How many times have you thought to yourself, “Is there another, better way”?
So often, in business, getting stuck in a rut is an all too common occurrence. Even if you are operating a successful business and things are continually improving, don’t you ever wonder if things could get even better, even faster? It’s all too often that a business gets into auto pilot mode, sometimes for so long that the moment things started to change can’t even be located. As in life itself, if we don’t make our business and our careers interesting to us, they will cease to mirror the passion we had for them at the beginning.
Can you remember the day you started (in business, your profession, your relationship, learning about photography, taking guitar lessons, water-skiing, cooking, fill in the blank)? You had already made the decision and you set out on your new, adventurous journey! How exciting it was every day, to love learning, make fall-down mistakes, get up, and keep going. Then, over time, you gained the confidence you desperately wanted in the beginning. No more slow and careful. You could speed through it – you had become a pro.
At some point, maybe weeks, months, years, or decades later, that level of interest went from obsession to enthusiasm to happy to content to bored – or worse. What happened? Did you keep changing it, updating it, making it interesting? Did you feed, water and spend time continuing to learn about it? Did you try new things and play new games regarding it? The AHA moment! It takes work to have anything worthwhile – continual and constant work.
In business, whether you have your own business or you are an employee, things start to decline the moment you start coasting, taking for granted, not thinking ahead, not looking, not learning.
You can turn it around!
Here are some ways you can get that spark back. Some things you need, some things you don’t. Feel free to change these slightly to appeal to your personal life as well.
1. Specific Goals. No question, you need a Business Plan, a Marketing Plan and a Flow Chart of how your business works. I mean, really, you wouldn’t leave your house for a party, or even dinner out, unless you had a plan (who, what, when, where, how). Same goes for business, or anything else for that matter. You need to have a place to arrive at so you can say, “I did it! I’m here. Good for me!”
2. A Strategy to Reach Your Goals. You have your goals, and a clear and concise layout of exactly how your business works. Now you need a plan for the future – where you want to be, when. Look at others that have done similar things. How did they get there? Can you learn from their mistakes or use their successes? Remember, this doesn’t have to match exactly. You don’t need to find the exact success story you are going for, just something similar. Success is success and it breeds success. Hang out with people you want to be like and it’ll be much easier to develop your strategy.
3. A SWOT Analysis. This is a sales term, but it applies. You need a well-rounded view of where you are: your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Use your Business Flow Chart. Be honest.
4. Social Media! For heaven’s sake – it’s 2016!! In business, if not personal, social media has huge influence on your branding and the attention you get, not to mention creating endless (inexpensive!) ways to interact with others about your fabulous product or service.
5. Competitors. You must know who your competitors are, and what they are doing. It boggles my mind how many times I hear about competitors in a negative light. How about this thought: the better your competitors do, the better they make the marketplace for you (because you have a similar product). It’s not even letting them do their thing while you do yours. How are they advertising? How are they using social media? What seems to work? What doesn’t? Steal their ideas, and put your twist on them! In the end, you are helping each other, and making the game more challenging. Would it be a huge problem to be the biggest competitor of the biggest name in your business? I’d love that! When you support others, support will come back to you tenfold. That’s how it works.
6. People. Businesses stay small because they don’t want spend money on people. People MAKE you money, they don’t COST you money. People are meant to take tasks and burdens off your plate, not add to your plate. Whether you are out-sourcing or hiring staff, you need people who are trained and understand what you want to accomplish – even if you train them. Then, you should be able to set them loose and then get back to the tasks you love to do. Examples of this would be: administrative or accounting work (billing and invoicing), sales and marketing, hands in the field, a housekeeper, a cook, etc.
Equally important and necessary are those things you don’t need if you want your business to prosper to unheard of heights, NASCAR fast.
YOU DON’T NEED….
7. Negativity. Cut it out in any form: TV, newspapers, employees, friends, even family. Anything that doesn’t make you happy, energetic and passionate has to go. You have to insist on a positive and productive environment. Negativity will kill you, and your business.
8. Same Old, Same Old. Something. Anything. Constantly. As they say, Variety is the Spice of Life. Yes, it is. Make things different, get a new perspective, try a new angle. In this action alone you will discover magic gems you would never have noticed if you did the same old thing day after day.
9. To Fit In. Life is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all deal. Be original. Be yourself. Be proud of your successes, and your failures. Everything has gotten you to where you are now. Think about a name brand – Nike, Starbucks, Target, BMW. Are they known because they are like everyone else? Nope. They are known for how they are different from the other guys. So, the question should always be: how can I be different? How can I establish my own, unique path? Embrace your differences, and exploit them.
10. Money. I know what you’re saying, “Yes. I absolutely need money.” No. You want money because it buys lots of cool stuff. But, need? If you had a choice between your family or money, food and water or money, happiness or money, health or money…. See what I’m getting at? Money is a means. It’s energy. It’s not “the” thing. Those other things are priceless, and limitless if you play your cards right.
The exciting thing, in business and in life, is that it’s yours to create! Every day. And you have the power to change anything about it at any time you want. I wish you very much success and prosperity. I’d love to help so let me know if there is anything I can contribute.