Let's live in a world where we’re all going to run a marathon next year.
(marathon runners don’t come for me, I’ve been you before, all the respect to you).
But let’s live in that world for a minute because I have a question for you:
If you are going to run a marathon next year, how are you going to train?
You have 2 options:
This is not a perfect example of training plans, I know that, but humor me and choose.
If you have to run a marathon next year and these are your only 2 choices, how are you training? A or B?
I’m guessing (hoping) all of you chose B.
Which is correct and wildly obvious: Option A is a great option to win a 100m race; Option B is a great option to win a marathon.
But Option B is a terrible option to win a 100m...
I’ve got a assignment for you:
What about your business, your market, your value is not going to change in the next 10 years?
Good question, right?
I can’t take credit for it. It’s from Jeff Bezos. (I know, I know… I have all the thoughts on him too. But this question - it’s one worth paying attention to.
Here’s his full quote:
“I very frequently get the question ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ That’s a very interesting question.
I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two.
You can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”
He goes on, but I’m going to cut him off right here because this is the point I want you to take away.
I cannot last 3 minutes lately without hearing about all the doom and gloom about to come our...
If you ever happen to come to my house for dinner you’ll discover I approach my cooking in 1 of 2 ways:
I’m either emptying the cupboards and fridge and figuring out how to piece it all together or I’ve meticulously shopped for and prepared a very specific recipe.
The difference between the two is worth looking at.
In the case of the former, when I’m piecing together a meal out of what’s already in the house, the results aren’t bad. I’m a good cook, I can make it work.
Are the results award-winning?
No. But you’re still going to get an edible meal out of me.
But in the case of the latter, when I’ve managed to meticulously prepare for a specific recipe, the results are very different.
One might even suggest award winning (they’re not - at least so far - but we can suggest it ;)
The results are noticeably better than the results when I’m winging it.
Obviously we can draw parallels between this and...
I’m sure you’ve heard the scary stat that 50% of small businesses don’t make it past year 5. That’s terrible.
You know what’s more terrible? That 50% tipping doesn’t happen until year 5, which means there are a whole lot of entrepreneurs and business owners struggling through those first 5 years. A whole lot more than the 50% who ultimately close up shop.
Yet the reason for the struggle isn’t that those business owners don’t know what to do. Goodness knows there is no shortage of information out there teaching and telling exactly what to do.
But there's the rub: There is so. much. information out there that the point gets missed: the conversation becomes what information is good and what’s bad instead of whether the information is the important thing or not.
Because guess what? It’s not about the information. If it was about the information, businesses wouldn’t be able to get to year 5. But they do....
I used to work on retainer, helping direct strategy for some of the internet’s biggest brands.
Until it didn’t.
Until I noticed a growing sense of unease over whether I was helping.
On the surface of course I was helping. By and large the businesses I partnered with were growing and models were aligning and profit was increasing and all was good in the world.
But underneath the surface it wasn’t as rosy. I know how to grow businesses, and the entrepreneurs I was helping hadn’t had that experience before, so they were ceding decision making to me.
But it doesn’t work (can’t work) that way, and by making their decisions, I was hurting the same businesses I was trying to hard to help.
Because I was allowing the CEO’s to stay in their comfort zones
Because my presence meant they weren’t facing the real emotional choices + hurdles only they could face
And so I stopped offering retainers.
Now I guide, show and teach but don’t...
Let’s talk about 2 things that happen when you put intention around your business connections - what happens when you stop being fine with whoever happens to show up and instead get clear on who you want to be connected to:
1. You’re never left feeling weird or uncomfortable or awkward when someone asks you to do something that is exactly the opposite of what you want to do.
We’ve all been there: Someone reaches out and you get all excited. But when they send you the pitch it’s...not so exciting.
Maybe it looks a whole lot like spam. Maybe it looks like a desperate attempt to grab your list. Maybe it looks like a big waste of time.
You can stop that from happening. You can build a world of people around you who would never suggest an idea you weren’t into because they’d never be into it either.
2. You get to choose where you put your body. Right now a lot of us are looking around realizing how not diverse our worlds are, and wondering how that...
I talk a lot about intentionally building relationships and connection and keeping it a consistent priority if you want to keep consistent income flowing in your business.
I also talk a lot about how that intentional word is the most important one, because when you’re not intentional about the relationships you’re creating, this is going to happen:
The people you meet and the people you build relationships with will be random. Maybe there will be some good fits, even great, maybe they’ll all be terrible fits and most likely a whole bunch of them will be ‘fine’ fits.
Fine is not great. Fine is passive. Fine is time-wasting. Fine is saying you’re fine with good enough.
Here’s the problem with good enough: Whether you sell by funnels or 1:1 or through your podcast or whatever method you use to reach your clients and customers, I’m betting relationships are at the core.
You may not realize it at first, but think about it.
Sign up for my weekly riffs on what it takes to design tiny companies that last.