I can’t tell you just how many business and brand owners find themselves in the crazy bunny moment.. You know that moment right? When you’re bouncing off the walls racing unsure of whether you should go forward, stick your neck out & hope for the best or get back to the safety of where you’ve come from. Everyone has that moment. Even if they’re pretending not to.
But staying in that moment is really harmful to you & to your business. It’s really important that you find that space where you’re in charge & are making decisions thoughtfully and proactively. But How right? How do you get in to this magical place?
1.Stop watching everyone else
Think about this one. Because everyone else appears to have their ducks in a row, it doesn’t necessarily follow that those ducks aren’t paddling like hell to stay afloat under the surface! And you don’t even know what game they’re playing. Playing your game of rugby, with someone else’s tennis game plan seem pretty foolish to me.
If you’ve ever watched a sportsman who’s on a winning streak you’ll notice that they’re not out there in the swimming pool, or on the field watching what everyone else is doing. They have their eyes on the prize and on exactly what they’re planning for that season, or race or even the next moment in the game. Keep your eyes on someone else for too long, or with too much longing and you’re stuffed. Get your eyes back on your destination and on your game and you have chance of actually winning. And it’s exhausting! Who can keep up with those crazy Jones’ anyway?
2. Play to your strengths
Find me a business that was once a powerhouse, but is now struggling and I can probably predict what the core issue is. Most of the time these businesses have lost touch with what makes them them. That quality or feature or characteristic that enabled them to win in the first place. What’s Nike if they’re not striving to be ahead of everyone else? If you’re fabulous at process and structure, why try to own creativity? It seems like a really difficult and costly strategy.
Of course markets change and you’re going to need to invest time and effort in building new strengths to drive your business. But making yourself something that you’re not is expensive and time consuming. And often it means giving up on something that you can use as a strong foundation with greater ease and lower cost. I recently had a client convince themselves that they need to be brilliant at building brands that people love! Well it turns out that this business is amongst the best in the world at breaking the rules of a category and making opening up premium categories to everyone whatever their income. How unique is that?!?!?
Another client convinced themselves that they were amazing at making pickles (they are by the way) when actually they were sitting on a gold mine by being able to produce organic meat and veg.
You see it’s really easy to get distracted by the next big thing and then forget that you’re actually ace at identifying problems, offering reliable service, or something terribly unsexy. Ironically it could be lots more valuable & profitable in the long run.Whatever it is, figuring out what your core capability is is the surest way for you to build a business or brand that you can actually win with. It sets you up for success rather than for failure and anxiety. Like it or not you can’t play a game with someone else’s strengths. You only have your own to work with.
3. Set your Own Goals. BUT SET THEM
Goals are a funny thing in business. Pick ones that are sensible and suit you and your strengths and you’ve created a juicy, dangling carrot. Choose ones that are not grounded on facts, or aren’t sensible, or just don’t fit what you want and you’re in trouble. There’ll be giant stick waiting to beat you up at every moment of every day. So what makes for sensible goals?
Firstly choose goals that make sense to what you’re trying to create with your business or campaign. For some people that’s a warm fuzzy goal, for others it’s more rational – like building an empire, or reaching 10000 customers, or even building a business that can run without you. But whatever it is, know that the choice has consequences. Empires need empire builders and empire building resources. Are you up for that? Winning contracts with major corporates means having pockets deep enough to manage 120 day payment terms. Can you manage that? Do you want to?
And be honest. It’s really easy to believe that you need to be building an empire, or be aiming to be no 1 in your sector or market. In our business we choose to run a nimble business with low overheads. So here we are in South Africa where the overheads are lower than in Europe. Someone else might want a big, consultancy with lots of employees and a very high profile. There are benefits and costs to both. It’s your business. So you get to choose!
Secondly make sure that you goal makes sense from a business perspective. Is the effort and reward in sync? Will you actually get a return for the money and time you spend. How do you know? You calculate it, that’s how. I can’t tell you how many difficult choices can be solved by doing the maths. The numbers seldom lie. Ask yourself “Can you make that number of sales?” Yes, or no? “Can you sell product at that volume at that price?” “Will it be easy, or incredibly difficult?” Calculate it and you will know. And then you can look for a different model that fits your ambitions or tweak the one you have. Maybe your money’s not in selling the coffee machine. Maybe it’s in selling the coffee pods. Nespresso anyone? Perhaps building a brand for the ordinary man of the street is too expensive, while servicing businesses is more sensible- Philips lighting perhaps? Get clear on where you’re going to make your money and what business you need to create to achieve that goal and loads of the confusion disappears.
4. Play your own Game
The goals are set. Now what? Look for ideas that will help you achieve that goal & play to your strengths. Me wanting to win with digital would be foolish. It’s just not what I’m strong at. So seminars, articles and face to face meetings is where my game is at. Or I have to buy those digital skills from someone else or invest in learning them.
And then DO IT! Not blindly of course. Build in an opportunity to stop, evaluate and then make some choices about whether & how to continue. But when you’re in the “do phase”, DO! Don’t get stuck. Aim to get SH*T done. Your way. According to your plan. DO, LEARN, DO BETTER.
I could go on and on about KNOWING YOUR GAME & PLAYING YOUR GAME, but honestly you need to get to thinking about these things and making some decisions to really smash this one out of the park. Join us for our next talk on this topic in Q1 of 2018. We’ll be covering these core concepts in greater detail as well as giving you some real how to’s so that you can start or sharpen your game plan.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org