Now, you might be thinking that this is a very strange question for me to be asking you, and to be honest I would have thought the same when I worked in a soul-less corporate job many years ago. But now that I have been self-employed for over 13 years this question is just as much a part of my business planning and measurement as my profits and customer testimonials. In fact, it drives everything that I do in my business.
So, instead of my normal WG techie post, today I am going to share my annual New Year business ritual and the tool that I use to keep myself on track for what I want to achieve for the coming 12 months.
If you’re used to simply setting business goals in terms of profits and growth then you may be wondering why I’ve gone all ‘woo woo’ on you. But stick with me for a bit because I promise that the profits and growth will follow if you actually take some time out to think about WHY you do what you do and tweak your business to reflect that. This is how those big businesses that we all love (or love to hate) are so successful – Apple, Virgin, Innocent – they don’t make different products and sometimes they don’t even make the best products, but they are selling a FEELING that we just can’t get enough of…
And, with the new year almost upon us it’s the perfect time to try something new. We often set unrealistic resolutions at this time of year and then promptly break them throughout January and completely forget them by February (I too used to be one of these people) so why not see if you can do better for 2017?
New tools for the New Year
A few years ago I discovered a book called The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte and then Start with Why by Simon Sinek (inspired by his fantastic TED Talk). The thinking within these books isn’t new, but it’s something we seem to have forgotten when it comes to running our businesses and living our lives.
“You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling”. ~ Danielle LaPorte
This quote pretty much sums the whole problem up for me. We are so busy chasing external goals that we lose sight of why we started our own businesses in the first place! To feel free, to feel powerful, to feel relaxed, to feel balanced, to feel important – however you wanted to feel when you became your own boss.
It’s a matter of not losing that feeling just because your business is growing. It still needs to have your essence – otherwise it’s not you.
Knowing how I want to feel in my business is super important and my core value is being authentic. If someone wants me to change and become someone I’m not or work on a project that feels icky to me, then I know it’s not the right client or project. If I ignore that feeling then I’ve learned that it usually comes back to bite me! So if I keep my feeling of ‘authentic’ at the core of everything I take on then I work to the best of my ability and I feel it every day – not just waiting for some day in the distant future.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”. ~ Simon Sinek
This is the other part to following your feelings in business. There is so much competition out there for all of us. I don’t sell unique services but I do have a unique skill set that no-one else has – you don’t find many web designer/crystal therapist/geologist/crochet addict/business mentor/geeks around!! So people buy from me because of my passion and personality rather than what I do. They feel that they can trust me and that often results in a cross over between my two businesses.
I do what I do because I love empowering people in small business.
How you can do it too
Take some time over the New Year to think about your business NOW. Not in 5 or 10 years but how it makes you feel TODAY. If it wears you out or makes you cringe then it’s time to make some serious changes.
You can do this process just by sitting on your own, or with your business partner if you have one, and asking yourself how you want your business to feel over the coming 12 months. If there are products or services you offer just because you think you ‘should’ but you don’t really like them, think about cutting them out so that you can focus on the ones that really make your heart sing. If you are doing what you love then you will inspire more clients because they will see how much passion and enthusiasm you have for what you do.
For example, if I set the intention that I will only take on clients that want to work with me the way that I work best, I ultimately end up with better results because I know that the websites I produce for them are a perfect fit. This in turn leads to more clients because my original clients are happy. However, if I take on every single client who comes to me even if I don’t think their website needs are something I can fully fulfill then I end up stressed, they end up unhappy and my business suffers.
You can also do some reading… Dive in to The Desire Map – either as a book available here on Amazon, or as a digital New Year program here on Danielle LaPorte’s website for only $25, or check out my NY workshop in Staffordshire as my alter-ego. And don’t forget to check out Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ here on Amazon.
And let me know if I can help – Empowering people in small business is my WHY!