Once again I have been hooked by the Olympics. The Olympics remind me that victory is often by a hundredth of a second, or a single point, or a few centimeters. The slogan “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” still rings true after all of these years.
Have you ever heard the axiom, "no matter where you go, there you are?" The same is true for the life we have created. We are where we are, based on the decisions we have made, the people we have chosen to associate with, and the sum total of our five closest friends. Interesting formula isn't it? Is it time to make some new friends? In the wise words of Ricky Ricardo, "you got some splainin' to do Lucy!" It's time to stop the blamin' and complainin' and accept the fact that the buck stops here, right now, with you. It's not what happens to you that matters, it's what you do about it. Stuff will happen. Work on building your character and your resolve and stop looking for reasons to justify your particular situation.
It was Henry Ford who said, "Whether you think you can or can't, either way you're right." Success in business is about accountability, responsibility, and ownership. If you don't have a mentor or coach, find one, preferably someone you admire and respect, who has owned a business, and who has faced and conquered the same challenges. When I am faced with a challenge or a difficult situation I like to ask, "What would my mentor do or how would they handle this?” It's time to start thinking like a "glass half full" person rather than a "glass half empty" one. Misery has enough company and it doesn't need to live in yours.
So what's this got to do with your vision? I'm glad you asked. I have had clients say they struggle with their vision and the future of their business. They say business is complicated, attracting clients is difficult, marketing is confusing, keeping customers is happy is a mystery, and making a good profit is doubtful. In general, they are not having any fun. If any of this resonates for you, it's a good time to stop, grab a pen, and answer a few questions.
At the top of your list, answer this:
Why did I get into business in the first place? In other words, what void in the marketplace did I hope to fill with my product or service? How was I going to do it better, faster, or more reliably than anyone else? What pain was I going to alleviate from my customers life that would have them choose me? What pleasure was I going to provide better than anyone else? What don't people like about buying in my industry in general and how could I demonstrate that I am different from the rest?
You see, your business status right now is the vision you hold. The skills you possess, the level of knowledge you have, the competencies you have developed, all are part of the picture called our vision. Unless you learn new skills, acquire more knowledge and practice, and learn to become more competent, your business will look very much the same in the future. Business does not remain static, why should you?
Take some time right now and describe your business five years from now. Write as if it is in the present and you have accomplished your goals and dreams. Think outside the box, bigger than you think is possible right now. Be idealistic, positive and inspiring, even challenging. Now take stock of what you know and what you don't know or understand. What skills, knowledge and competencies do you have to master to fulfill this vision you have now written about? Sometimes when a client does this exercise it seems overwhelming or appears to be the size of an elephant. And we say, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time"! Write down now an action step you will take within the next 24 hours to move you closer to your vision.
When I look at a new client, I don't see a struggling business owner. I see a brilliant, capable, intelligent human being that cares and wants to make a difference in this world and leave an enduring legacy. How do you see yourself? Here's one of my favorite quotes, "Aspire to Inspire before you Expire."
Have a great week!
If you are reading this in the Chamber Blog, congratulations! You have made it through the most turbulent economy since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, now is not the time to relax. As business leaders, we need to become more resilient at handling the extremely high demands of our jobs and the ever-changing business landscape. The following seven principles will help you sharpen your leadership skills so that you’ll be better equipped to handle any challenge that comes your way.
Of all the areas of web design and development that I enjoy the most – our Web Design meetings really rank highly for the part they play in ensuring a great website result for the client.
The key to the success of those meetings starts with analysis & research before the meeting, which can include reviewing the client’s business and marketing models , their current website, and industry leading websites for comparison and samples. Key communication actually starts in the sales cycle and should be in full “voice” – during the design meeting. Clients should be engaged in identifying their needs, aims and outcomes and the whole team (client and designer) should establish a collaborating process to ensure a successful outcome.
Have you ever fallen victim to Groupthink?
Groupthink occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of the alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict to reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints. The primary socially negative cost of groupthink is the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking.
Over the last few years I have really become very aware of the important connection between a website owner and their website. The arrival of Content Management Systems has provided website owners with the opportunity to update their websites directly and in my opinion (and most importantly) allows the website owner to be an active participant in the process.
There is much said these days about paying very close attention to your competition and about not paying such close attention. It seems like every other day some marketing guru gets up and makes some bold proclamation either way and the average business person who just wants to stay competitive in the first place is left in a quandary as to “what to do.” I myself ascribe to the common sense theory. Here’s the first point of view:
At the start of 2012 we were requested by a client to change their Online Store login requirement from “Username” to “e-mail” so that it would be easier for the client to be able to sign in (or reset their password) without having to remember their username (no one ever forgets their e-mail!).
Herding cats - picture that scenario in your mind and think about what a difficult task that would be if that were your job. Cats are independent, try to be in control of the situation at all times, and definitely don't like to be told what to do! Managing people can be equally as challenging. Substitute the word "people" for "cats" as you practice the following Ten Tips, and you'll be well on your way to successful people management while maintaining your sanity, a sense of humor, and perhaps a shred of your dignity.
Most likely no matter what your interest in Social media you would have heard of the recent purchase of Instagram by Facebook. I suspect the biggest reason we all heard about it was the actual buying price – one billion dollars (Somehow I could imagine Dr. Evil stating that price!).
I had a conversation with a client recently that made me stop and think about my own performance and attitude. Our conversation centered on why some people seem so much more successful than others, and it seems as if a few simple character traits contribute to our overall success:
Mark Twain said “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I heard another version of that the other day which stated that 97.3%...no wait, 87.4%...of all statistics are made up on the spot! So, according to Dave Crenshaw in his book titled, “The Myth of Multitasking,” the 21st century version of Mark Twain’s quote is, “There are lies, damned lies, and multitasking.”
Recently I had a prospect ask me to focus (almost exclusively) on improving their Google Search Engine positioning based on key words and phrases. The belief of the prospect was that you can manipulate results on Google easily and quickly and that regardless of your website (and its design) this methodology (known as Search Engine Optimization) could be implemented very easily.
As we enter a new year and many of our clients are reviewing their websites and marketing plans for 2012 I have found myself repeating this line above in both client and prospect meetings:
It is not “Intent” it is “Content” that Google Ranks your website on.