I made a startling discovery the other day as I reviewed my sent items and looked through my email archives.
We’ve all heard the concept that you become a product of your environment, and that your income will be the average of your five closest friends; or is it business associates?
Revenue had taken a bit of a dip in recent months and I was contemplating why. This wasn’t the reason I went searching through my email program. It simply struck me, as I looked at the recipients, the number of email threads with specific people, and the number of emails per thread with those people, that I was spending a lot of time talking to the same people with no outcome.
So I invested some more time in looking back historically and without being too analytical, working off memory instead of comparing bank accounts and running complex formulas in a spreadsheet, I compared income during different periods to the type, volume and complexity of the email traffic. Here’s what I discovered.
I earned more money when I sent less emails to more people. The overall volume of emails during times of higher revenue generation was approximately 23.5% of the total and generated more than 87.3% of the revenue for the period reviewed. BTW I looked back over a period of almost 9.5 years. Also the ration of revenue in for effort expended in delivery plus hard COGS (cost of goods sold) was much higher … i.e. more profitable.
I earned less money, worked longer hours, and was generally unhealthier (later reflection) when I sent more emails to less people. Upon further reflection I realised I was a lot less happy and this rubbed off on my family.
What does all of this mean? Well I’ll leave that to your own individual interpretation. What’s clear to me is that less is certainly more. The clue though is to recognise what you are doing, interpret it in the context of the situation, and lead yourself out of what could become a very self destructive parttern of behaviour. It is very easy to become wrapped up in a cycle of business busyness with the same people and delude oneself that the outcomes will follow. There is a time when it is appropriate to cut your losses and change direction. One of the greatest challenges is having the perspective to be able to do that at the right moment!
I encourage everyone to look at their email communications or whatever medium it is you use primarily for your business communications and unless you are very specialised in your field with less than a handful of other people with whom you need to communicate regularly you may find similar patterns. If the patters are the good ones (i.e. lead to high revenue and profitability) keep doing what you are doing. If they are the negative ones, consider adapting your approach to the way you conduct your business immediately.