Stop Chasing Tools and TacticsApr 14, 2023
In 2008, after the last global financial crisis, I was working hard as a young entrepreneur to grow my consulting and tech services firm under difficult circumstances.
I believed the only thing standing between me and success was beating out my competitors or finding a special tool or tactic that could leapfrog my business. This short-sighted approach almost cost me the business.
The Siren Call of the Quick-Fix
The irony is that my business offered a unique, innovative solution that was years ahead of what other, much larger firms could offer. But despite this advantage, over the months and years following the ‘08 crisis, my business failed to grow like I hoped it would (or like so many people that I respected thought it should).
The problem? I lost sight of our unique value proposition and became too focused on the wrong things. I got stuck in a cycle of chasing results and pursuing the newest trend, tool, or tactic.
Yet, in this fear-fueled search, I ignored the most important thing that eventually made all the difference in growing the business like never before.
In fact, I only made the discovery after getting very close to losing the business in 2011 and 2012, during which I hit my lowest point both in business and life.
Losing Sight of What Mattered
What I discovered was that the real source of my frustration and lack of growth wasn’t falling behind competitors or not having the best tools or marketing tactics, but my own lack of alignment with the business.
After the '08 crisis, I started to get caught up in worrying about less client work and increased competition. In so doing, I lost sight of the very unique ways that we solved client problems.
When I realized what I had been doing, I realigned myself and my vision with the central reason why I started the business in the first place - to help clients solve complex legal challenges.
This shift in my mindset led to my refocusing all of our team’s efforts on serving our customers better than ever before - to help them solve their challenges more efficiently and effectively.
But here is the big shift that made the biggest difference: I reconnected more deeply with my team and looked for ways to support them in growing their skills and expertise so that we could all deliver even more value to clients.
As a result, the business started to grow exponentially, and my team and our client’s satisfaction began to soar like never before.
Clients started signing long-term contracts with us that would deliver consistent, recurring revenue for years. We started attracting and hiring incredible talent, some of whom had been working for the very competitors I’d been chasing.
Within a short time, we also had several parties, including some of those same competitors, begin making offers to buy the business. It was a complete turnaround.
The Path to Realignment
What I was missing by worrying about competitors and chasing new tools and tactics, I found in re-engaging with the heart of the business and how we could better serve our clients. And here’s how you can do that too:
1. Fall in love with the problem you're solving for your clients.
This is essential in retaining and deepening existing client relationships and attracting and closing new ones. The reason that we exist as entrepreneurs is to help clients solve problems. The more we fall in love with our client's problems and how we can help them better solve those problems, the more success we experience in our business.
2. Create an overarching vision for your business around the needs of your clients.
This vision should be grounded in a love for helping clients solve their challenges in unique and innovative ways and enlisting your team to develop their skills and expertise as they do so. Innovation is nothing more than exploring and discovering new and more effective ways to serve clients and solve their problems.
3. Articulate the vision and reinforce it with your team.
The aim is that everyone on your team should operate every single day with a clear focus on delivering their best to each other and in service to your clients. This has three benefits:
It ensures that your team will always be looking for caring and more creative ways to serve. The team will be so focused on serving clients and the rewards that come from doing so that it will naturally boost their enthusiasm and love for their work, their teammates, and the business.
Team members will also find deeper satisfaction from doing their absolute best to fulfill the clearly-articulated, overarching vision and mission of the business.
Does my story sound familiar to you? Do you also feel that you’ve lost alignment with the vision and mission of your business? Are you hitting a wall or facing burnout due to the stress of leading your company through the current financial crisis?
If so, I invite you to watch my Masterclass now (available on my homepage at thedreamexit.com to learn the 4 key shifts that make all the difference in regaining your freedom as a business owner and building a much more valuable company that a prospective buyer will pay a premium to acquire.