Right now you could be doing any number of other things, but you've chosen to be here so let's make sure that you are in the right place...
Is This For You?
It's for you if you are a free-spirited entrepreneur who wants to create a business doing something that you enjoy, and crucially that gives you independence and freedom.
You have an entrepreneurial spirit, you want to make the world a better place in your own unique way. It doesn't matter whether you have lofty aims or just want to bring a smile to someone's face through what you do - the ripple effect is a wonderful and powerful thing.
What I share here are timeless principles of what a business needs to succeed.
Principles that will serve anyone creating and growing a business.
If you are looking for quick fixes or magic bullets for overnight success then you are in the wrong place. The only thing that they are a shortcut to is frustration and overwhelm, leading to burnout and often failure.
What are the principles we adhere to around here?
1: Become The person You Need To Be
To do that, you first need to know what kind of business that you want. It doesn't matter whether you want to create a business based around your passion so that you can get paid for that as a solopreneur such as a photographer or freelancer, or if you want to create a global business empire in e-commerce.
Neither is better than the other, what's important is what is right for you.
Too many people try and create someone else's idea of a business because that's what they see others doing, and not the business that they truly want. That never ends well. I know, I've been there.
Too many people try and create someone else's idea of a business because that's what they see others doing, and not the business that they truly want. Don't be that person.
Once you are clear on what kind of business you want then you can develop into the right kind of person for the kind of business that you want.
A successful solopreneur has a very different way of thinking and operating to the CEO of a big business.
Get Mentally Fit For Business
Secondly, and just important if not more, you need good Mental Fitness and Fortitude.
Being responsible for your own business takes a special kind of resilience. It can be an emotional rollercoaster and if you are not mentally equipped to deal with it then it is like hobbling your ability to succeed.
We all have access to just about everything that we need to create an amazingly successful business - the information, the tools, the tactics, it's all out there on the internet, in books.
We've never had so much opportunity, yet far many people still struggle to create successful businesses that they serve them well.
A lot of it comes down to what goes on in your head.
A lack of emotional resilience and those insidious little voices that tell you:
- that you are not good enough,
- that there is too much competition,
- that people don't value what you offer,
- the starving artist myth,
- the lie that business owners have to work 18 hours a day to be successful,
- that you've got to be the best to earn a living at what you do,
- that "it's" got to be perfect...
to name just a few.
If you don't develop your Mental Fitness, these persistent voices will lead to:
- fear of failure,
- imposter syndrome,
- low self-esteem and self worth,
- a constant search for the quick win because todays society conditions you for instant gratification
- and worse.
Think You Don't Need Mental Fitness?
If you think that Mental Fitness is something that you can skip, let me ask you - would you try and run a marathon without training and becoming fit enough to do so?
Can you imagine what would happen if you joined a football team and tried to play a full match without developing your physical fitness?
It's no different with business.
The more mentally fit you are, the more easily success will come.
As you increase your Mental Fitness you diminish the internal saboteurs that lead to limiting beliefs with all the pitfalls they bring.
You will grow your emotional resilience for the rollercoaster ride that is entrepreneurship.
You develop the region of your brain that is the source of your creativity, clear thinking, empathy, good decision making, innovation and taking focused action, spending less time operating from your survivor brain and more time thriving.
2 - Solid Foundations Are The Difference Between Success & Failure
In this age of the internet and social media, too many "gurus" peddle the lie that you just need to buy their course that teaches a particular tactic and you'll have a successful business.
This has led to a pervasive and dangerous belief - that to create a business you just need to create a website, post about your business on a few social media channels and work hard. Do that and success will be yours.
That's bullshit, as all too many people find out the hard way.
Yes the internet and social media are wonderful tools or tactics for marketing your business.
However, like all tactics, they will only work for you if you have good foundations, the basics, in place.
The foundations of business are more important than they've ever been now that it's so easy for anyone to create a "sexy" website and say they are in business.
It's beautiful that we've never had so much opportunity, the downside is that many find it harder than ever to succeed because crucially they don't do the foundational work that makes all the difference.
It's beautiful that we've never had so much opportunity, yet so many find it harder than ever to succeed because they skip the foundations.
What Is Success ?
Firstly, know what success means to you.
I mean get really clear on this.
Exactly how do you want your life look on a day to day basis.
Although this is connected to the kind of business you want, they aren't mutually dependent.
This is no exaggeration. Don't be that person.
I've been there and I've seen it happen to far too many good people, and yet it is so easily avoidable.
Most people only have a idea of what success means to them, then don't understand why they end up with a business they resent because it demands too much and pays too little.
