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Are You The Pig Or The Chicken?

Are you the pig?

Once upon a time on a farm, there was a pig and a chicken. They were well looked after by the farmer and really appreciated that he gave them their favourite foods and made their homes clean and comfortable. One day, the chicken was talking to the pig and said, “Did you know that Farmer is having a birthday this week?” The pig replied, “No, I didn’t. It would be nice to do something for him“. The chicken and the pig went on with their day trying to think of a gift.

As they admired the sun setting over the hills, the chicken said, “I’ve got a grand idea! Let’s do a nice fry-up for Farmer!” The pig got a little nervous when she heard this idea. “Er… a fry-up?” The chicken replied, “Sure and it would be lovely! Think of how Farmer will enjoy starting his morning off with a gift from us.” The pig felt even more nervous. After all, she really did love the farmer and wanted to do something special. The pig answered the chicken, “Now hang on a moment. It’s not that easy. You’ve just got to lay an egg or two. For me, this is a full on commitment!

Which one are you in your small business?

This is a tougher question than you might think at first. The knee-jerk reaction for most of us is that we’re the pig. Fully committed and fully passionate about what we do. This is not to say that our first thought is entirely untrue. The real test is in our actions. One of my clients has this fabulous vision for where his company will be in twenty years. He wants to build a business that makes a profit and is fulfilling and community-oriented. But he wavers about being the pig.

Simply put, it’s a lot of work to be the pig.

It means that every working day you are attentive to what makes the business healthy. Sometimes, time slips away and tasks don’t get done due to illness, stress, unexpected events or interruptions. For my client, in one week, he has to meet with prospective clients, facilitate a meeting with a new marketing consultant, review a project management plan with designated staff and complete a report that will go to a governmental agency. In a recent session, he expressed feeling worried that he wouldn’t be able to get it all done he didn’t know what was most important. The best part was when he figured out a plan for each day of the week which included identifying which priority had to be met on a specific day.

When you are the leader and manager of a small business, it’s your responsibility to keep the focus on the strategic plan. And while you are doing this, you are also using your technical expertise. It’s a balancing act that requires good management of your time and being able to prioritise.

Find your inner pig.

That may sound a bit flip but it really is a choice. What do you want for your business? Do you have a twenty year plan like my client? Great! Now do you have a 1 week plan, a 1 month plan and a 3 month plan? The key idea isStrategic plan and prioritising goals that you don’t have to do everything all at once. When you are fully committed, you have each day with specific goals that fulfill a priority. Each short term plan fits into the overall long term strategic plan.

For example, do you have an outstanding proposal to complete and send to a prospect? Give it a priority level. For my clients, we often have conversations about which projects will bring money in the short term or the long term. Where does this proposal fit in? Identify what needs to be completed and how much time each of these items need. This makes it easier to schedule when you work on something.

Are you the chicken or the pig? Hesitating makes sense. There is a lot you are responsible for. However, instead of getting stuck in place, use the time to plan. Your level of commitment will determine how much action you take.

How committed are you?

Growing a business locally or internationally takes a different mindset; the CEO Mindset. Elli St.George-Godfrey, a behavioral economics coach, international expansion consultant and founder of Ability Success Growth, uses her 3 Keys Coaching process to help business owners and executives in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to unlock the CEO within. Under her guidance, personal styles are fine-tuned allowing the senior leader to “authentically inhabit” the role of CEO and collaborate with their team more effectively. With this focus on both the people and the organization in which they work, Elli’s market-proven coaching helps leaders and their teams develop styles and capabilities which enables them to collaborate and effectively join together to optimize the business outcomes.

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  • Hi Elli, great post! I would recommend that people read it in conjunction with Fred’s last post here and this one from Derek Sivers. Together, they provide a framework for how to approach managing your commitment, time and responsibility towards your business, a how-to be u201ca business owneru201d Thanks for sharing, Niall

  • Hi Elli, nnThis works for me. Instead of trying to u2018do a projectu2019 I just get started. At any point and with any piece of the project. But it doesnu2019t have to be at the u2018startu2019.nnWhat seems to happen is that once the wheels are in motion, then momentum begins to gather and things move along. nnI also apply this to getting fit.nnFor example, I donu2019t go jogging, rather I roll out of bed (always the hardest part!), get dressed… and before you know it I’m out running. nnIf I decided to go running it wouldnu2019t happen. nnEdward De Bonou2019s books on lateral thinking have been very helpful to me in this respect. nnPS – As I never really forgave Snowball in Animal Farm, Iu2019d probably side with the chicken…n

  • Anonymous

    Ivan,nnFor some tasks, just getting started can be an achievement. We build things up in our minds so often. Thanks for the recommendation for Edward De Bono’s books. I’m sure that many people will find it useful to learn more about lateral thinking. nnMy philosophy is to keep all tools and resources at hand (so to speak). Lateral thinking has its place as does reductive thinking. It makes more sense to make your action plan as smooth as possible so you want to follow through even when your commitment and motivation flagging. nnPS-Didn’t see the Animal Farm reference coming! LOL

  • Anonymous

    Ivan,nnFor some tasks, just getting started can be an achievement. We build things up in our minds so often. Thanks for the recommendation for Edward De Bono’s books. I’m sure that many people will find it useful to learn more about lateral thinking. nnMy philosophy is to keep all tools and resources at hand (so to speak). Lateral thinking has its place as does reductive thinking. It makes more sense to make your action plan as smooth as possible so you want to follow through even when your commitment and motivation flagging. nnPS-Didn’t see the Animal Farm reference coming! LOL

  • Anonymous

    Niall,nnThank you for putting all of those links together. It’s great when you can have more than one perspective on how to manage commitment, time and responsibility. That way, you find your own perspective. You and your business win!

