3 Things You Can Do NOW to Build Your Business

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A friend of mine has a dog with cataracts. He (the dog) is perfectly happy going through his day, but he bumps into things a lot. It seems to me that a lot of businesses are plagued by “corporate cataracts.” There’s a lack of clarity, a lack of focus, in what they do. Their vision is cloudy, and this is costing them millions of dollars a year. So right now you’re either thinking, “Boy, I’m sure glad that’s not my business!,” or “Crap! He’s talking about me!” Those of you in the second group: congratulations on recognizing the problem. Those of you in the first group: at least half of you belong in the second group. Either way, here are three things you can do right now to improve your clarity and build your business.

  1. Define what you do. “Well that’s easy,” you say. “I sell furniture,” or “I drive a cab,” or “I run a restaurant.” I would argue that none of these things are really what you do; they’re just how you do it. When I say “define what you do,” I mean define what benefit you offer. For example, I’m a professional speaker. So, do I sell speeches, presentations, and workshops? Nope. What I’m really selling is the audience experience. What I’m selling is an audience that thinks, “Wow! This is great! I’m so glad I’m here!” Because my boss—the meeting planner who hires me—isn’t really looking for “a speech.” She’s looking for that audience experience, that impact. I provide that. That’s what I do. In the above examples, I would argue that what you really do might be better expressed as “I help turn houses into homes,” “I eliminate the stress of getting from here to there,” and “I bring people together in an atmosphere of great food and great conversation.” So take a few minutes, right now, and define what it is that you really do.
  2. Define who you do it for. Who is your ideal customer? “Anybody with money,” you say. Shut up. You’re not helping. And, more importantly, you’re not helping yourself. There’s no clarity, no focus, in that answer. When the Beatles started out, they knew exactly who their ideal customer was: teenage girls, specifically between 13 and 16. Watch a clip of them on the Ed Sullivan show. See that little head shake thing they do on the high notes? That was conscious—they actually practiced that—because they knew it appealed to their ideal customer. Not that they weren’t happy if, say, 28-year-old men bought their records as well, but that wasn’t who they were aiming for. Look at Hyundai. Sure, they’ll sell a car to anybody who wants one. But their ideal customer—the person they devote most of their energy to attracting—is the person who wants a dependable car at an economical price. The more precisely you can define who your ideal customer is, the more accurately you can tailor your message to attract them. So now that you’ve defined what you do, take a few minutes, right now, and define who you do it for.
  3. Define why you do it. “I do it for the money,” you say. Okay, now you’re getting on my nerves. “For the money” is not only one of the worst reasons to do anything, it’s not even a real reason. It’s kind of like defining what you do. “Money” isn’t what you’re looking for. “Money” is like “selling furniture” or “driving a cab” or “running a restaurant.” It’s a means to an end, but it isn’t (or at least, shouldn’t be) the end. The Beatles didn’t play music for the money. Sure, the money was great, but they were playing music well before they made any real money at it. No, they played music because they loved rock and roll; they were passionate about it. I don’t speak for the money. I speak because I love going to new places, meeting new people, helping them change their attitudes and improve their business; I also love being on stage making people laugh and think. I’m passionate about what I do. The money is icing on the cake. So why is this important for you? Because the clearer you are about why you do what you do, the more motivated you’ll be to continue doing it, and to do it better than you ever have before. So take a few minutes, right now, and define why you really do what you do.

You can do all three of these things in just a few minutes, but the impact on your business can be long-lasting and life-changing. Kind of like peeling the cataracts away and seeing the world with a sparkling new vision.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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