The Strategic Foundations
Strategic foundations are the key to what a business needs to succeed.
- Knowing who you serve and why what you do is important to them - how does it help them in their life?
- Discovering exactly how to stand out in what you do and how to give yourself a massive advantage over all of your competitors.
- Having a simple, repeatable and scaleable way to attract and nurture customers, filtering out those who aren't a good fit for your business and converting those who are into clients.
You can't create strategic foundations if you don't know how your products and services make your prospects lives' better, solve their problems and fulfil their needs.
Not just on a surface level, but on a deeper more intrinsic level so that they feel like you really "get" them.
It's not just start ups that need to do the work here. I've yet to work with any business that didn't need to strengthen the foundations their business rests upon.
As your business grows and evolves you need to strengthen the foundations and make sure that there are no missing pieces.
For many it's too tempting to focus on the latest tactics because that's what everyone is talking about. What they don't realise is that solid foundations are the building blocks that make ALL of the tactics work.
For many it's too tempting to focus on the latest tactics because that's what everyone is talking about. They skip the foundations that are the building blocks that make ALL of the tactics work.
People are looking for the quick win. We've been conditioned to seeks instant gratification...
... You can binge watch your favourite tv shows.
...A few clicks and you can get just about anything delivered to your door the next day.
We want it all and we want it now. We don't want to put in the work needed to achieve what we want.
We've been taught to think that by jumping straight to the tactics and trying to attract customers that we will get them quicker. But that's the long route.
We all get there quicker if we do the foundational work.
It's always going to be a struggle to get all the clients you want through tactics (social media/direct mail/a blog/podcasting etc etc) if you don't have the very building blocks that are essential for all tactics to work.
It's always going to be difficult to attract clients using any method if you don't understand why people buy what it is you do or sell.
It's always going to be a struggle to get all the clients you want if you don't have a repeatable and scalable method of attracting prospects and nurturing them into clients.
Do yourself a favour, and go slower to get there quicker...
3 - Pinpoint What Your Business Needs Right Now
One of the biggest traps business owners fall into is getting pulled off in the wrong direction.
It feels like you are making progress, but the reality is that you are heading in the wrong direction, away from where they really want to go.
It's known as the survival trap or what I like to think of as The Entrepreneur's Impasse and far too many business owners are living this because they don't have a tool or method for accurately discerning what is the most important priority in their business at any given time.
They have an idea of where they want to go, what they want their business to look like, but they don't know what the best first step is to take them there.
They know that they aren't where they want to be, and that they want to change things, and this leads to them taking any action that makes them feel like they are moving away from where they are and that gives them a feeling of making progress.
The sad reality is that most of these decisions don't take the business owner along the path towards their ideal business, but further away from it.
For example, the business has some bills coming up but there is very little cashflow. The owner decides that they need to generate some cash quickly runs a flash sale.
This brings short term relief because the business has the cash to pay the bills.
However, it is yet another short-term decision that is out of alignment with moving the business towards becoming the sustainable and profitable that the owner dreams of.
This pattern of fire-fighting repeats itself, often taking the business in the exact opposite direction to where the owner wants the business to be, going nowhere fast.
What A Business Needs To Succeed
Fortunately, it's easy to avoid the Survival Trap.
I use two tools to help my clients in this area.
The first is called the Business Hierarchy of Needs and was developed by Mike Michalowicz. The inspiration came from Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs and with it we are able to pinpoint the Vital Need of the business at that time.
Once the Vital Need of the business is established we use the Business GPS to ensure that the Vital Need of the business is taken care of and that you are creating a business that is in alignment with your vision for your future.
In other words, it keeps you focused on what a business needs to succeed.
Mental Fitness, The Foundations and Doing The Right Thing
In summary, the three principles I follow in business are:
IT BEGINS WITH YOU
Know the kind of business you want and what success means to you. Develop the Mental Fitness to become the person your ideal business needs you to be.
ESTABLISH SOLID FOUNDATIONS
Ensure that you are not building your business on quicksand. You want your business to grow strong, sustainably and profitably, not come crashing down around you as it evolves and grows.
DO THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT TIME
Always be working on the most important thing that your business needs to get you to where you want to be, not the most appealing or easiest thing.
This is the approach that I have found to be the most effective and sustainable approach to creating a profitable business that serves you rather than enslaves you.
After too many false starts and lessons learned the hard way, it's how I focus on my own evolution as a business owner and entrepreneur, allowing me to create the way of life that I want - now it's all about upgrades.
If this resonates with you and you want to learn more about this approach to creating your life and business, stick around you are in the right place.