Your Business V/S The Law of Entropy
by Marcos Jacober, CEO of Life Hacks Wealth
Entropy is closely related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which teaches us that energy tends to degenerate into a lesser and lesser ordered state as time passes. Entropy is, not only the measure of disorder, but also the expression of that disorder. The Law of Entropy, when related to a business, says it will go from:
- an order that is useful—At this point, your business is full of possibilities with a set purpose and plan to apply those possibilities to. It is overloaded with the most energy available for its use that it will have at any given point.
- to an order that cannot be used—All the possibilities are there, but the purpose of the business has become skewed, and/ or it has a low amount of exploitable energy to put toward accomplishing that purpose.
- to self-order—The business has become so feeble that it has no apparent energy at all. It’s trying to order itself but failing to do so, as, with no amount of input of order, it will simply continue its downward spiral through the stages of entropy. Its energy level has little or no alignment with its possibility. The business has lost its purpose.
- to the lack of any order—It has absolutely no purpose and no energy at all, having to shut down completely if it hadn’t had to do so already.
The Law of Entropy tells us that disorder always increases. It tells us that anything and everything that God or man has ever made will always move from order to disorder. Order is always followed by disorder. Why do our homes “fall apart”? Entropy. Why does our hot coffee get cold as it sits in the microwave forgotten for the third time? Entropy. Why do our businesses dwindle down and eventually fizzle out without constant work from us? Entropy. Regardless of anything else we remember when it comes to our business, the most important thing to remember is to be acutely aware of this Law.
“Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse” and “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” (Murphy’s Law) and are two quotes, albeit humorous and usually taken as a quirky bit of nature, that give us good examples of the Law of Entropy. Be on the lookout for entropy in your business! Failing to do so is, in all possibility, the biggest killer of growth in the business world of the day!
A business cannot function on its own. It can’t be started and then left to its own devices. You can’t just set it up and walk away and expect everything to take care of itself. Entropy will cause the order that was once so prevalent to quickly decline, and chaos will quickly take over. Sure, the employees may have it for a little bit, but soon the process will slow, then, without guidance and oversight, the business will lose its purpose.
I know this is a pretty extreme example, right? I hope none of you would try to start a business and then walk away, believing it could manage to succeed, or even limp through, on its own with absolutely no other input from you ever again without losing its purpose and disintegrating into something you would no longer recognize.
Remembering that entropy is alive and well, though, having that awareness, will remind us to stay on top of things. One thing to stay on top of is employee- or, in my case, team-trainings. You can’t put them through one training session, getting them ready to function in the business and hyped from the get-go, and then never train them again. The Law of Entropy says they’ll forget things. It says the world, in their field, will progress without them and they’ll not progress with it. It says that if you want good, quality employees or team members, they must have the upkeep they need. If you, as the owner or a leader in your business, want to be as qualified for your position as you can be, you must put forth the effort. You must put energy back into the company. You must stay a step ahead of entropy!
The forces of entropy can be defined as the three phases it seems we, as humans, seem to always be traveling through. We are always either marching forward toward a new challenge, in a current battle with some major challenges, whether they be health, emotional, financial, or more, or we have just exited a challenge and have finally breathed that breath of fresh air, only to see another challenge dead ahead.
There are two forces of entropy in the business world: that from the outside and that from the inside. That from the outside would be pressure from the banks, vendors, changes, customer and client attitudes, laws, and the true competition for your business, which oft-times forces change. The inside forces would be that caused by us ourselves—the pressure caused by self-doubt, under-achieving, retreating for fear of failure, shutting down, and lack of belief in ourselves.
Sometimes we sabotage our businesses by causing entropy to speed up a little faster. What do you mean, Marcos? By spending 80% or more of your day doing things someone else would be better suited to do, you are throwing a monkey wrench into the works. Most of your day should be spent doing things that use your strengths. Everything else should be delegated to people whose strengths fall in that particular area. By doing this, the business will run more efficiently and smoothly. Besides that, more will be accomplished each day, and everything will be done with better quality.
