How to be happy in business

Brain feeling a little stiff? Loosen your synapses by spending a few minutes at Bud Caddell’s That’s where I found this venn diagram of “How to Be Happy in Business.” With it, Bud addresses an age-old question: How do we make enough money from the things we want to do, and do really well?

whatwe do well
The amazing thing about this diagram is the life it took on. Since Bud published it in 2009, he’s received more than 300 comments and well over 100 trackbacks, retweets, and mentions. In response to popular demand, it’s now for sale as a poster. I’m thinking the idea that a company needs to be very clear about what it does, in the words of Jim Collins, better than anyone else in world, really resonates with people.

Here’s what he says about his chart:

Over the years, I’ve found myself facing the following scenarios. 

We can’t determine how to make enough money from the things we want to do, and do really well. I’m constantly surprised at what can be monetized. And on the web, there’s a market for almost anything. But this problem requires you to rapidly iterate your positioning and the type of clients you serve. Often, we’ll get transfixed on a single direction early on (because we’re desperate to solidify our business) and we’ll miss our chance to radically experiment with the market.

We’ve found things we want to do, and can be paid for, but we’re not the best game in town. Mediocrity is not a sustainable strategy. Being able to recognize your own weakness is a profound strength, and acting to improve what you do is key to any kind of long term growth and stability. Find the best talent and steal them. Learn how your competitors run their businesses, and copy what works.

We’ve come across things people want us to do, that we do well (or at least better than the competition) that we really don’t want to do. This is perhaps the most fatal trap for any business I’ve worked in. These are the sirens calling you to shipwreck. You’ll hemorrhage your best people, you’ll stop loving what you do, and you’ll lose the passion that built your business in the first place. Start saying “No.”

Read his original post here.

I originally posted this article on I’m New Here Myself, a blog I published between 2009 and 2011.

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