You’ve been refining your craft for a while now, but your business-traction is stalled. Your wheels are spinning with endless ideas, but none grab the pavement. Your enthusiastic pursuit of self-improvement and craft-refinement bring consistent personal fulfillment, but fail to create forward momentum toward your financial and leadership goals. It feels like you work 24/7, yet your cash flow is inconsistent and unpredictable. “Frustrated” is an understatement.
Over the past two enlightening decades, I’ve counseled and coached hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs like this one. I’ve taken utmost advantage of learning from this large sample of real-world entrepreneurs, and I’ve come to understand, without a doubt, what is absolutely essential for a business to continue gaining ground in the direction of success.
Part of my own business craft – and one of the things I love – is attuning my awareness to business engines that hum – that dependably move a business forward. At every opportunity, I look “under the hood” of organizations, and deconstruct their motors. I find certain mechanisms consistently present in engines with forward momentum, and the same mechanisms absent in stalled chassis. I analyze the specific mechanical effects of these essential causes, as well as their interactive causes and effects, and so gain a clear understanding of the suite of motor works required to propel any business forward.
I then employ two other aspects of my business craft that I love: sharing these insights with my clients, and supporting them in their efforts to install the same linchpins within their own business engines. In the spirit of that supportive impulse, I’d like to share with you the eight “grips” I’ve identified, time and again, as essential to an enterprise continually gaining traction on the road to progress….
- Focus. One turn at a time.
First thing’s first. Focus your efforts on the next most important goal. Accomplish things efficiently and effectively by doing them one at a time. Instead of splitting your energy outward, steer your horsepower in one direction. This is the secret to establishing traction – sparking movement – and maintaining forward momentum. At each turn, your next priority will naturally roll into view, and the full force of your attention will be available and so become aware of what’s next.
- Plan. Look where you’re going. Pre-pave.
Define your big-picture goal; then lay the pavement, back from that destination, to your current location. Map out the specific route, and determine exactly what its layout means for your journey. Time, tools, investments, steps… –Familiarize yourself with proven navigation, and what it means in your landscape, and for your path, specifically.
- Action. Press the gas. Move. …And continue moving.
You would like to move forward, and you now understand how to do so. Make sure, then, to take that action! Follow through on strategy by taking the necessary steps to implement ideas and build your business. …But, don’t aim for a single, sizable, “perfect” action; instead, remember the law of compound effect: when we take a series of smaller, consistent (imperfect) steps, over a longer period, we effectively carve a new road; we cause a sustainable, significant effect. This subtle but consistent movement is, counterintuitively, how real trail-blazing happens; this is what successful business leaders do.
- Skill. Be an expert driver.
Master your driving role. The art and science of marketing and sales is the lifeblood of high-functioning organizations, and fundamental to attracting clients, increasing profitability, and growing a robust business. Embrace the interesting, counter-intuitive nature of effective sales and marketing, and you’ll find yourself embracing continual personal and organizational growth. Embody the fully legitimate business-owner you are.
- Positioning. Know your vehicle.
Brand your entity effectively – clearly and with impact. This is crucial to differentiating your brand, attracting qualified buyers, and encouraging them through your marketing communications to becoming customers.
- Self-Talk. Invite fresh air and light into your interior.
Keep your headspace lucid and bright. Clear your vantage of negative self-talk and other self-defeating, mental habits that unnecessarily encumber your path. To reach your highest potential as a business leader, you must learn that what you once saw as “bumps in the road” were only mirages created by well-intentioned but, ultimately, unskillful views.
- Attitude. Keep your interest fueled and forward-looking.
Continuously and clearly see the beauty and wonder of your landscape. Cultivate an inspired attitude that consistently charts success; understand and regulate emotions; and adopt nurturing beliefs about your situation. Be aware that growing your business is an expansive path that will continually invite the courageous, like yourself, to off-road into unknown territory in order to recreate relevance and value in the marketplace. See everything you encounter – fear, procrastination, failure, embarrassment – as an invitation to grow as a person and business leader. Stay open-hearted and curious, and continue to learn from, and be inspired by, your business-creating journey.
- Invest. Tend to your tool-chest and tools.
Continuously invest in your own success. Hire a business mentor or a coach, and find a peer mastermind group. Put some skin in the game, take risks, and go all in. Invest your money, time and resources in your personal development and business growth. These are must-do’s to keep you engaged and flourishing.
I hope these eight get-a-grip essentials to business-traction have provided some refreshing insight to any of you who are struggling to propel or continue to drive your businesses forward!
To your success,
p.s. To get more tips for creating consistent cash flow, predictable results, and double (or even triple!) your revenue – with much less effort – grab my resource guide: Fast Path to Cash!