How Much Formula Does A 12 Month Old Need Thinking About More Business

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Thinking About More Business

What does the old Russian joke have to do with finding a new business?

Have you grown your business in the last 12 months? Don’t discriminate between high-volume new customers or high-spending old customers — count the increase either way. If you haven’t, you should ask yourself why not.

Yes, I know — it all started with the Internet. Then there was the terrorist attack. Next, the global recession. And then there was a war that threatened to disrupt the world’s political systems for peace and harmony. Who knows what’s next, but the truth is, none of these “catastrophic events” really matter.

How can I say such a thing? Because for most of us, a lot of customers or a few extra transactions can turn an average year into a great one. And major level injuries and changes don’t significantly affect our ability to land the next client or make the next deal. The only place that matters is in your head, but — good or bad — what’s going on in your head strongly affects what’s going on in your business.

Yefim, a Latvian who worked for me years ago told a joke (if you can call it that) from the old Soviet Union. He said, “What’s the difference between America and Russia?” “Americans expect things to get better, and Russia hopes it won’t be difficult.” Well, after a year or two of poor, even bad, business, you’ll probably be like Russia: not sure things will ever get better. And you ask if you can spend any resources to do anything about it.

When you believe the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, not taking steps to improve your business seems natural. You expect customers and prospects to say no to your best offer. After a while you just stop trying.

Most entrepreneurial thinking begins with the assumption that such a thing is possible — no, it is possible — but if you’ve read this far you might be a believer. And if you think expanding your business is possible — even if it’s on the evening news — then it’s time to get busy. No more excuses. Not the weather. Not the season–I don’t care if it’s Summer or Christmas or Ramadan. Not even the economy.

So what is the good news? In 1966, Richard Farina wrote the book “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.” Do you feel that way? Good, because making a difference will be easy. You have been sleeping for a long time, any improvement will look amazing.

Here’s the secret.

There are only three ways to grow your business: you can get new customers, you can get your customers to buy from you more often, and you can have customers–old and new–buying more each time.

“You mean it is?”

Listen carefully, little one. This little formula can give you great insight into how to approach your business right away—if you let it. Need help? Answer the following questions.

What methods are you currently using to get new customers? Go ahead — make a list, even if it’s just in your head. Do those methods work? (No—probably not, or you wouldn’t be reading this.) Are they the same ones you used last year? (Shame on you – they weren’t working last year, why should they be working better now?)

What new products or services have you introduced in the last six months to help your current clients? (You haven’t– nobody is spending any money.) Of course not, they already have all the things you’re selling that they think they need.

What new combination of products, or products and services, or subscriptions, or renewable services, or… It boggles the mind how many ways to increase the value of each individual purchase. How many of these new offers have you made to your prospects and clients in the past six months? (I won’t even wait for your answer.)

If you meditate on each of these questions like a Zen Koan — you’re sure to come up with at least two — and maybe more — new ways to grow your business.

Well, these aren’t the only things you can do, but they’re a good start.

Can’t come up with ideas? Let your customers do the work for you — after all, it’s up to them. Do some research — call 10 or 20 and find out what they want from you that they’re not getting. Even better – use one of the online survey tools like surveymonkey.com or zoomerang.com.

While you’re at it, you might want to make sure your core product still makes sense. After all, consumers aren’t buying as much as they used to. That means a few things — whether you’re doing a bad job telling people why they want it, or they don’t.

Both of these problems can be fixed, but it is important to make sure that you are fixing the best one. If you adjust your ad and tell people about something no one really wants you’re just wasting money. On the other hand, if your products are good in the market, but you don’t communicate well – you may end up changing your products unnecessarily.

I hope you understand from this simple exercise how easy it is to quickly start generating a new and growing business. Ask yourself the right questions and make the right answers. After all, that’s what thinking is.

Then take those thoughts and put them into action.

–PL

© Paul Lemberg. All rights reserved

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