out of bed. I didn’t get to sleep until after midnight Friday and Saturday. And Sunday night I didn’t get to sleep until after eleven. Like most mornings I woke up about five. I had to check my calendar and check for jobs. The website we use to market ourselves has a ranking calculation system that the service providers can use to market themselves. The system takes all Sunday to rank all the providers in all the categories. In the software development category, we’re just one of more than three hundred and fifty providers fighting for recognition. This morning we got a huge jump in our ranking and managed to come within a data byte of the upper twenty percentile. That was a truly significant development and more than what we could’ve or should’ve hoped for.
Not much time for celebration. Although I’m still tired, it looks like the work is paying off. We’re still chasing the leaders in our category. It’s a safe bet that we’ll be chasing them for a while to come. But our hope is that with each passing week we’ll get closer and closer until we’re the very top of the class.
Right after checking the rankings I did the morning ritual job search. Somebody had a request for proposals for a job very similar to something we just finished last week. There were a few people who already submitted a proposal. But it was obvious that the job we just completed that was a similar project gave us a competitive advantage. We’ll start work on this one this evening. Good thing we didn’t rest on our laurels or we wouldn’t have the time to earn extra business. Absolutely no rest for the weary.
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