As business owners we’re forced to ask a lot of hard questions or suffer the consequences. Every week I hear from business owners around the world about how they’re struggling to succeed or questioning why their business isn’t succeeding. Sometimes there’s a simple answer, sometimes there are several factors, and other times it is much more complex. Sometimes there’s an easy fix, and other times it doesn’t seem like there is a fix.
The first question I always ask myself when approaching a new project or client is: who needs this service? If there are no customers for your service, if there are no unsatisfied customers in similar businesses, or if the customers who could be yours don’t understand what you offer you won’t be successful. Once you’ve established that people do want your service and are willing to leave the brands they’re currently with for something else or something better, then you can get to building and selling your service. Get to know who your customers are, what they care about, and what they spend their time doing when they’re not thinking about or using your services. No one wants to be sold to all the time and as awesome as your product or service is, it’s not likely that your client’s entire world will revolve around it anytime soon.
The next question I always ask is: does the world need another of this business? Because if the world is saturated by this business you’ll find it hard to get off the ground. This is especially true when it comes to product businesses like jewelry, clothing, knick knacks, and health and wellness products. There is always someone who thinks theirs will sell simply because it’s a popular industry, no matter how saturated the market is, which isn’t the reality.
The final question we’ll discuss today is: does this service meet any client needs or solve their problems? Because if you’re not providing the solutions to the real problems people have you aren’t really doing them a service. If you’re selling what you’re selling without concern for the customer and only focused on your bottom line, you’ll find out pretty quick that people will stop buying and start spreading the word that you don’t care about your customers.
So how aware are you as a business owner? Do you know the big and small picture of your business and your customers? If not you may want to take a closer look.
I love a good mystery, who doesn’t, right? We watch shows on TV that have twists and turns that most of us don’t predict, we love trying to figure out what’s wrong with something and we are all naturally curious about what goes on in other people’s lives. We love the challenge of figuring something out and are excited by the possibility of what could be through the next doorway or around the bend. Yet every day we face challenges that make us say “I wish there was just a simple answer!” The good news is that for most things there is a simple answer. The bad news is that sometimes we’re so wrapped up in it being a challenge that we can’t see or accept the simple answer. Some of my clients initially think that some of my advice is simply too simple. You’ve probably read some of my blog posts and thought the same thing.
Your fear, concern or disbelief that something is too simple to work is something that needs to be considered and addressed because some things are better with layers and age, but many things are good and work well, or even better, without any added complications. We’ve gotten so caught up in the complexities of society today that we can’t accept that the simple things do work.
What do you really have to lose by cleaning up your store, trying a new game with your kids, going on a date with your partner, or getting a fresh perspective from a coach or consultant? Are you so stuck in your current life that you can’t see life outside where you are currently, or so happy that you don’t feel the need to? If you’re happy with your life that’s one thing, but if you’re not, refusing to accept other perspectives means you’re bordering on hopeless. No one can force you to do anything or apply any advice, but the only way to get something better is to do something different.
So, what do you really have to lose by cleaning up your store? Maybe you’ll gain a few new customers. What do you have to lose by trying a new game with your kids? Maybe you’ll gain the gift of their joy, love and smiles. What do you have to lose by going on a date with your partner? Maybe you’ll be reminded of how happy you can be together. What do you have to lose by getting a fresh perspective from a coach or consultant? Maybe you’ll find the freedom, fulfillment and future you’ve always wanted. In what area of your life do you need a fresh perspective?
I’m a big believer in the choice of living life in that day and time. I’ve found that living life panicking about the future or cursing the past really doesn’t do much good. It’s important to prepare for the future and do what we can to do things differently so we don’t repeat the past, but it’s really important to live for today. I do spend a lot of time talking about victories because I know they’re important to each of us to help us stay motivated and moving forward as well as encouraged that we’re making progress in our lives, but victories are made up of the little things in between the successes (and the failures), not just those big moments.
Our partners and our family members don’t just exist for the graduations, baby births and birthdays and anniversaries, they’re there in the in-between days too. I’ve learned that those in-between days can have a bigger impact on things than the victories can, because if those in-between days are filled with animosity or ignorance, congratulations on the victories can feel pretty empty and worthless.
So before you jump up and say that you’ve attended all the “important” events in someone’s life, remember that life is made up of a lot more than those “important” events. “Important” events make up a very small portion of the days we live. Those days in between may seem insignificant but they’re really what makes up the sum total of things, and often determines how we treat those in our lives. It’s not just about being there through thick and thin, but about enjoying the quiet moments and living them to the fullest. What will you celebrate today?
“I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks, but for the ledger of our daily work.” Neil Armstrong