Very often, when you want to grow your business, you may start with looking at the viral YouTube videos that tell you of the latest business idea that can take your business to 7 figures in 7 days.
There’s a catch though.
You need to pay them $7000 to start the course with them.
Sure does, at least for me.
I used to be the person who was connecting my TV to my laptop via AirPlay and then binge -watching, nope, not Netflix serials, but online courses.
How to set up your online business.
How to start your online course.
You get the idea.
Except that the business never started.
What changed for me was the day I left my job, and realised that I needed to earn money, or end up eating grass for the rest of my life.
In October 2021, I pulled the trigger. I left my job, and not being able to find another job, fell accidentally, headfirst into running a business.
And accidentally grew my business.
The myth about growing your business, 1% a day
I never knew what I was doing, until I saw Shane Melaugh’s video.
In his video, he shares about how the common misconception is that all we need to do is to focus on one thing, and grow 1% everyday, propagated by the likes of James Clear.
If you think about it this way, that meant that you would focus on something like making your skill in communication better by 1% everyday. Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, shouldn’t you just focus on one thing at a time?
Yes, that’s true. And that’s what I did for a long time.
Between Mar 2021 to Apr 2021, I focused on Challenge 44, a challenge where I put out one video a day, regardless of how good, or bad, it was. It was supposed to improve my communication skills.
But that didn’t necessarily get me anywhere. In fact, my business actually didn’t grow… at all. No matter how hard I tried to communicate better.
I still struggled to get more clients.
Fast forward to December 2022. And over the past 3 months, we’ve booked more revenue, than we have for the previous 6.
Taking a holistic look at business skills
It was systematically working on the whole spectrum of business skills, rather than looking at them in silos.
When we start a business, we might look for the day when we can finally breakthrough. We long for the day when the phone is vibrating over and over again, with order confirmation after confirmation coming through.
Or you hope to have so much work coming through your email that you can’t deal with it…
We live for those days.
But when you’re in business, the reality is that the payment systems you were agonising over, Stripe or Paypal, Sendowl or ThriveCart, all that didn’t really matter. After all, you didn’t get more than 2 orders per month.
Maybe that’s just me.
One of the first things that changed eventually for me was seeing the importance of working at every single of the 6 skills listed by Shane, as shown below.
If you look at these skills as a scale, then you would see that whilst you may not be at the max level at every single skill, you may see some aspects of yourself that are better than others.
It becomes a flywheel. Where each part reinforces the other.
How does this work out in real life?
For us, sales and marketing has been a key weakness. And it wasn’t until we saw our folks at Salesforce, during a series of sales calls that we did, that we realised how they were so deliberately tracking
- Every lead
- Every contact
- Every touchpoint
It gave us a great lesson on how to improve our own sales processes.
One thing you can do, right now, is to ask:
What am I great at? Why? What are the examples?
What am I not so good at? Why? What are the examples?
For those aspects that you’re not that great at, ask:
- What is one thing I could do that doesn’t take more than 10 minutes a day?
This helps you focus on the things that would move you towards your goal.
When we started deliberately tracking every single outreach and inbound connection, we realised that it led to better market awareness. Better product.
Better communication of what we did.
And each part just reinforced the other.
Building space to think
Running a business, is hard. Really hard.
You’re slammed on all fronts.
The worst part is coming to a point where you’re booking clients, or customers, and then realising you’ve no way to meet their needs.
Personally, it’s been so tiring, that you feel that you’re at this point that whenever you go home, you take a bath, lay on the bed, and realise you can no longer move.
The temptation in times like these is to work harder on the business.
Nope, it’s not.
It’s working less on the business.
It’s actually slowing down, and thinking.
One of my favourite moments today is the time when I sit on the bus, watch the scenery go by and just remember, that, hey, there’s no need to be productive on the way home.
No need to read a book.
Just need to sit and watch the world go by.
If you want to grow your business, this idea may sound countercultural, but build in time to think.
It may just make you more productive.
In the book ‘Deep Work’, Cal Newport argued that fixed time productivity, where one actually fixes the hours they work, makes one more productive.
It does, because you no longer let work dictate time, but you let time dictate work. You work to hit the deadline.
Ever realised why deadlines work? Because it’s dead set in stone. No discussion.
You hit it, or you fail.
That’s a perfect metaphor for growing a business too.
Don’t worry about coming up with the next kickass idea.
Just one step at a time, one day at a time, and you’ll get there.