12 Most Lean Lessons for Business from the World of Dieting
I’ve experimented with many different diets in my short time on this earth. Some worked for a while, but I inevitably found a way to cheat and render them ineffective. It wasn’t until recently that something snapped and I decided to take dieting a lot more seriously. In the past three weeks, I’ve lost ten pounds. Can I apply these lessons for business?
I haven’t been following a diet that you can read about in a book. I’ve just been a little wiser about what I’m eating. I monitor everything. And, so far, it’s working.
Hmm… I wonder what it would be like if we implemented these principles in our business activities…
1. Stay hydrated
I’ve been drinking water non-stop for the past three weeks. And it feels great! Water seems to be the fuel that keeps me going.
In business, it’s your cash flow. You need to make sure revenues are coming in. That’s what keeps you going.
2. Eat smaller portions
I eat probably about one-fourth of the amount of food at any given time as I did three weeks ago. Somehow, it just occurred to me that I don’t actually have to fill up the entire plate.
When you’re buying stuff for your business, buy only what you need. Run a lean operation and make purchases just in time. Think smaller portions.
3. Eat less frequently
Before starting this diet, I ate all of the time. I would always have something in my hands to snack on.
Is your business like that? Are you always preoccupied with buying stuff? Are you always shopping? Bad idea. Don’t spend too much time thinking of ways you can spend your money. You might just run out.
4. Eat better foods
I’ve quit eating high-sugar and high-fat foods altogether. Some people say that it’s a bad idea, because you will inevitably splurge. We’ll see.
Nonetheless, for your business, you need to think of the quality of the purchases you are making. Yes, some things may be more expensive. But, do yourself a favor and consider the value over the price. Is the purchase good for your business the way good food would be for you body?
5. Eat high energy foods
I’ve been trying to eat lots of high-protein foods and anything that keeps me energized. That’s what food is for afterall, right?
When you are purchasing things for your business, focus on products and services that are likely to get results. Think of each purchasing decision as an investment because that’s what it is. Will the purchase give your business “energy?” If not, there’s no sense in buying it.
6. Don’t starve
There have been a couple times that it felt like a creature was eating my stomach from the inside out. That’s probably just because my stomach is spoiled and thinks it needs more food than it does. Nonetheless, there’s no sense in starving. When the hunger gets too tough, I snack on a few healthy items (almonds, a banana, etc.) to make it go away.
You shouldn’t starve your business either. There’s a difference, albeit a subtle one, between a lean operation and an anorexic one. If you don’t spend when you need to, your employees will suffer, your customers will suffer, and your bottom line will suffer. So spend a little when you get hunger pains.
7. Be consistent
The problem with all of my diets in the past is not necessarily that they were bad diets; it’s more the fact that I didn’t stick to them.
How often do you stay within budget? That’s an important question. If you follow your budget, you are being consistent with your spending activities. And consistency always wins out in the end.
8. Beware of Pinterest
The thing that makes being on a rigid diet really difficult is being bombarded with images of food from all over the place. Commercials on TV. Instagram and Pinterest. Billboards. You name it. Wherever you look, there’s a temptation to be seen.
The same goes with your business. Everywhere you turn, there’ll be someone asking you to spend money on what they’re selling. As much as you can, stay away from them. They’ll weaken your resolve.
9. Ignore fads
Some people start on diets just because they’re popular. The problem is that once those diets cease to be popular, those people stop following them.
In your business, don’t look too closely at what competitors are doing. Focus on yourself. Mind your own business… literally. Focus on staying within your budget and investing in your growth. Be a leader; not a follower.
Okay, so honestly, I haven’t been exercising a lot lately. But, it stands to reason that if you’re consuming less calories and burning more calories, you’ll lose more weight. Kick your diet into high gear with a little physical activity.
In business, you can “burn calories” by learning to be more efficient with the resources you already have. Combine activities for your employees and save time. Reorganize the office to make tasks quicker and easier to execute. Think about your production processes. What can you trim? Exercise your business to make it more efficient.
11. Be accountable to someone
I have given my wife full permission to yell at me if she sees me trying to sneak anything that I’ve sworn off. It always helps to have a partner when you’re trying to stick to anything.
In business, you need to have colleagues that are willing to call you out. Foster an environment at work in which it’s okay for team members to set you back on the right path.
12. Diet forever
The best diet isn’t so much a change in diet as it is a change of lifestyle. I’m not doing this temporarily. I’m doing it forever. And, since I’ve made this decision, food has taken on whole new meaning for me. What once was bland now tastes like magic. I can get used to this.
In business, you need to stop thinking so much in terms of campaigns and projects, and start thinking about your business “lifestyle.” What is the culture of the way you do business? Don’t just “try it out.” Do it. Permanently. Have values and stick to them. That, more than anything, will set you apart from the mass of companies that have no idea who they are.
What is your business’s diet like? Is it overweight? Is it starving? Am I REALLY overusing this metaphor? Hit me up with your comments below.
Featured image courtesy of stock_xchng.