WHY WORKING HARDER WON’T ‘GROW’ YOUR BUSINESS (the illusion of progress)
One of the most common mistakes 80% of my clients make is the belief that by working harder their business will GROW. In other words, that by staring at their laptop for 3 more hours every evening, working weekends and reading 5 books a month their sales and profits will increase.
When you equate ‘success’ with ‘working harder’, you’re forgetting that doing the WRONG things more often and with more fervour will have the equal opposite effect. It is not HOW MUCH you do or HOW HARD you work, if you are not doing the right things you will not get the outcome you want. INSTEAD you will be FRUSTRATED, STUCK and MOVING AWAY from your goals.
The truth is, rather than using all your energy convincing yourself you’re working harder than ever in order to succeed and that sales and profits are ‘bound to rise if I just keep going and reach BURN OUT’, YOU NEED to focus on WHAT YOU ARE DOING. It’s much easier to grow your business if you are focused on doing the right things and not how many hours you’ve worked and you’ll gain CLARITY AND TIME in the process.
Here are 3 areas, in my opinion, that you MUST GET RIGHT before you decide to ‘work harder’.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT MARKETS
You can spend all the TIME in the world selling to the marketplace but if you’re focusing on the wrong markets this is WASTED TIME. Would you spend 10 hours speaking Spanish to a Frenchman and ask for 10 hours more claiming he’ll understand you after 20? No. It’s the same with identifying the markets that you SHOULD be focusing on.
I get it – it can be scary to “FOCUS”, to narrow down your targets and make concrete decisions that have consequences. Many people choose the SCATTERGUN approach perhaps because then it’s harder to pinpoint what went wrong and why it’s not working. It’s also easier to get away with not knowing your customer… more on that later (you’re not getting away with anything, you’re just missing opportunities). But what I’ve seen is those businesses that FOCUS on a SELECT GROUP of markets which FIT their VALUE PROPOSITION…this is to say there is great alignment between what customers in these markets WANT and what you CAN PROVIDE…will achieve far greater results than those who opt for the scattergun approach, targeting everyone and focusing on no one.
You need to have a system for choosing YOUR MARKETS and that leads me to the next thing…
2. UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS (don’t guess. What do they really want?)
If you don’t take the time to understand your customers – ‘What do my customers really want?, What are we doing for the customer?, What value are we promising to deliver should they choose to buy our product or service?’ – your products and services will eventually become redundant or be replaced by competitive alternatives. Products and services will change, what remains is your CUSTOMERS’ WANTS AND NEEDS.
If you fail this step, you’ll find yourself constantly BEHIND, CONFUSED, OUTSOLD and cancelling holidays because, at the end of the day, the only one able to get customers and make money is YOU.
Without customers it doesn’t matter how many products you have or how fancy your office is – “you are in business because you have a customer” – Levitt
3. DEFINE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION
Do you understand the value you provide? And more importantly DO YOUR CUSTOMERS SEE YOUR OFFERING AS A VALUE TO THEM?
This ties into the 2 points above. If you visualise, design and test how you create value for your customers (what resonates with them), you can achieve FIT… a clear connection between what matters to customers and how YOU, your products and services can deliver this.
Here’s the thing, you know you want to grow and you’re trying really hard, but the key is knowing WHAT TO DO not just DOING MORE. With this comes satisfaction, more free time and more money.
Keep going and let me know if this resonated with you!