- After all, everything costs more each year so we need more income.
- Our desires increase so we need more revenue.
- And most of us just want MORE because we want more.
But do you know the 3 things that may be preventing your business from growing?
A Tale of Lost Vision
Once upon a time there was a business that had enjoyed a steady growth each year. They had more clients and made more and more money each year. They began to focus on new markets and they succeeded more. They took some shortcuts and cut some corners and made even more money.
And then one day the market changed.
And when it changed they discovered that their shortcuts and sloppy service reduced their competitiveness. They discovered that their lack of investment in staff and the loss of the vision by the General Manager and the Director, meant their staff generally just wanted to do as little as possible to collect their pay check each week.
And after 20 years in business, the business limped to its demise. From a successful small business it suddenly was no more. It’s assets were stripped and it faded into “has been land”.
Another Tale of Lost Focus
There was a brilliant man who developed a camera back in 1888 which changed the way we capture images forever. As a result of this invention a company was born and grew and grew and grew.
The company grew in areas that were not related to film and cameras. It purchased several companies totally unrelated to image and films.
Then the market made a shift to digital and the company no longer was the innovator but found itself running hard to catch up with the changes in image capture and storage.
And last year, this 110+ year old company declared bankruptcy. It stopped because it stopped focusing on the needs of its original clientelle.
A Tale of Shiny Object Syndrome
This tale is about a self employed person who keeps looking at the next shiny object to solve their problem. They have spent hundreds (thousands) of dollars on products, training, software packages and dozens of other different tools to build a business. They have downloaded hundreds of eBooks, whitepapers and other educational material.
Of the materials and resources and contact people they have met, they have NEVER completed any program to implementation.
On any given day, three or four new promises are presented to them and at least once a week, they buy the next object.
They have done hours of training, have certificates for completing training but what they never seem to complete is implementing it into their business and then looking at how the next shiny object will enhance their business.
They keep looking for the shortcut, the answer to a prayer that will magically flip the switch and make the money flow. They know what to do. They advise others what to do but they FAIL to do it themselves.
And as a result, they survive and persist but they never thrive and grow. And while most of the time they have fun. the financial burden can become wearisome and holiday time never mind sick time, just never happens for them.
What Stops Growth?
- People without vision, passion and purpose. People who lose their way and forget what buyer needs they are meeting.
- People who forget to focus on what they do well. People who think of the business growth rather than their buyer needs and the market changes as technology changes the way needs are met.
- People who look at the shiny object or the next quick fix. Growth is slowed radically when you are constantly looking for the next solution and never fully implement or follow through on the most recent. A good mentor or coach can help you chose the right path and stick to it. But the challenge for many business people is to have the flexibility to consider new ways with the discipline to implement their strategy and plans and meet their current target market‘s needs fully.
While there are more things stopping growth, these three are often the keys.
To grow you business you need to:
- Keep your vision and purpose alive. Fuel your passion to meet the needs of your clients and the community you work in.
- Keep focused on the needs of the people you serve. And remember their needs keep changing so be agile but focused.
- Implement one thing at a time. And listen to the people you hire to support you. Ask them questions. Challenge their thinking and together you can both grow. But first implement and incorporate the whole. Do one thing well instead of 10 things poorly.
Grow, turn your ideas into $$$$s and always have some fun, earn some funds and stay fit, agile and alert. Life is lived on purpose and today is the one that really counts so make it a good one.
To your success
No one cares about your business except you but if you fail to do your duty to care about your prospects, clients and customers, you will lose your business.
Have you seen the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall? The movie pits duty and loyalty against technology and greed to show the audience that there still is a place for old fashioned values and service.
What is Service?
Listening to an audio tape in Teaching Sells this morning, Sonia Simone reminded me that unless our business helps people achieve what they want and makes a difference for them, our prospects are unlikely to buy from us. Our clients and prospects do not care about us. So service is about taking care of the needs and wants of others and making a difference for them.
