Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Value of Blogging

When we started this blog Shoes of Prey was still well and truly in its early stages. While we were still working out how the business would work we had some extra time on our hands and starting a blog to discuss what we were up to seemed like a really valuable thing to do. Our friends were interested to know what we were up to, so a blog was a great way of keeping them up to date, and we wanted to get people's input on things like the sizing conundrum and brainstorming business names, and the blog worked brilliantly for that (thanks again everyone!).

Now that the business has launched we're finding that we're a lot busier and it's harder to find the time to blog when there are so many other things to work on. However rather than being less valuable, I think at this time the blog is even more valuable. In addition to keeping our friends up to date with what we're doing, and getting input on the many issues we no doubt have ahead of us, this blog is a great place for planning and reflection. I'm 2/3 of the way through an MBA at AGSM and a key theme throughout the program is what they call the 'Action Learning Cycle'. The Action Learning Cycle is quite simple. It says that for anything you do you go through a 4 stage cycle which you should continuously repeat if you want to keep improving what you're doing.

As in the above diagram, the 4 stages are:
* Planning
* Action
* Reflection
* Learning

At the moment we're spending a huge amount of time taking action. We're implementing many of the things we've been planning for most of the year and working to get the business up and running. Doing this leaves little time for reflection, planning and learning. And that's where this blog comes in. Knowing that we want to write 3 posts a week makes us sit down and think, 'what are 3 important things for us this week that we can write about?'. That's a great piece of reflection and planning in itself and writing the actual posts is even better. Take the recent post about our Facebook Page strategy. I'd done some basic research and planning before we implemented the page, but writing the post forced me to sit down and reflect in detail on how it had gone, learn from that then plan our next moves. And I now have a written record of that reflection, learning and planning that I can go back to as we take action in the next steps of building out the page. And the added bonus of doing this process via a blog is that I got some excellent thoughts and ideas from the anonymous poster who shared their thoughts in the post. It was a similar story with the post about interviewing for our first permanent hire.

Even though there's so much to do, and it would be very easy to neglect this blog I think there's huge value in continuing with it.

How do you take time out to reflect, learn and plan?


  1. I'm finding it helpful in the reflection zone as well. The act of writing out what I'm going through (even if it's a little abstract at times) is helping me to make better decisions.

    That said I'm only running the one blog at the moment at Orgnition.com so what I write has to be relevant to my customers as well as to the broader community. It's a hard balance to strike and I'm still working on it.

  2. Glad to hear you find blogging helpful for reflecting too Ned. For the reason you describe we run blog.shoesofprey.com separately from 22michaels.com, and we don't link to 22michaels.com from the Shoes of Prey website at all as it's completely off brand.

    Great to see you've launched Orgnition, I hope it's going well!

  3. I have handbag-sized notebooks to keep my head in order. I plan in them, scrapbook ideas and photos post-event/etc, have to-do lists. I end up with a great way to reflect on the journey after wards. Plus being small and always in my bag, I can grab them any time of day to write down ideas etc.

    Very old-school!

  4. Old school, but sounds effective Christine! I do a similar thing but write myself emails on my iPhone rather than use a notebook. I like to have all my ideas and todo's in my email inbox.

  5. I have enjoyed the blogs, it has been interesting hearing what you are going through at the same time as we are setting up a business

  6. Thanks David, how's the blinds business going?

  7. this post is so inspiring. thank you :)
    the trick to plan everything carefully before posting blog entries is a very good suggestion. i think i'd spend more time to plan from today on. :)


  8. Thanks guys, glad you found the post interesting. Vinda and Kirigalpoththa, I love the photography on both of your blogs!