Is Your Business Flying High, or is it Just Getting By?
I almost started this blog post with the title, How to Keep Your Business Afloat During Covid-19.” But, who wants a business that just survives? One of the biggest reasons for owning a business is to gain a vision for what we want that business to look like and then pursue it. I don’t know anyone that starts a business to simply “keep it afloat.”
I live in Colorado, so everyone everywhere figures we are all “high” all the time anyway, so might as well title this post How to Get Your Business Flying High instead.
Believing it’s Possible for Your Business to Fly High
With around 40 million Americans filing for unemployment over the past few months, many people are finally turning to the internet to start a business. I can only imagine their struggle to generate positive thoughts about starting a successful business in this climate where so many who once had lucrative businesses are now closing their doors forever.
So, before I go further with exactly how to get your business flying high, as opposed to just scraping by, I have to eliminate a few myths.
Myth #1 – All Virtual Live Events are Free
A few weeks ago, I co-managed a two-day virtual live streaming conference where the 120 attendees paid $1,300 a piece to attend.
Yes, making money from virtual lives is possible.
Myth #2: No One is Spending Money on the Internet Right Now
This past weekend, we crossed the 2/3 mark for finishing a client’s non-fiction book detailing his method for turning around a failing company. Today, his online business makes nearly $10MM a year with a 30% profit margin and just five employees! All sales come through his shopping cart, featuring a little over 200 different B2C products.
Yes, people are still spending money buying things on the internet.
Myth #3: The Speaking Industry is Dead
A friend finally decided to get serious about professional speaking in January of this year. Two months later, Covid-19 hit, and in-person speaking venues around the world shut down overnight. Yet, go figure. One day just this week, my friend spoke in six different countries! He’s spoken to nearly 120 groups in a little more than a month! But, many people say the speaking business is dead.
Yes, speaking opportunities are still available through virtual live events, and people are still eager and willing to be audience members.
Opportunity is being sought after and discovered by some people who are soaring high in their businesses while others are stuck in a holding pattern waiting for something in their environment to improve. So which camp do you fall into?
Making the Choice to Fly High with Your Business
I’m not going to attempt to inject some sort of mystical potion into your mind about your chances for success in your business. As much of a fan of Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich as I am, and how I have experienced how important it is to think positively, I am realistic.
Your business could fail even if you make a conscious choice for it to succeed. But, I’ll say this too: If you do NOT choose for your business to fly high, it almost certainly will ONLY get-by at best.
Of the examples I provided earlier, each of those three business owners made a life choice so their businesses would fly high instead of merely staying afloat.
Your first step to doing the same is to make that pivotal shift of thinking into being one of the few to make that choice.
Steps to Helping Your Business to Fly High
For the rest of this post, I’m going to give you a sequence of steps. Just about everyone I’m seeing with a flying high business has applied most, or all, of these steps. For your specific implementation, the sequence itself might vary in order. That’s fine. The important thing is that you evaluate what steps you are currently taking versus those you are not. Adjust your actions accordingly.
Many of these steps you can begin today.
Step 1: Associate Only with People with Flying High Businesses Attitudes
You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Similarly, you become who you hang around. If you associate with people who’s businesses are struggling, and engage in a continuous conversation about how terrible the economy is, how the Coronavirus has ruined the potential for anyone to succeed and how racial upheaval has destroyed our country, well guess what? All of those things will come true for you too!
When you invest time to converse with people with similar positive drive and results as you want to experience, your whole consciousness changes. You wake up in the morning with energy, ready to face the day’s list of tasks to complete. You go to bed at night eager for the next day to arrive and content with what you accomplished in the day. And, during the day, you feel wanted and needed by your customers, and they look forward to working with you!
The three examples I shared earlier spend no time with negative people. They just don’t have the time for it because they are too busy pushing forward.
Action Step: Make a list of every person you’ve had a conversation with, in person or by phone over the past week. Which of those people drained your positive emotion? What steps can you take to distance yourself (at least for a while) so that your attitude can be more positive?
Step 2: Disengage from Social Jousting
Social networking is one of the greatest inventions of our modern era. However, jousting back and forth on those social media platforms between people with opposing political views is toxic.
I know several business owners who are hitting home runs with their businesses right now. They’re reporting some of the best sales months in their company’s history. I can honestly think of only one or two of them who are seemingly addicted to publicly voicing their political views on social media. They have an opinion about everything happening in the country, and they make daily posts and replies to project those views to their followers and belittle those that oppose their views.
Almost everyone I know, who I would put into the category of having a high flying business right now, NEVER posts a political rant on Facebook or other social media. That kind of activity just drains their positive, forward-thinking emotion, so they make the conscious choice to disengage from that kind of activity entirely.
I’ve been suggesting (urging) my clients for many years now to avoid any jousting opportunities on social media for the topics of politics and religion. My reasoning has always been for the reason of not scaring off potential clients. But, today’s political climate has broadened my scope on this issue. Political jousting on social media might seem like a simple and harmless outlet for self-expression and freedom of speech, is actually a slow drip of emotional juice from your positive thinking.
Action Step: If you want your business to fly high, instead of just getting by, take a break for the next few months from political posting and replying. Give it a try. Resist your urge to engage. Instead, channel your frustration of the day’s happenings through other physical means. Go for a brisk walk. Lift some weights. Jump off a high bluff into some lake water! Or, write a good blog post. Whatever you do, stop posting or replying to political posts and feel how your emotional state changes to one that’s much more positive.
