Every business can be divided into 3 main worlds. The yesterday, the today and the tomorrow. And while each world deserves differing amounts of your time, ignoring any one of them can limit your business. But the truth is – most of us will favour one over the other two – or simply never prioritize enough time to spend in the other worlds – partly because we feel we don’t really belong there. To be honest, there are a myriad of excuses I could list that would all seem valid as to why the other worlds often get neglected. Let’s first take a look at each world…
The world of yesterday.
The easiest way to say what the world of yesterday is – is to say that it’s the world that deals with all the things in a business that have already happened. In a creative business, it’s essentially the things that can’t be altered, but can be viewed and monitored through good reporting software like Streamtime.
What did we invoice last month?
Who has paid? Who hasn’t? These are the usual questions that get asked from this world. The people in your creative business that work in this world are your finance and accounts people. Often the Managing Director of a creative business runs a mile from this world. It makes them queasy. And yet this world can offer very strong insight to help you navigate the world of tomorrow.
This world helps you answer the following
How profitable is my company?
How profitable is that client?
How profitable was that job?
How many billable hours did that staff member bill last year? How many hours were written off?
What is that client actually costing us?
The translation book for this world is your reporting software – like Streamtime. You will understand yesterday more when you can see how each day, week, month and year track. You will understand it more when you have real time ability to see exactly what a month is looking like, how many creditors are left to pay or how long you have been waiting for payment.
The world of today.
This is the world that the majority of your staff are living in. This is where you bill your time, get your to-do-list done, and where each job, project or campaign is worked on and delivered.
This world needs good resource management. This world needs good supply chain management for all the other companies you deal with.
This world needs accurate capture of all internal and external costs.
Your Production Manager lives and breathes this world, your creative staff members have usually only ever lived in this world and your client service team know that this is the world that your clients care the most about.
This is the world where you ‘think’ you get most of your reputation. But you’ll only get your reputation from this world if that’s what you think!
Let me put it another way. This world is vitally important. But if this is the only world you currently live in as a business owner (with the occasional begrudged long weekend in the world of yesterday) then you are missing out and you will, slowly but surely, be losing your desire to live in the creative industry.
The world of tomorrow.
This is the world that many creative people forget to live in, or at least, don’t make time for.
They get trapped by the world of today – with all its deadlines, client requests and staff issues. They have an understanding that the world of yesterday is important, but often they never quite commit the time to spend in the important world of tomorrow.
The world of tomorrow is all about where you are headed. What clients you want to work with and what type of projects you want to work on. The world of tomorrow helps you decide what awards you want to enter, what new products you want to work on or what businesses you may want to start. This world helps you aim towards the size you want your company to be and how it may look in the future.
This world exists mostly for the business owner. It’s also appropriate for your General Manager and Accountant to spend some time in this world, so they understand the direction you are heading in and what part of yesterday can help you make better decisions – as well as what part of today needs to start a change of direction.
The world of tomorrow is exciting to think about. It helps raise you out of the sometimes monotonous feeling of being trapped by the ‘today’. It also enables you to dream – and dreaming has never been a bad thing…
One of your keys to the world of tomorrow.
Streamtime was created specifically to help you manage the chaotic world of today and give insight into the seemingly unexciting world of yesterday. It was designed to free you up, to give business owners a real chance of being able to live in the world of tomorrow.
It helps create really important business rules and practices that will streamline your company while making it more profitable and more respected.
It will give you solid insight into the ‘yesterday’ to give you clues to where your ‘tomorrow’ should be heading.
If you are serious about what you are doing and where you want to head, then get serious about the tools available to you for the world of yesterday and today. Use them. Properly.
And with the free time these tools will help you to have – spend some serious time in the world of tomorrow.
Former founder of Q.
Director of Streamtime.