[034] How to start a new growth curve for your business

Why it’s important to love your business

Spring makes me feel like there is so much potential! This time of year is so re-energising, and I am feeling re-energised about business! I wanted to leverage that energy, and think about what I want to achieve throughout the rest of 2019: things to change, build, and tweak. I wanted to inject some extra clarity, purpose, and action behind my business plans for the rest of this year. So I used my simple, effective and enjoyable process to start a new growth curve for my business, which I am sharing with you here in this article and the vlog you can see here.

This is the actual process I used to create the concept, content and implementation plan for my new Idea Time Membership, which is coming very soon. You can check it out and join the waiting list to be one of the first to hear more details here.

Step 1 – Get out and about

Step 1 is to get away from where you normally work, and gain a perspective from a different environment. If you can, have a walk before you start the process. We know from various studies, that walking clears the brain, walking genuinely helps with your creativity, and it is really good to be in a relaxed and refreshed state when you start to think about these things. I went to Greenhow, in Yorkshire, and found the most amazing café, with stunning views.

Step 2 – “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if…”

Grab your journal and a pen and complete this statement as many times as you can for what you want for the future of your business:

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if …”

It is a really good question to think about because, by responding to the statement “wouldn’t it be fantastic if ….”,  you are opening your mind to possibilities, and giving your brain permission to go and think beyond what you are doing today. Make sure that you focus on things that you can actually control or directly influence.

When I did this activity earlier this month the key things that jumped out at me were:

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could share the resources I use in my management consulting, live events and coaching practice with even more entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could create some space, where everybody could, for a really accessible amount of money, get those resources, and use them at the time that best suits them.”

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if more people could have access to me on tap, whenever they need it. So if they have got a challenge, or a great opportunity, or a difficult situation, or whatever it is, they can pick up the phone, or drop me an e-mail. I will be on hand to help them troubleshoot, or make the most of the opportunity that is at hand.”

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if clients had the opportunity to have some sessions with me as and when they need them.”

It is a really good question to think about because, by responding to the statement “wouldn’t it be fantastic if ….”,  you are opening your mind to possibilities, and giving your brain permission to go and think beyond what you are doing today. Make sure that you focus on things that you can actually control or directly influence.

I currently work with my clients on on-going coaching programmes and executive development events. I also directly deliver big strategic projects with businesses large and small to help them grow. These are  the big ticket items I provide, at a higher cost. So I also thought:

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could also create an additional offer that is more accessible and affordable, that clients can access as and when they need to.” 

Step 3 – Identify your top priority for action

When you have completed your “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if …” activity, review all your statements and consolidate them to formulate your number one priority, i.e. the activity that is going to make the biggest difference to your business.

Focusing on one thing is much better than trying to do several of things all at once, especially when you are already busy with your other business activities and priorities.

Consolidating my statements led me to my final insight, which was this:

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I had an Idea Time Membership, where people could get access to all my resources, and access to me, easily and super-affordably.”

Step 4 – Create your ideal customer avatar

Think about your ideal customer, and create an avatar, or persona, for that customer. This means writing down and being really clear about aspects such as:

  • Who they are (think of real people you know, if possible)
  • Where they live
  • How old they are
  • The sorts of things they are interested in

These “demographic” factors  are essential for informing and targeting your advertising and marketing.

Also identify your ideal customer’s aspirations and pain points, and write them down too. For inspiration think about the sorts of questions that your customers ask you, and the things they ask for help with. Use these insights to build your new proposition or product and service developments. This approach will make sure that your new business activities are a success, because they have your customers at the very heart of them.

Step 5 – Work out what’s stopping you, and what to do about it

The items that I wrote down on my “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if… ‘ list weren’t all completely new. Several of them had been bubbling around in the back of my mind, and crystallised themselves when I got them out on paper.

The next question I asked myself, and would suggest you ask yourself too, is: “What is stopping me?”.

“What is stopping me?” is a really important question. Do write down the answers to this. Don’t just try and work it out in your head. You can then create a solution for each of those things that is realistic and practical for you to overcome.

For instance, I asked, “What is stopping me? Why haven’t I launched the membership concept before now? What has been getting in the way?”.  My number one challenge has been time. I have a busy, full time job as a management consultant, executive coach, conference speaker and facilitator. I travel. I am always designing content. I’m also meeting with people all the time. I absolutely love what I do, but it is time consuming. To overcome that challenge I have written a list of tasks that need to be done to get me from where I am now to launching a successful membership site.

Step 6 – Create a power list

Sorting your tasks into time categories

Step 6 is to create a power list.  I have divided the Idea Time Membership tasks into actions I complete in 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, half a day or a full day. I keep that list with me all the time. This means that if I am sitting in an airport lounge, or on a train, or I I have some spare time unexpectedly (for instance, if a client is running late), I can get my list out, and I can get something done with the time I have available.

My strategy is to not have to carve out huge chunks of time, but to break my projects down into smaller items and then create ongoing momentum, making progress towards my aspirations every day.It works really well for me, and I know it works well for my clients too.

Dealing with tasks you don’t know how to or don’t want to do

The other thing that has been stopping me from progressing my Idea Time Membership is that I don’t know how to do some of the things that are needed to set it up. For example, I don’t know how to code or add different membership plug-ins to my core website. I have an overall understanding, but I don’t feel confident enough to do these things myself.

Write a list of the tasks that you don’t know how to do, or don’t want to do. Then, find a “dream team” of virtual experts who can really help you achieve your goals by taking on some of these tasks. Make a plan to learn how to do the really important ad value-adding items yourself, if that’s a good use of your time.

I have also developed a really wide, strong, supportive and multi-talented business network. We have each other, using our individual skills. If you haven’t seen it yet, have a look at my blog and vlog How business networking can help you and your small business, and how to improve your networking skills.

Putting it all together

So, give your business a boost this spring. Start a new growth curve for your company, using these simple steps:

  1. Take some time out, go for a walk, clear your head. Go somewhere different, get out of the office, preferably outside.
  2. Get your journal out. Write down all the things you want to do using the “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if…?”
  3. Focus on the key theme that will make the number one biggest difference to you and your business.
  4. Create your ideal customer avatar, and pinpoint how your new ideas will provide some really great service and value to your customers.
  5. Identify what has been preventing you from from taking action up to now. Find some pragmatic, realistic, doable solutions for each of the things that have been stopping you.
  6. Create a power list, with timings.
  7. Crack on, and keep the momentum going.

I would absolutely love to hear about what your goals are for the rest of this year and how you are getting on with them. So either e-mail me at jo@ideatime.co.uk, or leave a comment below. I promise I will answer all the comments, and all the e-mails I receive. And if you’d like to learn more about my membership, you can check it out and join the waiting list here at www.ideatime.co.uk/membership.

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