Instead of Putting Out Fires, Let’s Build A Fire Line!

Fire break

I was recently working with a seasoned salesperson who over the course of a couple of days mentioned how much time he spent “putting out fires”. I began to question him on what time fires he was faced with and it seemed as if he had daily issues he felt were outside of his control that demanded his time. The interesting part was during our conversation he mentioned some of the same issues occur frequently.

Oh really?

Well, if this is happening to you—and hey, it’s happened to ALL of us. (Yes, YOU…and ME!) Maybe we should step back long enough from fighting fires to cutting a fire line.

Does that make sense?

When firefighters are battling a blaze, they sometime get out in front of the fire and cut a fire line or a fire break. Clearing brush and other combustible materials designed to kind of draw a line in the sand at where they’re willing to let the fire go and then fight it.

Are you doing that?

Are you taking time to cut a fire line or are you just putting out fires?

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of almost expecting daily issues to pop up—and don’t get me wrong—they do, I know they do. But, if the same ones occur over and over, perhaps there’s a way for you to back up, seriously look at the situation and cut a fire line or fix the problem.

I’ve heard it said we can become too busy working IN our business we don’t work ON our business.


Take time to work ON your business. Work on these issues. Taking one day out of your schedule to make a tick list of reoccurring issues—whether they be internal or external can save you hundreds of hours (during your selling time) throughout the year.

Back up, survey the situation and start cutting fire lines.

You’ll eventually spend a lot less time putting out fires.