reactive vs proactive mode

Shift into growth mode, where the focus is to build on your business foundation.

You can run your business in one of two ways:

  • Reactive mode is when you “go with the flow.” For example, when you don’t have a plan, you’ll react to what comes your way and deal with it when it does.
  • Proactive mode is when you take the time to consider what you want, lay out a plan, and prepare as much as possible for each step coming your way.

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

When you are just starting your business, it is all about experimentation and proving your business model. For example, you’ll have an idea of what you want to offer and who you want to work with but are trying lots of different things to see what works. 

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

Once you have proven your business model – people buy 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 transition from being reactive to being proactive. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you plan ahead. You take the time to strategize the coming months and year and work together with your team to make it happen.

Not transitioning from reactive mode to proactive mode causes A LOT of issues for entrepreneurs at this stage of growth. So much so that many people aren’t exactly sure why they are struggling, let alone how to fix it.

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

  • Being reactive is much easier in the moment. It’s easier going with the flow and responding to what comes your way versus thinking ahead and considering what you want and how to get there (aka planning). 
  • Reactive mode can feel “good enough.” This is a dangerous trap and one that my clients were often in for years. They were making decent money, but it got to the point where they felt something was missing. No longer wanting to accept what came their way, they finally decided to create meaningful and purposeful work – work that was fulfilling – which required planning.
  • Reactive mode can be a lot of fun. A rush comes from the energy of “go, go, go” when you are in reactive mode. For some, it can be very fulfilling to tackle the unexpected and come out on top. However, it can be draining and frustrating because their work isn’t intentional.
  • Reactive mode affects everyone in your business. In growth mode, it’s not just about you. When you are in reactive mode, it forces your team to always be in reactive mode. Your team is continually scrambling to catch up, constantly 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 about how a Strategic Business Intensive could support you and your business. As an Operations Manager, one of my specialties is taking a business from reactive to proactive.