Sharpening the saw

by / Monday, 21 August 2017 / Published in Business Planning

The positive impact of having the discipline to take time out from working in the business..

Last month Yeoman (SW) Ltd plumbers effectively shut down their business for two days when all four of the team went to Cheltenham and Bristol to develop their product knowledge with suppliers.


Now; James, Shaun, Jarred & Gavin – Yeoman (SW) Ltd 2017

Two years ago they rated themselves as not being clear on what was most important to them, they had no clear vision for the business, and therefore had difficulty in deciding on what to focus.





Then; November 2015; Shaun Yeoman, father Tom (now retired) and brother Gavin


First they created a simple but clear context (the ‘Why’) for the business – ‘Building an enjoyable and profitable business’.

Second they visualised in detail what an enjoyable and profitable business looked like in practical terms – profit, team size, premises etc.

Third this creates a focus on priorities when opportunities present themselves.

Recently one evening, director Shaun Yeoman was in a conversation on Twitter and agreed to take up an invite to visit the premises of one of their suppliers.

Next came the guilt – should they all be going when they were so busy?

Then the key moment…

Yes, lets do it – the decision, a significant commitment and investment of time.

And the Verdict…their comments;

‘A fantastic 2 days’

‘We all agreed, a brilliant trip’

‘All four of us fully participating’

‘It was enlightening in the correct use of products’

‘The best kind of networking, including having a beer or 2 (we are talking plumbers here!), and being inspired by the new contacts we made’

‘People really acknowledged us for taking all four of us out of the business to invest in the future’

‘We raised our profile on Twitter, which bought us even more contacts’

‘We came back inspired and motivated’

‘We learnt a lot, and it was worth far more than two days business as usual on the tools’


All from an opportunity that could so easily have been stepped over with heads down being too busy in the business.

And they returned to work on Monday to a schedule packed with previously booked ‘enjoyable and profitable work’.

It’s been said that business is like nature; either growing or dying – you don’t stand still.

In other words there is no in between.

If you are not growing, you are dying.

This level of decisiveness when presented with an opportunity comes from clarity(what’s important to us and where are we going), and discipline (a structure in place to make things happen that are not necessarily urgent, but important).

Have you ever been caught in the cycle of working harder and harder without taking time out from the business to review and refresh?

If you are clear on what’s most important to you, and where you are headed, you won’t step over opportunities to ‘Sharpen your saw’.