6 Super-Simple Practices to Immediately Simplify and Strengthen Your Business

February 21, 2012

Plane taking off

Want your business to grow? Want your LIFE to grow? Try these:

1. Burn the boats. If you land on an island and command your squad to start fighting the natives, what’s the surest way to gaurantee that you win? Burn the boats.

Put yourself into a situation where there’s no turning back. That way you HAVE to succeed. No matter what. Figure out what that means for you and your situation. If you allow yourself a fallback, what motivation do you truly have to push and be creative and make success happen? If you don’t have a fallback, if you’ve burned the boats, your mindset about being successful switches from something like “It would be nice if this works” to “It has to work, it will, it must.” Don’t underestimate how powerful that can be.

2. Ask a question. Looking for a new client for your consulting business? Send an email to ten of your closest, most professional friends and ask them if they know anyone who could use your assistance. Better yet, pick up the phone to call them instead. Not sure if you can figure out how to set-up your ebook shopping cart on your website? Post a tweet and ask if anyone else does. Looking for customers to buy your vitamin supplement? Ask, ask, ask. You won’t know until you do. And until you do, you’re just sitting around thinking about being in business. Which brings me to…

3. Know your exact intentions. Say you’re building a network marketing business. What’s your goal? I mean, your number-one, most preferred, perfect world intention? Probably looking for one or two other people to do exactly what you’re doing. Right? Although wonderful and necessary to business, your top intention probably isn’t to find a new customer who places a one-time order, or to find a distributor who is only halfway interested in sharing the product with one person over the course of the calendar year.

Love and support all your clients/customers/team members where they are, but be honest with yourself about what, or who you are really looking for. The clarity and confidence it will provide you in moving forward and simplifying your business will be worth it.

4. State your exact intentions. It’s not enough to simply know what they are. People in my Vemma business come to me all the time saying that they can’t find anyone open to building a business like they are. They’re struggling to duplicate themselves. “Are you actually ASKING people if they’re open to building a business like you are?” I inquire. The response is almost always, “Oh, hmm, not really.”

If you want it. Ask for it. Put it out there. Because how are you supposed to, say, attract and sign that perfect legal practice that wants the year-long social media consulting package that you’re offering if you don’t specifically ask them to hire you for a year-long social media consulting package? How are you supposed to nab that monthly column in the fashion magazine if you just send them your portfolio without a specific request for the monthly column job? The answer: you won’t. Practically never. People can’t read your mind, and rarely is what you exactly want handed to you without asking. Ask, and you’d be surprised how often you receive.

5. Know where you’re going. You have heard this one before. The late nights spent sending a few extra emails, picking up the phone to make those uncomfortable phone calls, rearranging your childcare to attend the networking event. None of that will happen, or you will quickly tire of it, if you don’t have an exact definition of where all of it will take you. And exact means EXACT.

“Any extra money I earn will help my family pay off our credit card debt.” Not clear enough.

“The first $500 I earn will go towards paying off my Banana Republic card. After that, all extra will go towards my $9500 in student loans.” Perfect.

Earning your first $50 might not seem like a big deal when compared with the looming destination of “paying off my credit card debt,” but when you measure it up against your first destination of a $500 store card balance, you can see the impact. Know exactly where you are going and the intention you have for what you’re doing, and make it easier on yourself to stay motivated and celebrate the impact of the little victories.

Right after Christmas, Hubz and I set a quirky little goal that required us to come up with $6000 in extra in just 4 months. We wrote our $6000 countdown on the white board in the office and every extra tidbit that we can nab – a freelance writing check here, selling a couple pieces of furniture from the dusty corner in the basement there, extra added to our savings after a pay period, etc – we record and subtract from the total. Now, we’re not rich by any means but we enjoy our lifestyle, and we have never appreciated an extra $50 or $100 more than we do right now. Before, it was just money. Now, it’s a specific step towards this destination. We didn’t change our spending habits nor our lifestyle, just defined our destination. It feels like that $6000 is appearing out of thin air. Really powerful.

6. Open your mind. Learn something new. The biggest step in personal development isn’t actually learning something new, it’s acknowledging the fact that you don’t know everything and that you COULD learn something new.

There are a few people in my life – whom I love dearly, don’t get me wrong – but who read a finance book or a business book or a nutrition book, close the back cover, and then declare, “It was an ok book, but I knew all of that stuff already.” You did? Really? You might as well have spent those last four hours watching Mad Men, because you surely didn’t get any use out of reading something when you weren’t in a mindset to learn.

Open your mind to the possibility that you can always – always always always – be better and stronger and smarter and kinder, and you will migrate towards ways to make that happen. Whether it be through reading a book or meeting a mentor or attending an event of likeminded people. Automatically.

Same thing, super-short version:

1. Make success a requirement, not an option.
2. Ask for what you want.
3. Be honest about your intentions.
4. Announce your intentions to others.
5. Know the exact path you are on.
6. Acknowledge what you don’t know, and how you can grow.

Practices. Practice them. They’re easy to do, they’re easy not to do. It’s your choice. Can’t wait to see you put them into action.

Previous post:

Next post: