In medieval times, valiant knights went forth into battle in great suits of Iron and precious metals. These suits were primarily for protection from spears, swords and arrows of course. But also, they told the battlefield that here was a warrior. The more richly detailed the armour, often the greater the warrior. In many ways it was very pretentious. And from a tactical standpoint often foolhardy. These knights were normally the better trained and more experienced in the ranks, and highlighting themselves in such a way made them an easier target for their enemy. But this went on for hundreds of years.
In our lives and businesses, we wrap many things in suits of armour. In our lives it might be our hearts or our fears. In our businesses it could be our products or our strategy, our personnel or partners, the things we are afraid to lose or that we fear could damage our livelihoods if affected negatively.
But as much as a suit of armour can provide a form of protection, it can also weigh us down. You certainly wouldn’t go swimming in one for example. The nature of Internet based businesses is that they are highly fluid. You have the ability to react to changing markets and trends very quickly, but if you weigh yourself down in a corporate suit of armour, you sacrifice that agility.
Too often, small businesses struggle, because the people starting them have stayed true to the mentality that they got by working for large corporations. We all started our businesses to get away from that structure, and from those limitations, so why are we injecting the same principles back into our own businesses?
Everyone likes to have a feeling of stability. It is in our nature to yearn for that; safety and security are the basic tenants that we are first taught as children. But agility can also be a form of security. Being able to react quickly, to realign your goals and tasks to changing markets and requirements can provide greater protection for your business than those who are more stoic and clung to processes.
Don’t look to pick just one or the other though. In effect build yourself a hybrid that encompasses the tenets of both: partly strong and heavy, and partly lighter and more manoeuvrable. Much like a wise seasoned warrior would tailor his armour to fit the battle and conditions he will be fighting in, tailor your business for your chosen battlegrounds.