- It’s your business. And that means you have total control.
- Your business results are a reflection of your decision-making. If you starve your business of the resources it needs, it will struggle. If you decide to give your business the resources it needs, it will thrive. It’s always your decision.
- Any time you choose, you can improve your strategy. You can replace activity with productivity. You can stop dabbling and get intentional.
- A great strategy won’t work unless you do. Do the work. All of it. Not just the 90% you find comfortable.
- There’s no need to wait for the economy to pick up. Remember point number one: You’re in control. You can begin the process of improvement today. I mean, literally, right now.
So, stop worrying. Just give your business what it needs and it will give you what you need.
Here are 5 facts to focus on, when times are tough for your business.
- You are one idea away from a life-changing breakthrough. Just as you were the last time it happened.
- You are one email away from a great client enquiry. Just as you were the last time it happened.
- You are one phone call away from converting an enquiry into your most valuable client ever. Just as you were the last time it happened.
- You are one decision away from an amazing opportunity. Just as you were the last time it happened.
- You are one conversation away from your largest ever order. Just as you were the last time it happened.
Keep moving forward. Because your greatest success is, literally, one step away!
At some point around a decade ago, it became trendy for business gurus to cuss and swear in their work material. As a result, many of their easily led followers decided to do the same.
The idea is that by swearing, the person makes themselves look more authentic. More “urban”. Cooler in some way.
Of course, after a while, there are so many people swearing for effect, that it ceases to shock. This is what happens whenever you choose to follow a popular trend. It becomes almost the norm. It just washes over people.
Last weekend, I was contacted by a prospective new client. Here’s a quick excerpt from her email, used with her consent.
“[…] I also think it’s cool that you don’t swear all the time, like others I see. It makes you sound more confident and professional”.
Usually, when someone chooses to follow the trends, they simply make themselves invisible… as they become camouflaged by all the others, who are doing the same thing.
Maybe by following the swearing trend, there could be a couple of additional career pitfalls, too?
Growth hacking: The concept of reversing the law of cause and effect, is an appealing idea. It says you can get the reward before (or without) the effort.
Maybe the best example of this flawed approach, is the fad diets industry. These diets promise weight loss, with little or no effort. The reason there are so many of them on the market, is that they don’t work. So advocates jump from failed diet to failed diet.
And as a growing number of entrepreneurs are discovering, growth hacking is just as ineffective when it comes to business success. Hacks to get you noticed, hacks to make you influential, hacks to get rich quick… these are all fatally flawed.
And here’s why.
Business success is all about bringing value to your marketplace. The marketplace values; honesty, innovation, dedication, reliability, durability, passion, commitment, professionalism, etc.
By default, anything that can be done by the masses, with a quick hack, lacks that kind of value.
An alternative approach is to learn from the successes of others. Read the books. Do the studying. Do the work. It may not sound as sexy as growth hacking. But it makes more sense than trying to break universal laws.
I was contacted by someone last week, who said she wanted to know more about working with me. I could tell after 15 minutes of speaking with her, that she was just trying to score some free marketing advice. I gave her some ideas, then politely ended the call.
After the call finished, I felt frustrated with her for being so selfish. I was annoyed with her for wasting my time. And I was wrong!
It was my free choice to speak with her. She couldn’t have wasted my time, without my active consent. Had I been a little more careful, I’d have known she was a time waster before speaking with her. All the clues were there. But I dropped my guard. And I paid the price.
Here’s why I’m sharing this with you
Ultimately, we all choose where we surrender our time, attention and energy. It’s our decision.
Whenever something like this happens, I’ve found that the best thing to do is:
- Quickly accept responsibility.
- Look for the lesson and learn from it.
This approach means that my time waster wasn’t a time waster. She taught me a lesson and also gave me something to share with you. That’s not a bad return, for a 15 minute investment.
One of the most valuable business tips, isn’t.
That’s to say, the tip doesn’t appear to be business related at all. It has nothing to do with customer service, marketing, cash flow, logistics or any key business activity.
Yet it has everything to do with your business.
Ideas and actions
A business is always a reflection of the ideas and actions of the person (or people) directing that business. The quality of your ideas and your commitment to take action are everything. And these are directly linked to how you feel mentally and physically.
An average diet, coupled with too little exercise, leaves you operating way below your potential. It leaves you with foggy thinking and a lack of energy. People tend to confuse this with low self-motivation. They’re often wrong.
Most business owners are motivated people, but it’s hard to keep pushing forward when you lack clarity and energy.
A healthy diet and regular exercise is the answer. Avoid foods that are processed, foods that are high in bad fat and foods that are high in sugar. And walk. Walk daily for 30 minutes. That’s every day. Yes, even when it’s raining. The key is to move your body regularly.
Obviously, before you do anything, speak with a medical professional. They’ll be able to put you on the right track, based on your current health and fitness levels.
Seems the latest trend for gurus, is to be profane.
I’ve noticed it mostly from social-media-famous experts, who come from privileged backgrounds. It feels like an effort to make themselves more street or more relevant.
Sure, the first time you say ‘fuck’ in your book / blog / podcast, people notice it. After a while though, it ceases to work. The effectiveness wears off. People get snow-blind.
If cussing is currently your shtick, you may want to work on your plan B. Because there’s no deficit of cussing experts, speakers, podcasters or bloggers.
There’s a HUGE shortage of people willing to lead. There’s a vast deficit of people prepared to create ideas worth sharing. These are more profitable areas to invest your time and energy.
Facebook has almost 1.8 billion users. Then there’s Linkedin with around 470 million users. A huge subset of these folks spend much of their time curating [sharing] what others have said. Articles, quotes from famous people, blog posts, photos, videos, etc. That subset has to be close to 95%, when it comes to business users.
Curation is easy. And worthless
It’s literally a brainless function, because it can be done on autopilot. All you need is some freely-available software and BOOM… you can pump out what other people have to say. It’s easy. There’s no work required. No creativity needed. And that’s why we’re bombarded with it.
Because millions and millions of people curate, it’s of zero value. It has no value to the curator or the poor bastards who connect with them online. They’ve already seen what the curator’s sharing. It’s telling them nothing new. So, if the curator is a businessperson, fooled into using curation by some social media guru, it’s making the business owner and their business anonymous. Invisible. Boring.
We have an opportunity to share what we think with the world, which past generations couldn’t have imagined. Don’t blow it, by using your social platforms for retweets, automation and quotes.
Yes. By sharing what others have to say, rather than what you have to say, you send 2 extremely negative messages to whoever sees your content:
- You have nothing to say.
- Alternatively, you do have something to say, but lack the courage to say what you think.
Both of those messages are extremely toxic.
My message here is simple: Use your voice to connect. Tell us what you think. Don’t make a noise. Make a difference.
There are bloggers I have seen online over the past 5 years or more, yet I know nothing about them.
Sure, I know they retweet social media gurus and a-list bloggers. I know they write the same me too blog posts, agreeing with whatever the popular opinion is on a topic. But I know nothing about them.
I have no idea what they think.
What they stand for.
What they are excited about.
What their story is.
This got me thinking
Unlike previous generations, we leave an easy to follow stream of activity behind us online. Our kids or grand kids will be able to see if we stood for anything. They will see of we were ditto heads or if we had the courage to express ourselves. They will see if we were leaders or if we were sheep.
Maybe that’s something to think about, the next time you feel compelled to share your guru’s latest thoughts… rather than your own.