Business stationary? I like to move it, move it…

I saw an online ad this week for “business stationary.” That made me smile.

It also reminded me of a topic I’ve been meaning to blog about, which is that a business should never stand still. Standing still will kill your business.

It’s like the line from the movie Annie Hall, where Woody Allen says to his girlfriend: “A relationship is like a shark—it has to keep moving forward or it dies. And what we’ve got is a dead shark.”

Well, no one wants a dead fish. So how do you keep your business moving forward?

One way is to learn from your mistakes. And that doesn’t just mean fixing a specific mistake. It also means figuring out whether that mistake was caused by a bigger problem you need to deal with.

Take that ad for “business stationary”. Correcting the spelling mistake is not really learning from that mistake. Because if a spelling mistake made it into the ad, that business has a bigger problem: they aren’t proofreading very well! They need to deal with that problem.

Another way of moving forward is to delegate the stuff that someone else can do, so that you can focus on the stuff that only you can do. I think that’s especially important if you’re running a business on your own, because it’s tempting to do everything yourself.

Proofreading is actually something I’ve started delegating lately. I made that decision after I finished a proposal late one night. I was exhausted. I wanted to go to bed. But I couldn’t, because now I had to proofread the proposal. Rats! And not only was I cranky about doing it—I also knew I wouldn’t do it very well, since I was exhausted.

So these days, my copywriter does my proofreading. He even proofreads my blog entries. Now that’s what I call moving forward!