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Profit Power: What kind of busy are you?

April 15, 2015 -  By
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Have you noticed how busy people are these days? People were busy last year, and now they are even busier today. But busy is not always good.

There are many different kinds of “busy.” Just like the Eskimos have many different definitions for “snow,” we need to differentiate between the different kinds of busy. Here is a list of “busy”—first the good, then the bad.

1. Busy/focused

This is means you are going after a goal and strictly focused on executing that goal. It means your team knows what the goal is and knows what the important priorities are for hitting that goal. This is “good busy,” if the team is working in lock step and everyone knows their role and goals in the business.

2. Busy/productive

This means you are getting a lot done with your time. Perhaps you have a lot of clients to service or a large backlog you are working your way through. Or it can mean you are following the 20-80 rule—you are doing the work that is most important and delegating (or simply not doing) the rest. Busy/productive should show up on the bottom line and in the growth of your firm.

3. Busy/proactive

This means you are getting ahead of issues. Either you are visiting customers or job sites, prospecting for business, meeting with your peer group or talking to influencer’s in your community. When done right, this is a “good busy” and should make your firm more competitive.

4. Busy/innovating

This means you are growing in a new direction, adding new services and busy figuring them out and selling them. This means your team is trying out new methods for executing the work. It also can mean you are expanding into a new geographic area. Busy/innovating is “good busy” because it will drive your profits.

But, as aforementioned, busy is not always good. Here are some examples.

5. Busy/reactive

This means you are busy responding to emails, phone calls and knocks on the door. You are reacting to the agendas of your customers, your suppliers, your subs and your staff. It means you are not setting the agenda. It may mean your leadership is weak and you are in a state of followship.

6. Busy/firefighting

This means you have big complaints that are consuming your time or big quality issues or contract completion issues.
 This means your customers, your banker or other stakeholders in your business are screaming. (It also can mean you did poor planning this winter, and you now are paying the price, responding to the poor planning. This is related to “busy/reactive.”)

7. Busy/changing directions constantly

This is the “attention deficit disorder busy.” This is due to not following through on your plans and constantly creating new plans and new directions. It also can mean you are easily distracted. You thrive on chaos, and it keeps you busy.

8. Busy/doing double work

This means your systems force you to do double administrative work or even triple work. This is the kind of busywork that stops a company from growing easily.

9. Busy/busywork

This may mean you have gone past the 20-80 rule. You simply are working on too many projects, leaving yourself unfocused and without great results. You probably need a break to recharge your batteries.

So, what kind of busy are you?


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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

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