Let’s not mince words here. Starting a new business for the very first time can be fairly overwhelming. If you’ve never owned a business before, it can feel like you suddenly have to take on a multitude of roles, none of which you feel adequately prepared for. From finance and admin to web design and marketing and that’s just the business side, before we even think about the creation and delivery of our actual products and services.
Pile on to this the abundance of less than helpful business advice that litters every corner of the Internet these days and you can quite easily find yourself in deep water, suffering from cramp in both legs and without a proverbial float.
As you might imagine, this results in panic.
And when people feel panicked they will try just about anything they can to survive. Because here’s the thing. Most new business owners risked everything to take the leap, sometimes against the advice of loved ones and often left with a feeling they need to prove something to themselves or to others. The need to make this thing work can at times be blinding.
I believe that it’s for this reason that I see so many new (and sometimes even seasoned) business owners spinning their wheels on business activities that are only getting them more stuck and fast at the same time as getting in the way of them doing the one thing that could move them forward.
Before I share the one thing let’s look at a few examples of what I’m talking about.
Building the perfect website.
I can’t launch my business, reach out to new clients or network just yet because my website isn’t ready.
Sound familiar? I’ve witnessed countless business owners spend days, weeks and months tinkering with their website before they’ll actually put themselves out there and start actually serving their people. Websites are great, I’m not knocking them but they are not your business. Some of us may even be old enough to remember a world before the Internet existed. How did businesses make money then?
Crafting the perfect niche and/or client avatar
I’ve spoken to many online business owners who are actively struggling with these two and they often tie in nicely with number 1 which goes something like this. I can’t finish my website because I haven’t completed my client avatar and/or chosen my niche. How’s that for tying yourself up in a nice, pretty bow of procrastination?
Have you ever considered that you’re struggling to define your ideal client and niche because you haven’t yet worked with enough people for that to have become clear yet?
Mastering social media
A brilliant place to procrastinate and avoid the real work of your business is on social media. I’ve seen so many people while away the hours and tie themselves in knots trying to beat an algorithm or execute a punishing social media strategy that involves posting, pinning and/or tweeting 10-20 times a day.
If I get over XXXX followers, I’ll only need to convert X% of those to buyers to make more than enough to live on.
It’s a hamster wheel and there is another way.
I know that some of you may be feeling a bit confused by what you’ve read so far. Surely having a solid and well optimised website, a clearly defined ideal client and niche and a consistent presence on social media are worthy goals to be working towards?
Well yes and no.
All of these activities are aimed at achieving one extremely important thing.
Making a deep enough connection to another human being that they trust you enough to buy from you. But, and here is the central point I’m trying to make here, these strategies take you all around the houses, when instead, you could so easily just hop, skip and jump across the village green and be exactly where you want to be in a heartbeat.
I’d like to make the case that these strategies can (if you let them) actually prevent you from doing the most important thing.
They stop you from slowing down enough to create the space to connect with just one person. And when I say connect I mean really connect, deeply and directly. As opposed to trying to talk to anyone and everyone through a cleverly crafted social media post.
Let me put this another way. Which of these two strategies feels like a more effective (as well as authentic and meaningful) use of your time?
- Spending 6 months posting inspirational quotes on your FB Business page in the hope that one day you’ll have enough people following you that you start to make some sales.
- Reaching out to that one person who keeps crossing your mind, who you know your product or service could help, and saying: Hey fancy having a conversation about how I might be able to support you with that thing you’re struggling with?
If you chose number one, I’m probably not someone whose business advice you want to take note of.
Can you see the paradox at play here?
The simplest way to grow your business is often to talk to just one person and to do so directly. At the same time this also can feel like the hardest thing to do, so instead we spend all of our time trying to talk to thousands.
So let me leave you with this piece of homework because I believe that if you could do one thing today that would further your business the fastest, it would be this.
First of all, sit down and write down the names of 10 people who you would love to work with and who you believe you can help with your product or service. Secondly, reach out to them directly, be of service. deepen the relationship, offer your help, have a conversation.
Trust me when I tell you that the time spent deepening the relationship with those 10 people is worth a heck of a lot more than the 10 hours you could spend pinning instead and it feels so much better.
I’d love to know if you can relate to what I’ve shared here. Let me know in the comments below what comes up for you as you read this post. If you know anyone who would benefit from reading this post, then feel free to share it and if you feel called to, join my mailing here to receive my weekly soulful strategies on all things business.
REGISTER FOR THE BUSINESS OF COACHING WORKSHOP
If you are a coach, keen to master the art of connection, then you may want to consider registering for the 3-part Workshop Series, I’m co-hosting this October with fellow coach, Helen McLaughlin. To read all about it click here or on the image below.