  • I’m always wary of generalisations, and the Agile methodology with its chicken/pig split is no different.nnWe started our company in 2002 with two people, during the dotcom bursting bubble, one who got the work and one who did it (me). At first glance that sounds like a clear distinction of chicken/pig roles, but there was plenty of grey area and cross-over. My business partner had to understand what I could do in order to fulfill his chicken role, and I was the one who was determining where our strengths lay – on the other hand, if he wasn’t committed to selling as much as i was committed to working we were both screwed. Looking back, each of us had to take on both chicken/pig roles depending on what we were doing – we both had pig roles to fulfill regarding day to day operations, and when thinking about growing the business we both had chicken roles. nnThe danger is when a company grows, when there are multiple clients and complex projects to be handled, and switching between chicken/pig roles happens too often between key players. Lots of stress and inefficiencies. We’ve learned – the hard way – that having a dedicated chicken (or COO, as he prefers to be called) makes things far more efficient and profitable. nnI do think you need people who can fulfill either the chicken and pig roles, but (at least with SMBs) you also need people dedicated people at the top who can fulfill both roles when required. A lack of commitment in management leads to complacency, and a lack of vision leads to stagnation. A mix of Prince2 & Scrum works best for us.n

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your story! Managing growth can be a series of trial and error. You illustrated so well what is beneficial about having a business partner. Being able to swap the roles of Pig and Chicken played to your strengths. Growing your business to the point where you could have others take on suitable roles is ideal. nnCongratulations for sticking with it and finding what works best (Prince2 and Scrum)!

  • Good point Derbhile, Longer posts can work well but Iu00a0 think it’s a case of underatanding that people will drill down to different levels. nnThat’s why I would suggest that formating is critical: People read books and scan websites. nnTo keep the online reader interested.nYou need to capture their attention (Headline)Give them something nice to look at (pictures)Make your posts easily or partly digestible (sub-headings and formatting)nnnOnline folks have zillions of choices, and will often not need to read the entire article to get value

  • Great to hear and thanks for reading! If I can be of any more help please let me know!

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  • Liam

    yes you make some good points Connor

  • Thanks for reading Liam

  • Hi Lorna,u00a0Not sure if you remember but we took that feedback on board andu00a0changedu00a0it to ‘up to nine Facebook friends’. Asu00a0regardsu00a0updates appearing in your NF, that’s decided by edgeranku00a0(see here:u00a0 In the simplest terms, it’s the level ofu00a0engagementu00a0(comments & likes etc)nn

  • Ah, yes, sorry, Niall, my apologies, I remember now that you said it had been changed. Yes, encouraging more engagement definitely helps with the edgerank.nMeant to say too – the whole competition page was really attractive in its layout.

  • I remember the competition and I didn’t enter as it wanted my personal details which I’m not prepared to give out simplyto enter a comptetition, nor am I prepared to forward it on to my friends either.u00a0 I know that is the whole purpose of these types of competitions and personally I don’t like them.u00a0 nnThat said, I am also aware that I am in a minority in that regard and I did notice a lot of people did enter and it appeared on my newsfeed quite a lot too.nnWhat is interesting is to find out that their retention and engagement is still high after the competition and that their sales are almost double.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing with us a summary and overview of this campaign. u00a0It’s particularly interesting from the perspective of understanding what needs to be done when running a contest in Facebook. u00a0I think a lot of people are still in ignorance about how to do this in the correct way.

  • That’s for sure! thanks for the comment, Frank 🙂

  • Thanks Mairead, I would say you’re in a significant minority but as you said and thankfully for the PB, many people were happy to enter and invite their friends. Thanks for your comment

  • I presume you meant ” with the winner being announced on” not ” with the winner been announced on”

  • Nwnaughton

    Hi Mairead, you make some very good points re: the personaly information. I am with you on that and don’t like sharing that kind of detail either.nThe results of this casestudy do however prove that enough people are.nnIn our facebook app, we don’t ask for any persoanl information other than your email address when you enter the competition. We didn’t envoke the Facebook methods for gathering personal information rather just simply asked those entrants to share with their friends. nnIt seems to be working very well but unfortunetely now on the same scale as this one, possibly because of the requirement to get more of your friends to enter. After just over 2 weeks we have seen a 21% increase in “Friends”. which is not too bad either I guess.n

  • Hi Lottie, I contacted you on Twitter, let’s have a chat? 🙂

  • Thanks Sian and we are very lucky to have you involved! 🙂

  • Connor Keppel

    Great reasons.  The only one not emphasized enough is that you learn a huge amount from the posts on it also.  Would recommend all get involved. It’s a win – win: the more people involved the more exposed the site, and the more exposed the site the greater your reputation!  

  • I would really emphasise the first reason, as the community is incredible. In fact, we have regular get-togethers and chat daily. Not only is this a blog sharing community, but a warm, sharing community. Many here are now good friends and a supportive bunch.

    Bloggertone has indeed scaled the global web and the readership of posts has intensified. Kudos to both Nial and Anita (and Fred and Facundo prior) for their hard work and dedication – Bloggertone is undoubtedly a top notch resource with an impressive following and excellent posts.

    I love being part of it!

  • Great point Connor, active blogging is a great teacher! 🙂

  • Cheers Neil, We’re delighted that you think so and thanks for your continued support and great content 🙂

  • Now called Tweak Your Biz but looking forward to your app 🙂

  • My pleasure, Kyle and well done again! 🙂

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    If you have any financial difficulties and you need loan to solve that debt, or to invest in larg or small businesses kindly contact us now if you need this financial surpot.

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