Keeping The Faith

As I’ve often said, it’s tough going building and running a business. Not everyone is cut out for it, and not every business idea we have is a guaranteed success – and it can be months or sometimes years into your journey before you start to get real clarity on either of these.

So how do you keep yourself on track, and going, and motivated, and fresh, when sometimes the world around you is… not making it easy? (Clue: Simply being good at what you do isn’t enough!)

This was the subject of discussion at our latest Breakfast Board, and we honed in on five critical plates that you need to keep spinning in order to Keep The Faith…

1. Focus

  • Get focused. Have a mission – This keeps you disciplined and on track (to avoid just randomly doing whatever occurs to you next). 
  • Set goals, and recognise that there are different phases to building up a business, and not all of them (especially the formative ones) will make money.
  • Make it easy for yourself – think about your proposition, your products, how you package them and how you make them easily understood and accessible to your targets.

2. Learn

  • Watch and learn: Both yourself and others, including competitors and peers – Who’s doing it well? Who’s not?
  • Find new sources of knowledge. Upskill yourself in new (relevant) disciplines – for example marketing, social media, taking on new employees… whatever will make you better and more informed for your journey ahead.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure – Learn from it. Use it to make you stronger and better.

3. Innovate

  • Marketing is all about experimentation, so experiment and innovate – with the new and the different.
  • Plan, Test, Observe and learn. Repeat. Allow yourself to fail (and make sure you reflect and learn from the experience).
  • And remember to balance your innovation, with consistency (people don’t like to constantly be put on the back foot), and with quality (don’t waste your time with novelty or gimmicks – they won’t last).

4. Keep Pushing!

  • Momentum is critical. You’ll need to keep constant pressure on your innovation and growth, and at the same time, on your day to day operation and delivery activities…
  • And careful not to let that momentum drift when you’re gloriously busy servicing clients or with a new contract, as when this work ends you will find yourself standing still again.

5. PMA (Stay Positive)

  • Success can take ages, and you will need a lot of positive mental energy and belief in yourself to keep up this momentum.
  • And success is about winning, being better. Know your strengths, and draw on them to be different and self-confident. 
  • Conversely, people can smell desperation and resignation, so you have to genuinely believe in yourself. If you don’t, then fix this first – who you are, and what you’re offering the world – before trying to sell to it.
  • Finally, crucially, take advice, but don’t abandon your instincts. It has to be your call at the end of the day.

All of this is tough work, so perhaps the best reassurance I can leave you with, is that tough is good. Tough means other people will give up. So decide who you are, and make it happen. (Exits to the inspirational Billy Ocean…)

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