Sometimes it feels like you’re about to go under, despite all your best intentions and effort, says Zac de Silva from Business Changing.
As published in the Sunday Star Times, July 26, 2015: read it online here.
Ever watched a child learn to swim? I remember taking my kids to swimming lessons when they were little.
When they were aged 4 or 5 they’d get to the point where they were learning to swim without floaties or swimming aids – and as a parent it was hard to watch. They’d be furiously paddling… but going absolutely nowhere. Even worse, at times it looked like they were going to go under, despite the 100 per cent effort they were putting in.
It’s the same when you watch really young kids play basketball or soccer. Round and round they go, the whole team following the ball like a flock of fast-moving sheep. The effort and persistence is there, but the fact that no one holds their position or knows the game plan means a lot of energy is exerted, but not many goals are scored.
Sometimes, it can be a bit like that in business.
You can work as hard as you like, for as many hours as you can, with so much passion and energy, but still feel like you’re getting nowhere.
It may feel like you’ll never reap the rewards hard work is supposed to bring. Even worse, sometimes it feels like you’re about to go under, despite all your best intentions and effort.
Just like with swimming, basketball and soccer, in business you need a technique. A game plan. Some strategy. Without these things, you’ll have no momentum and your business will have no chance of moving forward.
There are three things I commonly see in business coaching clients who want help because they can’t get any traction in their business:
Even worse, they’re spending money on the wrong things, which just adds to cash flow woes. Interestingly, from my observations of hundreds of businesses,
I’ve found that people will often do the easiest things on their to-do list first. These are the things that are quick to complete or a doddle to check off… but those often aren’t the business changing things. The most successful to-do lists are the ones listed in priority order, no matter what size or scale that action is.
Business plans often slip to the bottom of the list, yet they are integral to a business when used properly. Focus on the things that matter to your business and don’t keep yourself busy with the small stuff.
They’re muddling away on things they know nothing about.
If you have the time and the nous to school up on something and do it yourself, great – go for it. Especially if it’s not urgent or intrinsic to the operation of your company.
You could teach yourself how to take better photos to show your products in a better – more professional – light in your marketing collateral, for example.
But if we’re talking about things that really make a difference to your brand, your sales, your customers, then you need to bite the bullet and do it well.
Don’t waste three months teaching yourself how to build your own website as that’s three months of lost presence and potential sales. If it’s important to your company and you’re baffled as to how to do it well, get someone to help you. It’s likely they will do it a lot better than you can, improving your chances of business success.
They’ve got no game plan.
They’re in business, doing business, but they’re just biding their time and taking it as it comes.
This is no way to drive a business. All businesses should have a game plan and direction. A strategy. That’s how you know what decisions to make and what steps to take to get you there.
A great quote is, “Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow”. You need to know where you want to be tomorrow.
Otherwise it is quite likely that a few years down the track, you may not be around. You control your destiny here, create that game plan that makes you stand out versus the competition.
It’s obvious, but the reason that children get better at swimming, basketball, soccer and life in general is because they’re coached through it.
They’re taught how to do things, they’re given best practice strategies, they have things explained to them, such as how to kick or shoot properly or dodge the defence. The same applies for business.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As with sport, business acumen doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should keep trying to battle it out alone. Get some help in the areas that you are letting your business down on. Focus on what matters. Get some momentum.
– Sunday Star Times