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All posts from August 2019

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614: Who’s Your Competition?

Let’s take a little look at who your competition really is:

If it’s your industry competitors, that’s your choice. They’re only competitors if you choose not to find complimentary ways to bring yet more value to the market, together. To work together on things to create more meaningful advantage for those in your care – events, products, systems – than you could create alone. Your choice.

If it’s your inner voice, that’s your choice. The voices that tell you that you suck for whatever reason it deems important today, only matters if you choose for it to matter. Should it matter any more than a Facebook comment from a faceless grump? Could you introduce new – better – voices into your head, since it’s your head? Your choice.

If it’s the economy, that’s your choice. The marketplace always has enough in it for everything it needs, and it’s printing more all the time; more money, more innovation, more opportunity. Should you participate and share in the opportunity available? Does a recession have to mean that many will get a share, but not you? Your choice.

If it’s your choice, your competition is by your design.

Who’s your competition? Doesn’t matter, you made it up, and you play by those rules by choice. Choose to compete, or choose to change the rules. Your choice.


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613: Progress Shouldn’t Slow You Down

How can making progress…slow you down?

It sounds like it shouldn’t make sense – progress is suppose to mean things are getting better, faster, stronger, more effective, more fulfilling, more powerful. Yes?

For companies though, progress can carry with it some extra weight:

As a company grows it slows.

Often, progress starts to really manifest after a company gets its around effective systemization. Things can start moving faster in the direction it set out on.

The risk here, is turning that vehicle into a train – very powerful at going where it was designed to go, but not very good at finding new routes should its path become less effective.

In that instance, the system made the mistake of forgetting the genius behind masters who designed it.

Team members must be freed, for speed.

Companies can’t just stay the same forever.

Industries change. Customer habits change. The problems people are trying to solve, change.

The locomotive that systemized away the steering wheel can’t react to such obstacles in its path.

When creating progress – when scaling your operation – remember that what works today, will need relentless ongoing optimization and even occasional pivoting in order to keep the machine on track.

That means enabling the genius trapped in your team free to refine the machine, and steer when necessary. That’s what will keep you nimble, relevant, effective.

The fastest on the buzzer still wins.

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612: The Reason You’re Scared

Years ago, a mentor many years my senior quipped that even great men still feel like little boys inside.

I found it to be a powerful reminder that, while the inner-talk is in our control, we all have similar default settings.

We all remember the bad grades and the bullies in school. Richard Branson got bullied for being dyslexic at school. Many moons after becoming a millionaire, he still had to have staff explain to him the difference between net and gross. And yet he owns a bank – Virgin Money.

I can relate to this, also finding numbers difficult. Our team has to support me in a similar way, ensuring math that gets anywhere close to me is double-checked for correctness.

We all remember the times we tried what we do so well now for the very first time… and were terrible at it. Most successful business owners have a laundry-list of failures that they seldom reveal to the public, that led them to the success they currently experience.

I can point to a number of my own, but not as failures so much as learning experiences – each taught me something that made the venture that followed more successful than it could have been otherwise.

CEOs, cause-driven business leaders, and everyone within those businesses, are all full of those who are still little boys (or girls!) inside. Just like everyone else.

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611: The Scary World Of Business Growth Through Contraction

Growth by contraction? How does that work?

Let’s paint a picture of crazy, for a moment:

“Trying to do everything you hear in blog posts, all at once, because you were told you should be doing those things.”

Sound familiar?

You were told you should be guest posting. And using Facebook Ads. And Instagram stories. And LinkedIn messaging. And pop-ups on your website. The list goes on.

Ever notice how, when you try to do everything at once, nothing ends up working?

Those posts don’t get placed. The ads don’t work. Nobody sees your stories. Nobody replies to your messages. Your pop-ups wind everyone up. The list goes on, again.

What if you were to scale down the number of things you tackled at once… and focused on them one at a time?

Contraction gives focus, and focus enables expansion.

But freneticism doesn’t enable expansion. Rather, it results in contraction.

Maybe you’ve tied a bit of this and a bit of that. You’ve tried dabbling, hustling, trying to do everything at once. Maybe you’ve realized it doesn’t work.

What if you were to instead choose contraction in efforts today, for the focus it can bring toward the things that matter first, so that you can start creating some small wins?

It’s more fun to build upon success to create more success than it is to build upon failure to create more failure.

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610: Your Customers Don’t Trust…Themselves

Your customers don’t trust themselves, not really… and that’s a big reason for lost sales.

In this post, let’s take a look at what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote on the matte of self-reliance:

“Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this.”

Translation: We don’t trust ourselves until we see someone else first having done it.

This is like the person who “had thought of Uber first”, yet did nothing about it. Surely, had he believed his idea was a ~$100 billion idea (as Uber is presently valued) surely he would have done something about it? Unlikely; validation creates validation.

It doesn’t need to be Uber, either. It could be buying marketing services, or perhaps a nice new suit. We may not feel worthy to pursue it until we believe we’ll “make it work”. The fear of failure and of being misunderstood holds many back.

Which leads us to the next quote:

“Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Turns out, breaking consistency, being seen to fail on occasion… these things are what all greats suffer.

Those we wish to serve need to believe the transformation they seek is possible for them… and that even if it isn’t, the act of trying will still transform them into that which they seek to become.

Are you helping your customers trust themselves?

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609: The Little Things We Buy

There are lots of little things we buy online while shopping. Our customers are shopping for these things too. Do you have these in stock?

Respect: Stock tends to run low on this for customers who don’t align with a company’s ideals. Perhaps the customer doesn’t understand how to use an item, or they’re more emotional than many. You can do better: make sure you stock levels more-than-match the number of customers you have.

Discipline: Stock run down to back-order on this when companies sell more product than they have available. Perhaps the business got busy, they felt temporarily invincible, and they ‘relaxed’. You can do better: make sure you have as much of this in stock as you do the products you sell.

Empathy: Nothing else sells if you run low in stock on this item. Customers tend to buy their own narrative told back to them, not products and services. It’s a big reason why so many businesses don’t sell much. You can do better: ensure you always have abundantly more of this in stock than you need.

There are many more items like this that we must keep stocked in our companies. These are just three that are frequently ‘out of stock’. Do you have enough respect, discipline, and empathy in stock for your customers?