Is your relationship with your business a little like the guy in the Piña Colada song?
You are a little bit tired, feel like you’ve been together too long, things have just been playing over and over like a worn out recording of your favourite song?
We are hearing it often lately: “we have done OK up to this point, but we have hit a flat spot and growing our business is just not happening.” Business growth doesn't just *happen* - you have to work at it and let's face it, more often than not, it's at the start of your journey that you have the grandest plans. You're brimming with ideas, you are excited and everything is coming together - yay you!!!! It's a bit like falling in love really - everything is new and exciting in the beginning, but then you get comfortable. Maybe you take your foot off the pedal you just get a bit meh about doing the same, same.
Let's go back to where it all began - you are working on your website, your brand mix, everything is looking new and shiny and you are on the path to success but then - eek - something starts to slow down. What is it? What happened? You were going so well and everything was working fine, so what changed?
Well let’s see...
What does it say in your strategy?
How much time have you spent along the way analysing and tweaking things?
How are you tracking vs your goals & objectives?
How close are you to achieving your big hairy audacious goal?
Please tell me you have all of these? If you do great. Go back and spend some time looking at them all again - assess how you are tracking and look at where you might be able to learn from how things went and remind yourself what you were excited about all that time ago.
But if you didn’t have these? Hmmmmm... well maybe this would be a good place to start. Create a strategy - look at all parts of your business and make yourself a plan that you can follow each month, and if you don’t know how to do that, engage in a professional who can help you pull your business apart and look at it with fresh eyes.
And if you need a little more
Ask a trusted colleague, mentor or friend to spend an hour or 2 with you and tell you what they see from the outside looking in. You might be surprised by what you hear. It might be hard, but it will be important to listen and not jump in to justify why things the way they are, but try your best to take it on board. This is not about criticism, it's about how the outside views your baby (aka your business). Absorb with open ears and eyes; they may also have some great ideas !
Brainstorm a list of things you would really love to do with your business. Think big, think small and think everything in between. Take yourself out of your normal environment, let yourself get excited and let your mind go. We are big advocates of new ideas here at TLSE. We even refer to our fabulous leader Heidi as a ‘popcorn brain’ - you know how a popcorn machine starts off slow and then popcorn starts spewing out all over the place? Let your mind do the same. Write your ideas down, let your fingers type your ideas as fast as you can, or create voice memos for yourself - whatever you do, don’t hold back. Once you have exhausted your mind, create a doc with 3 columns and allocate your ideas into what you can do now, next and later.
Learn something new - this is something we also hear a lot - “I did a course on that”. It's good to know how things work; for example you may or may not have the time to manage your own social media advertising but it's important to at least understand how it works and the benefits of it.
It is not often you will find a business owner who is amazing at everything - if you do know that person please tell me, as I would love to meet them. In our business, we have experts in all areas - styling, design, social media, digital marketing, and branding, and none of us pretend to know everything (if anyone tried to, they wouldn’t really fit in with us). There are people that are GREAT at business and there are people that have GREAT ideas and can create amazing things, but what to do with those things is not their forte. If that is you, engage with someone who is the yin to your yang. Write yourself a list of the stuff you love doing and the stuff you don’t enjoy. Now look at it and imagine if you only had to do the things you love. You can’t do everything, much less do everything well, so find the right people and lean on them a little, you might find that they need you to come along and complete their need too.
Reach out to your clients/customers and ask them what is missing. Pick up the phone and call. This may be something they have been wanting to share but not found the right moment. Book a coffee date with them and chat. You take the risk of being overwhelmed if you ask too many people because of course everyone is going to have different ideas, but it's OK to pick 2 pieces of feedback from each person and see how you can reinvigorate your business. Who knows - they may all fall into the same vein and it may even be something you felt yourself.
Create some new content - book yourself a shoot and spend the day telling your business story in pictures. Have fun with it!
Remember growth doesn't just happen, you need to have the motivation and fall in love with your business all over again. So go and make yourself a cocktail and plan your escape.
WORDS | Fiona Keogh, TLSE