As entrepreneurs we’re challenged to find ways to attract new customers and clients, manage our time efficiently, use our funds wisely, promote our business in a cost-effective manner and develop a strategic plan. Many of us attend conferences, networking events and training sessions seeking some new and profound revelation that will catapult our business to the next level. Rather than being inspired, it’s blah, blah, blah… we’ve heard it all before and often walk away disappointed that it was just a waste of time. Not because there wasn’t anything of value to take away, but because we graded the experience based upon how much of the teaching was more of the same rather than honing in on that little nugget that could dramatically improve our bottom line.
Suppose you were to take off in a ship at the equator with the intent to sail the globe. Let’s say you plot out your route but, without realizing it, you’re off by one degree. By the time you return to the same longitude, you would be off course by a thousand miles. This same principle can be applied to your business, but with positive results.
The key to building a long-term, thriving business does not always require a major overhaul, but it could be a matter of making a small shift in the way you’re currently doing business. It all depends upon your stage of development. If you’re a start-up, it’s not uncommon for you to make major changes in the beginning. But, if you’ve been in business a while and you’re looking to take it to the next level, more than likely you may only need to make incremental shifts to position your business for long-term, sustainable success.
A few years ago I had the privilege of a one-on-one business strategy session with the networking guru, George Fraser. I soaked up every word like a sponge. During the course of the hour, he shared many aspects of business that were not really new; I’d heard them before. I knew, however, that at his level of success, there was something he could impart to me that would be a game changer. Well, he didn’t disappoint! In answering my question, “George, what is the secret to your success?” he advised me to “Build your platform.” I realized that I needed to be consistent. This meant taking strategic steps to grow my market, expand my message which, in turn, would establish my brand.
I had heard this before but, for some reason, it didn’t have the same impact. This time I had a light bulb moment! Suddenly I realized that this could very well be the one degree shift I needed to profoundly impact my business for long-term success.
Four little words that can sabotage the success of your business are, “I already knew that.” It’s not what you know that determines your success, but it’s what you do with it that makes the difference. If you’re hearing more of the same, it could be an indication that you’re further along in your development than you realized. Enter every learning opportunity with an open mind. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the obvious in search of the spectacular. The key to unlocking the future of your business may be just one degree away.