There’s a force that is slowly pulling your business apart. It never stops. And you cannot eradicate it. You can, if you work hard enough, stay ahead of this destructive power. Maybe.

What is it?


Entropy is always increasing.  Entropy is disorder. Wait, before you go, let me explain.

Entropy wears on everything your own. Cars, computers and clothes wear out. What happens to something left outside for a long period of time? It wears out. It wears out even though it’s not being used.

The forces of the universe are constantly increasing entropy. Every second of every hour of every day, everything at your business is wearing out. Yes, even you.

Entropy is real. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases in a closed system. Doesn’t the garage gets messed up by itself? When you unpack the Christmas lights this year, you can expect them to be in Gordian knot. Well, isn’t that true?

Okay, you understand that. Things wear out. Disorder increases naturally. So, take care of things and they’ll last longer. When things wear out, buy new things.

That’s easy.

But have you ever considered that systems and ideas suffer the disorder of entropy as well? Leadership too. Product designs. Websites. Truly everything at your business is being ravaged by entropy.

Remember the first “car phones”? The early computers? Without adding ‘work’, entropy always increases.

Look at that website that you were so pleased with a year ago. It looks worn. How is that possible!? It’s just sitting there; how can it wear out? Entropy. If work is not put in, entropy increases.

This is why even the biggest and best companies eventually fall. Entropy. If work is not going into every aspect of a business, entropy is increasing.

What happens if you fall behind with your new product development? What happens if you let your website go? What happens if you don’t put energy back into your talent? What happens if you don’t constantly look for better ways of doing EVERYTHING from accounting to shipping? Entropy corrodes and stagnates.

What are the signs of business entropy? Service gets a little less snappy. Prospects are not given full attention. Little errors happen. Things fail.

It takes energy, a term that can be used interchangeably with work, to stay ahead of entropy.

When work is not directly put into a particular area or person, entropy increases.

This is particularly true of talent. You won’t take this post as seriously as you should. But I know that people (talent) who do not get attention (energy from you) will become complacent (entropy increases).

This next 6 weeks is the time to decrease entropy. It’s critical to act now. Don’t coast.

Retail: This is your busiest time of the year. Put energy into your talent. Encourage, teach and reward them. NOW is the time to start. The more energy you put in NOW, the better this season will be for your business.

Not Retail: Now is probably the slowest time of your business year. Don’t coast. Don’t sit back in relief at making it through the year. Put energy into the business now. Everyone needs to be looking at every process. Get the website up to date. Train people. Give away some books or educational CDs. Have some meetings with the sole purpose of talking about new ideas. Enjoy this process.

Don’t waste this time. You will see a return on investment for every Joule of energy you put in.

Chris Reich