If this sounds like you, then no doubt you’ve been putting in the long hours, and trying everything possible to make your business a success.
You’ve also probably done your homework, and looked into solutions, as well as asked those who’ve been there done that for tips.
What we find is that many business owners are either stumbling across information, or getting advice from other business owners along the lines of ‘get out there’, ‘network’, ‘connect and interact with others online’, ‘do social media’ etc
And then there’s the list of things to do inside your business to oil up the machine; ‘hire more people’, ‘delegate’, ‘get software to automate your process’… and so on.
I’m sure none of this sounds foreign to you.
But what’s wrong with these things?
Well, nothing is necessarily wrong with any of them.
The people recommending these things may be well intended. They may have seen for themselves the wonders a specific activity has done for their business, and want you to have the same results too.
But you tried, and maybe it didn’t work out that way for you.
So what’s going on here? Have you just been dealt a hand of bad luck?
Of course not!
Providing there’s successful examples out there already for the type of business you want to create- it can all be achieved (albeit with far less effort than you’re currently putting in now). We know this because if other successful businesses are out there, that means that there’s proven customer demand. Can’t tick this off the list at this point? Then this may very well be why what you’re doing is failing to produce results. If you cleared this first hurdle, then read on.
On to the second hurdle- your expectations.
Are they in line with reality? Have you given things enough time to work? It’s often said that you need to be exposed to several repetitions of a message before it sinks in. You only ran your ads once before deciding they don’t work? This may be why. Or maybe you went to one networking event, and didn’t get anyone wanting to buy your products then and there. Well it takes time to develop relationships and trust.
Right- back to the list…
For a start, one of the biggest problems with the advice you may be getting is not the advice itself, but ALL the items on the list. There’s just way too many things you feel like you need to be doing. So if you’ve been extra diligent, and tried to put into action everything all at once- it’s no wonder it isn’t working the way you want it to. You’d be spread thinner than the stingy serving of mayo on my dry maccas chicken burger today. What’s that saying? If you try catch 2 rabbits you’ll catch none. Plus you must be exhausted!
Now, if you want to proudly parade around your ‘busy-ness’ as a bit of a self esteem booster- then good for you. Keep doing what you’re doing and stop reading now cause I’m gonna suggest how to become a whole lot less busy (for now at least).
Okay- the big secret: Stop doing everything except for a few activities that are most likely to be the most successful. In doing this you’ll be able to do those few things well instead of a lot of things so-so.
Yeah I know. Kinda obvious. I realise I’m sounding like a bit of a dick right now.
The bit that’s trickier however is figuring out what those few things you’re to focus on are going to be.
And it certainly doesn’t help when you go online and see pages and pages of articles telling you that if you don’t do social media, or have a website- or whatever the new flavour of the month is then your business will be DEAD!
Okay, so here’s a good place to start:
Focus all your energy on serving a particular type of client- but a client no one else is serving well thus far. Start with what products and services you are delivering, and then the activities you should be doing should become obvious.
For instance, instead of making woolen jerseys for everyone, why not make woolen jerseys for those doing outdoor water sports?
Maybe you’d use the type of wool that’s most flexible for movement, using a knit pattern and texture that mimics ducks feathers to allow the water slide off. Maybe you also use the finest threads possible so to prevent scratching and chafing (and to prevent catching on anything), and treat all products with a water resistant spray.
Then for the activities to get your products out in the market?
Well, you’d then obviously try sell your products in places people who do outdoor water sports hang out at. There may be kayaking shops, online sports forums, and bloggers and news sites dedicated to these sports. And given people’s passion for these sporting activities, you may decide that being on Facebook is going to work for you given it’s the platform people use to talk about things they are passionate about, and want to show their friends they are doing. Maybe you could even sponsor a prominent outdoor water sport athlete.
You will no longer have to go to most business networking mixers- your target audience isn’t likely to be there. You can stop trying to get your products into fashion stores- that’s not your audience either.
And if you’ve got a team- decision making will become easier. Do I use the materials that looks the best or those that are the most water resistant? Well obviously the latter. Boom! That’s one less meeting and round of emails you need to have. On the process side of things, if you’re able to narrow down the products and services you’ll be delivering, then you’ll also be able to automate and template a lot of your activity- something that you aren’t able to do if you have to deliver everything custom to a wide audience.
The only things you need to be sure of before taking your business down a focused direction is whether there’s going to be sufficient demand for the product or service you’ll create, and whether the numbers and logistics will work. If you are able to produce a product highly desired by your market, but the price to do so is way out of step with what people would be willing to pay- then it’s not gonna work. Same goes if you’re unable to deliver in a timely manner, or what you want to do just isn’t physically possible.
While doing all this won’t be easy, it will certainly be easier than doing everything you can and praying something works.