Have you studied about an Internal Combustion Engine? The kind that is used to power a car or a motorbike?
The IC Engine, as it is usually called, is a very good metaphor for moving your freelance business forward.
There are four strokes (or distinct steps) in the functioning of an IC Engine –
1. Intake Stroke – When the fuel and air mixture is sucked in.
2. Compression Stroke – When the mixture is compressed and readied for burning (combustion)
3. Power Stroke – The mixture is burned and the explosion pushes the piston below. This explosive moment generates power and eventually turns the wheels of the vehicle.
4. Exhaust Stroke – The exhaust gases created from burning fuel are pushed out.
This cycle of strokes keeps repeating to move the vehicle forward.
Here’s the thing: Power is generated only in the Power Stroke. In fact, the Power Stroke creates excessive power which can’t be used in one go. The extra power needs to be reused during the remaining three strokes when the engine actually consumes power to function.
Only one out of four strokes generates power.
Imagine your business is an IC Engine, and Power Stroke is your best quarter of the year when most of the Money is created. In most businesses there is a large period of time every year when no new money is generated. For Gentle Bamboo, it is October to December.
It’s not just the Power Stroke that determines your success. What you do during the strokes (quarters) that don’t generate power (money) decides how far and fast your vehicle (business) grows.
Are you ensuring you’re developing new prospects during the Inlet Stroke? Are you building rapport and strengthening relationships during the Compression Stroke? Are you utilising the excess power generated during the Power Stroke to reuse in the other strokes? Are you relaxing and recharging yourself during the Exhaust Stroke?
If you are thinking about your business like this, then there is tremendous potential to forecast, plan and do what needs to be done for growth.
I know. I know. This is all too theoretical. I have loads of practical ideas around this concept too. I have specific advice on what to do with this metaphor. I’m working on that material to put inside my upcoming book.
What do you think of this metaphor? Would you like a series that explores these ideas in some more detail?
Building my flywheel,