Entropy is real, people! It means that everything is coming to an end. Everything is moving toward chaos. Everything is breaking down a little at a time, like our vehicles, like it or not, and our businesses. If we don’t do something to fix it, if we don’t restart the microwave to get that coffee warm again, if we don’t get the contractor out to repaint the walls and fix the hole in the drywall the 2-year old put there last week, if we don’t actively battle the breakdown of our business, it will eventually be beyond help.
So, what can I do? There are a few active steps you can take. Everything that can be delegated to someone else should be. The leader should be focused on just that, leading, running the company. He should be working on the things that are pressing, the things that are important, the things that will lead to the success of the business. He should not be focused on a to-do list full of daily activities that don’t better his company when he has capable employees who can do those tasks for him. When the leader of a business cannot focus on leading and bettering the company, it will hold the company back more than bad marketing, bad hires, and lack of funding ever could. In fact, many times, it has!
The forces of entropy that push at us from the inside are responsible for many dead businesses. Because one of the biggest of these forces is the way we tend to sabotage ourselves by the lack of delegation, let’s try a little activity. Try keeping a list of what you do, when you do it, and how long you spend on it. Then, check it out to see if your time is well-spent or if your business is sliding down the slippery slope of self-destruction through entropy. Are you spending the most of your time on that which you are skilled to do and delegating the rest out to people with talents in those specific areas? We need to get to know our people, by the way, so that we can know who to delegate what to. Do you know who has talents in what areas in your business? If you have a smaller business, try taking a survey and filing the results for easy reference. If you have a bigger business, you need only know those areas of strengths in your leaders. They will, in turn, need to know the strengths of their people.
Another way we can battle entropy is to stop lying to ourselves and telling ourselves that we have the perfect business plan that will keep on keeping on forever and never run out of revenue. We need to be constantly searching for that next source of revenue, our next business plan. Atari thought they had the edge on the business and would be around for a long time. Look how far we’ve come! It seems like we can’t even blink before a new system comes out and the last “newest model” is forgotten. So many of these companies today work their bottoms off to stay on the “cutting edge” so they can stay ahead of the Law of Entropy. Are we even trying? The world is changing, evolving—not just the business world, but the desires of the people, changing the supply and demand of the economy. If we don’t change with it, we’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.
You should, not only be searching for that next source of income, but you should be implementing the next two or three. You should have multiple sources of revenue in your business and in your household. This way, if one peter’s out, there will still be one or two others to rely on until yet another can be established. There may come a time down the road in your business that this step is not optional. It’s best to get it established now while the choice is still up to you rather than down the road when the Law of Entropy has taken effect.
I’m almost done. Hang in there with me. Another point I want to bring out is that if you just give in to entropy and give up, it will take over and kill your business quicker than you can wink. So what do you do?
1. Set definite, specific goals! These should not only be long-term goals, but also short-term goals that lead up to the accomplishment of your long-term goals. It’s kind of like training a dog. Your long-term goal is to have an obedient dog, but how do you get there? You train him to sit and to stay and to lay. You can even break those goals down further into smaller goals of, “Today, I’ll train him by pushing his bottom down, pulling gently up on the leash, saying ‘Sit’, and giving him a treat once he sits. By next week, he’ll be sitting with just a gentle, upward pressure on the leash, the sit command, and a treat.” This can be broken down further yet to include how often each day and for how long each setting you want to work with your puppy per day. Similarly, you must break your goals for your business down into bite-sized chunks so as to not get overwhelmed.
2. Visualize your goals. Visualizing them helps you achieve them more quickly. If you can see yourself achieving your goals, your success rate will be higher.
3. Dwell on them. What you dwell on, what you meditate on, gets in you, becomes part of you, becomes part of your “wanter” (like my word?), and stays there. Don’t stop dwelling on them.
