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Is Your Business in Reactive or Proactive Mode?

by | Oct 7, 2023 | General

There are two ways to run a business:

A business is in reactive mode when it just “goes with the flow”. There isn’t really a plan, and everyone is just reacting to what comes their way and deals with it when it does.

Proactive mode is where you want your business to be! It’s when you take the time to consider what you want, lay out a plan, and prepare as much as possible for each step that is coming your way.

All of us start our businesses in reactive mode – it’s just a natural part of starting a business.

When you’re in start-up mode it’s all about experimentation and proving your business model. You have an idea of what you want to offer and who you want to work with and are trying lots of different things to see what works.

This stage requires you to be a bit reactive – to be able to respond to feedback you receive so you can figure out the right business model and shift into growth mode.

Once you have proven your business model – people are buying what you are offering – then you shift into growth mode, where the focus is to build on that foundation.

Ideally, as you shift from start-up to growth, you also shift from being reactive to being proactive. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you start to plan ahead. You take the time to decide what you want to do in the coming months and years and work together with your team to make it happen.

Not shifting from reactive mode to proactive mode is what causes *a lot* of issues for entrepreneurs at this stage of growth.

And many people aren’t sure exactly why they’re struggling, let alone how to fix it.

A few things to consider when it comes to shifting from reactive to proactive mode

Being reactive is much easier, at least in the moment – it’s a lot easier to simply go with the flow and respond to what comes to you versus taking the time to consider what you really want and how to get there (AKA planning!).

Reactive mode is a hard habit to break for many, especially if you’ve been operating this way for years.

Reactive mode can feel “good enough” – this is a dangerous trap and one that clients were often in for years.

And quite honestly, it can be OK (ish). You can be making decent money and enjoying your work for the most part. But it isn’t by design, and it gets to the point where something is definitely missing. If you no longer want to just accept what comes your way and instead want to create work you truly want to do…. well, this requires planning.

Reactive mode can actually be a lot of fun. There’s a rush that comes from the energy of “go go go!!!”.

It can be exciting to get up each day not knowing what will come your way and just having to go with it.

For some, it can be very fulfilling to tackle the unexpected and come out on top.

But again, it’s not intentional. And it can become draining and frustrating.

It’s also important to remember that operating in reactive mode affects everyone in your business. When your business is in growth mode, it’s not just about you anymore. You have a team to consider, and if you have good people, you want them to be doing their best work and you want them to be happy to stick around

When you’re in reactive mode it forces your team to always be in reactive mode as well, continually scrambling to catch up, always putting out fires, and trying to get things done correctly and on time.

So, are you in reactive mode or proactive mode in your business? If you’re in reactive mode and it’s causing problems I’d love to talk. As a Certified OBM one of my superpowers is taking a business from reactive to proactive!

If you're new, welcome! I'm Nicky, a Certified OBM® based in Ireland. I help business owners across the globe with the back-end of their business so they can focus on revenue generating activities, claim back time and energy, and set their business up for sustainable success.

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