You don’t have to look very far to find someone proffering business advice – should do, must do, you can’t afford not to, type advice. It can be confusing, contradictory and overwhelming. Add to that, that the advice doesn’t always fit well with your own values, experiences and beliefs and it’s really no wonder you take no different action.
Instinct and trust are huge in business and they start as an inside job. Firstly, you need to trust yourself and your instincts; otherwise how can anyone else trust you? Secondly, you have to be honest about what you are prepared to do and what you are not prepared to. Adopting a should do, must do, approach to stuff that, deep down, you know you are never going to do is undermining and self sabotaging. If you are not prepared to do something, don’t kid yourself – you deserve better than that.
I’ve worked with 100’s of business owners over the last decade, and not surprisingly, I’ve identified some recurring challenges common to many of my clients. Challenges that had resulted in them not really making the difference or the money they wanted to make. What they did make a lot of was excuses!
Most people do what they know how to do, what they are comfortable with and what fits with what they believe, particularly when it comes to marketing and selling their product or service. I commonly hear things like “I don’t like hard selling” “I tried that once, it doesn’t work” or “I don’t want to spam my contacts with stuff”. Of course all of those things can be true, but what is more often happening is they are really saying “I don’t like that idea” “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if they don’t like me?”
Two things usually happen as a result
- Your ‘tribe’ don’t feel connected to you or loved and therefore don’t see your value, so don’t stick around.
- Your target market doesn’t know about you or what you can do to help them.
‘Doing business on your terms’ and ‘doing business your way’ are two entirely different concepts. The first is about what matters to you, your values, what you are prepared to do and what you won’t compromise on. The second is about ‘knowing best’, limiting your options and maintaining the status quo.
Typically, people operating in the second group don’t like to be challenged, they ‘know’ what works and what doesn’t, and are quite happy to stick with that, while at the same time complaining about their lack of results. Ok, maybe that’s the extreme version, but many of us dis or reject ideas and strategies that challenge us or make us feel vulnerable, simply because they are outside of our comfort zone. We do the same stuff and get the same results – if we are lucky!
The cycle doesn’t break until we make a conscious decision to change and follow it up with the right action.
I’m a firm believer in doing business on my terms, but not necessarily my way. Why? Because my ‘way’ is to some extent limited by what I already know, my own version of reality and what I currently conceive to be best. My ‘terms’, on the other hand are about what matters to me, my core values, what lines I won’t cross and what risks I’m prepared to take to succeed.
Why is this important? The bottom line is this, if something really matters to you, you will have a much deeper commitment to it. You are more likely to put yourself on the line to ensure it succeeds and, most importantly, you are much more likely to do scary stuff needed to make sure you get the results you need. If it doesn’t matter enough you’ll make an excuse or you’ll do things your way, the way you always do them, regardless of results.
What now? Get clear on your terms if you are not already, then trust yourself to get out there, to stand out; and don’t be afraid to break a few rules to do business on your terms.