4. Do the steps you set out in your goals. Even if you don’t feel like doing them, do them! Work toward those goals one step at a time, and don’t give up!!
5. Lastly, stay flexible in your plans. Notice I said plans, not goals, though you should be flexible in them too to a point. Your goals are one thing, your plans are the steps you plan to take every day, or week, to reach those goals. One of your mini-goals to reach your major goal of getting your newly published book into 5 major outlets before the end of the year might be to get into contact with 50 different smaller stores and score a meeting with the big-wig there to discuss the possibilities. Your plans for the week might be to call 20 businesses, which means you will probably get promising responses from 7 of those and score a meeting to discuss your new book with maybe 3. Out of those 2 or 3 stores you get into weekly, you’ll have the odds of maybe getting your book established in 1 new store every month or so. What happens if you catch a cold and can’t talk on the phone to even 1 of those stores a week for coughing? What happens if the phone company drops the ball for an hour or two. What if your son gets sick or you get stuck in rush hour traffic, and you have to call off a meeting? You just never know. You may encounter roadblocks along the way and have to adjust your plans… and sometimes even your goals. Stay flexible.
Entropy, scientifically, has to do with the movement of a system, like the solar system, from order to disorder or, also, with the loss of energy from a system, as we’ve already discussed. I’m getting to a point here. The whole reason for understanding the Law of Entropy is to understand that it can’t just be stopped. It has to be countered. Imagine for a minute that we’re in upper Michigan, and it’s the middle of the Winter, -2 degrees F outside. All the sudden, the winds pick up and the power goes out, which means the heat cuts off. We sit there waiting for the power to kick back on as the heat dissipates from the house. We are experiencing entropy. There is no way to stop entropy, but, when the power finally kicks back on and the heat begins to pour out of the furnace again, we begin to have more heat added to the home, which counters the entropy and, of course, makes us very happy.
The only way to “stop” entropy is to, not stop it, since you can’t anyway, but to counter it. You must put more work into your business than is being drawn out of it through entropy. The business owner or family man or team leader must be on the lookout for entropy in their home or business. You must carefully watch all aspects of your business, from the seemingly forgotten parts like accounting and accounts payable to the often worried over clientele or product development. Even the seeming neglect of “small departments” can cause big problems. Neglect may be too strong a word. You must never “neglect” to move forward in each area of your business, or entropy will set in in that area. To properly manage these areas in the battle against entropy, shoot for small corrections to keep departments, or even just small projects, on course. As a reminder, don’t simply just set them up, like we discussed earlier, and let them run. If you do, I’m afraid you’ll be in for a big problem or breakdown, rather than the need to make minor adjustments.
Work hard at making sure to keep the good energy flowing in. Keep those streams of Revenue replenished. Always be on the lookout for the next best thing. If you want your company to succeed, you must push it toward the top, and keep pushing to keep it there. Don’t stop. Don’t even let up. Don’t let the amount of energy being used up in your company be more than the amount of energy being put into your company. Don’t let the Law of Entropy “get” your business. Don’t be static, be active. Don’t sit idly by doing nothing, or even doing the things outside of the realm of your strengths, while your business goes to pots. Fight for your business. Put your best foot forward. Set those goals. Stick to them, and don’t stop.
ABOUT MARCOS JACOBER
Brazilian immigrant, Marcos Jacober is an investor, author, international speaker, and teacher. He moved to the US in 1998 with only a dream and $100 in his pocket. He worked a number of blue-collar jobs before saving enough to invest in real estate…but he lost everything in the crash on 2008. After learning about Tax Liens and Tax Deeds, he was able to finalize hundreds of property deals. Today, he is an authority in the real estate business, with more than 500 transactions in his portfolio.
Father of two beautiful children, Jacober has helped thousands of individuals from different countries start their real estate investment career here in the US. His new book Eat This Mr. President was released in 2018.
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