We operate differently than most. There are business owners and then there is everybody else. Constantly calculating our own value and the value exchange of things in general–Service, Products, Quality, Time, Money, Energy etc. Striving for achievement or pushing for the next breakthrough with a certainty that the past doesn’t equal the future.
There is always more to be done and more directions to try. Somehow like a survivor the entrepreneur always squeezes by to the next level to the next day and to the next opportunity. As the grind goes on it gets easier it becomes the norm and it evolves as the rewards get bigger and your vision continues to expand you taste the truth of the game. Sometimes it tastes great.
Some see the finish line others just exploding from the starting blocks. The vision always exists wherever you’re positioned. Steadily hurdling the barriers. Steadily moving from past, to future and back to the present.
The great game of business continues on…
You must temporarily put on your customers shoes and walk around. View their perspective through their lens as objectively as possible to determine what their buying and research process looks like for your type of business.
Avoid getting sucked into the marketing trends of the moment because the same time tested strategies have been working for the past 100 years. The way people make buying decisions just hasn’t changed that much. They may spend time online as opposed reading the newspaper however while the media may change the fundamentals of your approach will not change as rapidly.
People buy for a multitude of reasons. Some rational and logical others emotional and impulsive. Some are driven by convenience and others by status however many people are driven by all these things at once or many of them.
While these motivations may seem complicated they present themselves and unfold in hierarchies that reflect the values of your customers. The values that they want, meaning what they deem important, and also the negative values or things that they don’t want and wish to avoid.
Considering your customers complex motivations gives you insight only when you can use it. You can align your strategy of what you’re looking to achieve with the values systems of your customers and trends begin to appear. When you identify a replicatable pattern in your strategy you have something that every business owner dreams of.
Each part of your business is operating like a link in a chain. Focus on the broken links first. Once they are fixed, focus on the weak links. Energy spent on links in your chain that are working fine will never result in as much of a leap forward as fixing broken links and then weak links.
When a link breaks there is a much larger physical reaction in your business then when a working link is strengthened. Find the broken links.
When your business is feeling pressure or constrained it’s typically because of one or two links…not the economy or the industry. You have to become a master at identifying the weak links and then either fixing them or completely replacing them. It’s the highest level of detective work and becomes much like an art form because unfortunately for us the links in the chain never tell us they’re broken. They merely signal us by failed outcomes so every pattern of failure is actually a signal to fix a link and every time you fix a link your business can now leap forward again.
Relationships are your number one asset in business. Business owners are accustomed to evaluating their assets in the format of dollars in and dollars out and the reality is that relationships, those with your employees, vendors, customers, business partners etc are challenging to quantify.
Your number one asset is challenging to quantify which is a major opportunity as well as a challenge. Viewing your business through a new lens can help. What if you looked at your business as a web of relationships?
Strengthen your relationships and you strengthen your business.
When you’re acquiring new customers you’re just starting new relationships and in order to generate customer retention and referrals you’re strengthening your current relationships. People are looking for Stability and Consistency + Variety and Something Different + A Feeling of Importance + Personal Connection + Value in Comparison with Other Similar Options + the Feeling of Trust.
A strong web of relationships automatically grows itself because people naturally reciprocate when their needs are being met in a relationship. Their needs are of the fundamentals to all relationships combined with the personal expectations that they bring to the context that you work with them in. In order to protect and grow your relationships you must learn to understand what level each person values these building blocks at and what their expectations are for you within the context of your relationship.