Let’s cut to the chase. Here are 5 thoughts that are keeping you STUCK at the same level in your business and preventing growth.
“THAT person looks successful, so I’ll just do what they are doing.”
How many times have you looked at what someone else was doing in their business and figured “well they must know what their doing so I’ll just do that too,” It is really easy to look at what other people doing, whether it’s some service or product they are offering, what they are charging, or maybe even how much they are posting on Instagram, and think “it works for them so it should work for me.”
However there are two things wrong with this idea. First, you don’t actually know how well it’s working for them. Everyone makes their business look amazing on social media. You don’t actually know how well some particular strategy or idea is actually working for someone else, so don’t do it just because they are. The second issue here is that everyone’s business is actually quite different. There are different markets, different ideal clients, different messages, and different services. Unless your business is EXACTLY the same as someone else’s, which it better not be because that’s lame, your strategy should make sense for YOU and YOUR business.
While you might incorporate things you see elsewhere, you need to actually spend some time doing your research and looking at whether it makes sense for your business before you just wing it. Keep in mind that many strategies take time. So if you keep jumping from idea to idea just because things look like they are working for other people, but giving up after 2 weeks because you don’t see instant results, then you need to SLOW DOWN. You need to really take the time to implement a strategy WELL; tweak it, hone it, give it time to grow, before you just jump to the next trend or thing you saw someone else doing yesterday.
“If I build it, people will come.”
I have said this for years and I’ll stay it again - your business is not the field of dreams. So many people have an idea, and throw up a website, and do no other planning or foundational work, and then wonder why no one is booking them or buying their stuff. You cannot just throw up a website and create a business with no foundation, without understanding the market, without determining your strategy of who you want to sell to and how you are going to attract those people. Sure some people are lucky and their business idea is so amazing and revolutionary that they don’t have to spend much time or energy planning how to make their business a success, but that is RARE. You need to have an intentional strategy to make money.
“I need to scale my business so I can make more money.”
Now everyone LOVES this word “scale”. I hear it so often, “I need to scale my business” or “I want to scale my business”. Often the people that are constantly saying this don’t have a successful business yet. Scaling your business is when you take something that is working well (your profitable business), and you make it more efficient. You decrease your input, but increase your output. That’s scaling. But it’s extremely hard, if not impossible to do this if your business is not already working.
What people really mean when they keep telling me they want to “scale” their business is that they actually want to GROW their business. They are either stuck putting in a ton of effort and time and making very little money OR they find themselves bouncing between the start-up phase and the growth phase of their business. They are in this constant struggle between focusing on getting clients and focusing on serving clients. Nevertheless if you can get to a point in your business where you’re doing both of those well at the same time, you have this steady stream of business, and everything is working like a well oiled machine, THEN it’s time to think about how to scale. How can you replicate that system without putting more input into it? How can you automate parts of it? How can you pull yourself out of the equation, but keep the system running efficiently? That’s scaling. If you don’t have the well-oiled profitable machine yet, you are not ready to scale. You need to grow and the first step in doing that is figuring out how keep the steady stream of new leads, new sales, and new clients coming into the business while serving the clients you have.
“I need to have something to sell to everyone because I need everyone to buy from me.”
This is by far one of the most common issues I see when I first start coaching someone on their business strategy. They are trying to offer something to everyone. They are the graphic designer that says “I can build you a website or a logo or I can create a whole new brand for you! I can even design your kids’ birthday party invitations. I can do anything you need please, just give me money!” This doesn’t work. Well it might work in the short term, but you’re going to burnout real quick. Maybe you can do everything, maybe you are really good at a lot of things, we are starting to see that new phrase “multi-passionate entrepreneur” floating around, which is really just a fancy way of saying I can’t pick a niche.
If you want to be wildly successful in business and get unstuck VERY quickly, be KNOWN for one thing. Be the “go to” person for a specific thing and just focus on selling that. For example, I have been coaching and helping other creative business owners for about 5 years on all aspects of business strategy, and mostly on tying them all together, but you know the #1 reason I got my first 10-15 clients, and the reason I’m asked to speak multiple times per year at conferences and retreats? It’s because I started ONLY talking about pricing. I become the go-to person to talk pricing in many people’s minds. I didn’t try to sell marketing help or branding or Instagram strategy, I just sold a Pricing Workbook and strategy around making more money. Now I’ve been able to expand the topics that I teach and the ways in which I work with clients, because I have always known a lot about all those areas of business, but I just sold pricing.
Stop trying to have something to sell to everyone and instead become known for ONE thing. I have actually watched people double and triple their revenue in just a few months by doing only one thing, niching down.
“Once I start getting more clients and making more money, I’ll get serious about my business. I’ll finally invest in my business, I’ll get a better website, I’ll fix the parts that aren’t working, etc.. Once I get some clients in the door, I’ll start doing all of the these things.”
Guess what, you won’t. You know why you won’t? Because without these things you’re not going to suddenly start getting tons of clients and earning more money! This way of thinking is totally backwards, yet I hear it all the time. People want the clients and the money to come first BEFORE the strategy, BEFORE the planning, BEFORE the investing, but that is not how it works. You need the strategy, the planning, and to invest in your business to get it off the ground; you need to have all the parts of your business working in alignment together IF you want to make sales, IF you want more clients, IF you want to make money.
So if you’re waiting for the mythical moment when the clients and the money just start rolling in before you have to start digging deep and doing the uncomfortable stuff, you are going to be waiting a long time. You have to treat your business like a business if you want to see more sales, and more clients. Business is actually simple. It is not easy, but it’s simple. Those are two different things. Offer something that someone really needs, put it in front of them, and they will buy it. The premise is simple. Actually doing that takes a lot of understanding of various things like marketing, sales, messaging, positioning, pricing, but if you get those right and create an intentional plan for business that brings all those together, you win.
Did you notice a recurring theme in all those thoughts or mistakes we just talked about that are keeping people stuck? The number one issue is that all of these relate to people just winging their business strategy and winging how they run their business. If people spent less time winging it and “hoping for the best” and more time intentionally planning out their business, their objectives, their strategies, then they would not need to hope because they would have a business that just works. You would have a business that brings in clients and sales, and allows you to serve and impact people and do what you love.