- Service is not servitude.
- Service is not enslavement.
- Service is genuinely offering another person the fulfillment of their desire within the scope of your offering.
Business is about exchange of service. You get something and you give something.
I meet Your need or want but you meet mine too. The exchange keeps the whole thing working. Without the exchange NOTHING works.
What is the duty of a business?
James Bond never does things in a conventional manner. He is never obedient. He never does what is expected but he understands that his duty as an 007 is to protect the realm and so he does whatever he believes is right to eliminate the bad guys, He does his best every time. He never regrets. And he keeps his word. He never assumes only calculates the odds and looks at the patterns and trends. And he never takes anything personally. And that means he rarely if ever doubts himself and his ability to serve Queen and country.
James also knows that the people giving the orders are not always right. He knows that he often has different information than his bosses and he weighs up the information given with his experience and strives to achieve the objective. He responds to the situation.
In business, you need to respond to the situation.
The recipe for business success involves a pinch of responsiveness, a smidgen of anticipation and a healthy dose of preparedness and flexibility. Mix together with keeping your word, doing your best, assuming nothing and taking nothing personally and remember that regret is unprofessional (according to M) and even when things fail to go according to your plan, you will sleep well and enjoy life.
What next for your business?
2013 is days away. But your future starts today.
- Your future is about doing duty and serving clients, making a difference in their lives.
- Your business will survive because you meet the needs of your clients and make a difference to them.
- Your business will thrive and prosper because you offer something that makes a difference to your clients lives.
- Your future is about doing your best, being impeccable with your word and continually learning, adapting and moving forward.
Why does community matter to businesses success?
There are several reasons but the biggest one relates to trust. We trust experts. We trust friends. We trust those who are in our circles of influence. And our circles are communities.
Have you observed that communities who experience a common event – an earthquake, a riot, a parade or a festival, react in a similar way for a time. The event brings people together in either joy or misery. While most events are only for a short time, a community attitude grows over time.
There are many studies that look at how a community attitude affects a workplace and success and how the way we perceive community affects our business
The other day I was working with a unique business whose owners were very tired. Their business was flagging and systems and processes that they once had in place were no longer being used. One of the two owners was concerned that they would miss out on opportunities if they made a statement about who they were. Now in the same community, another business owner was thriving because their attitude was to lead the pack and create something different.
How to use Community for your business
Every marketing book says find a need but if you only look at the individual you miss the real need – the community need. NLP teaches about our need for connection and separation but my perceptions says that separation is only comfortable if first you are connected. When you belong to a community, you can then afford to be different.
To succeed in business find the community need and then you can find the personal need.
For example, in education, the community needs certain skills – doctors, lawyers, social workers, political scientists, engineers, scientists, poets, IT specialists, refuse collectors etc. But on an individual level, the schools appeal to the nature of a person to study a certain set of subjects.
In health care, the community needs healthy people – accident free, disease free and mentally alert and yet everything the conventional and alternate medical fields deal with is problems, dis-ease, disaster, cancers and other growths that consume communities of people. Allergies, autism, depression, stress are identified every day by professionals and patients and the need that each “medical professional” attempts to meet is to cure or circumvent the “problem”.
The experts talk about building lists and affiliates to help you spread the word through their community. But the other day a colleague told me that engaged community was the secret to his success. And engaged communities mean people interacting with each other and the practitioner or business owner.
It means that collaboration and co-operation are becoming more essential for business survival.
We all know the saying - birds of a feather flock together but have you thought about who you have in your community?
And what are the community needs where your business is operating?
Are you trying to meet individual needs or the community needs?
Are you hanging out in a community of your peers or the community of your prospects?
Sometimes your peers will become clients but often your peers will see you as competition first and then only later as the source of assistance.
One last word on Community (for today)
Let me know in the comments about the communities you belong to and please share this blog with your community and see what they think.
Thanks for communing