Step 3: Recalibrate Your Wants
In the introduction section of my Lions Always Win book, I mention how I asked 600 people over a six year period the question, “What do you want?” Only 2% responded with anything remotely detailed enough an answer. Most people have no clue what they really want. Add the restrictions brought to us through Covid, and today’s political and social climate, the chasm between wanting a rewarding and enjoyable life and getting it has become much wider. Or, at least, that’s one of the big tricks our minds play on us to try to get us to believe.
I’m writing to tell you this very certain fact about people with high flying businesses during this turbulent time: They ALL know exactly what they want…and have written plans for exactly how they are going to attain those wants.
Step #4: Re-Connect with Every Current Customer
One of the things I noticed in my own business when Covid-19 hit was how some of my vendors demonstrated a genuine interest in my health and well being. When lockdowns were announced, those caring vendors reached out to me to ask how my family was coping with food supplies and staying active. There was no discussion about business or when I would be making my next purchase.
To which vendors will I be most loyal going forward? My loyalty will be with vendors who showed concern for my safety, not just my invoice payment.
Business owners who are just getting by, or those that are failing, live in a state of constant fear. They face every morning the fear that today could be their last day with open doors. I understand how a business can get to that point and how the business owner has a constant brain filling of negativity and doomsday coming soon type of feelings. I would also agree that many businesses are beyond repair and probably should close shop, at least for a while, because the fight is just to difficult to endure.
My point with this step is that every high flying business owner I know (every single one!) has made a personal effort to check in on their customers and clients; not to sell them, but to just check on their health. What percentage of your customers have you called on the phone to chat with just to see if they’re doing okay?
Action Step: Make a list (or run a query in your CRM) of everyone you consider to be a current customer. Over the next week, add to your schedule at least one phone call in the morning and one in the afternoon for which you will personally call a customer to ask how they’re doing physically, socially, mentally, emotionally. Do not ask for new orders for products or services unless you are asked. Continue your daily call regiment until you have talked to every single customer.
Step 5: Optimize Your Revenue Sources
Like I mentioned earlier, we are working on a non-fiction book for a client who is a business turnaround expert. You’ll hear more about this book over the next few weeks, but one of his particular suggestions fits this post. He suggests optimizing your revenue sources during a downturn.
In his upcoming book, he uses the example of a business consultant who was hired by a company to help their failing business. He had them place one of each product they sold on a table. He evaluated each, set a few aside, and then literally pushed all the other products off the table and they all fell to the floor!
“These products still on the table will be the only products you will sell going forward,” he said.
Business owners who are flying high now have stopped working on their pet projects, and are not searching for new items or services to sell or test. They have reviewed their product line or services and have selected the few where they stand out in the industry and are profitable. They work primarily with those few products and services and have improved their live video presentation skills to do a better job demonstrating or describing their offers.
Action Step: Make a list of all the products and services you provide. Identify which revenue sources are profitable and in-demand and focus on them.
Step 6: Pay the Right People What they Want to Get the Job Done Right
This step might be the most unusual of all. We have all been born and raised pay for as little as possible to get tasks completed.
Almost everyone that has paid Here Next Year to develop a website over the past 20+ years had their first website made by a friend or relative for free, or for less than $100. After the pain of a free or low-cost website production experience, they finally realized the value of having a realistic budget for such an important business component like a WordPress website.
What I find interesting about high flying businesses is how loyal the business owners are to their helpers. They want their helpers to succeed. They want their helpers to be happy mentally and financially. They want their helpers to consider their payers to be a top priority on their to-do list. The reward is payment equal to, or even exceeding, what those helpers are currently worth in skill and value.
Business owners who are just getting by are in a tough spot. They likely do not have enough funding to pay what they really should be paying for top quality help. So, they make all their decisions based on cost. They’ll spend 20 hours of their own time vetting vendors and acquiring five or more quotes only to wind up selecting the vendor that offers the lowest price. Then, they’ll negotiate an even lower price or extend the payment terms to save a little more.
The result is an unhappy vendor, contractor or employee who accepted the offer out of desperation and now has to fulfill the promise knowing the opportunity is not even worth their time.
When a better opportunity comes along, the vendor, contractor, or employee makes a change.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned a client of mine for whom I co-managed a two-day virtual conference. We have had a solid client/service provider relationship for just over ten years now. Every month or so, I’ll make a list of one-liner tasks that I performed for the client and send it to him along with an invoice. I cannot think of even a single time he disputed what I charged for the task performed. Within three days of sending the invoice, this client always has a check in my mailbox.
What do you think my commitment level is to that client? On a scale of 1-10, I would say my dedication to him is about a 25!
Action Step: Show your appreciation for someone today that has helped you with your business in whichever way you see fit. You could choose something as simple as an Amazon gift card or drop a card in the mail with a check to show your support in a difficult time. Next time you ask, “How much will you charge me to…..[fill in the blank],” avoid the temptation to drive the price lower. Pay your help what they want, so the job gets done right and start prioritizing loyalty over loyalty over always going for the lowest buck first.
Step 7: Be the Example of Good Health
The final step I’d like to share with you that I’m seeing among business owners with flying high businesses instead of merely surviving businesses is their emphasis on personal health. Having a successful company in this novel virus time and socially erupt climate, while you, the owner, are a heart attack waiting to happen is possible, but not typical.
If prior to Corona, you overindulged in alcohol, never exercised, sat in a chair working for 12 hours a day, only giving yourself a break in the day to hit the McDonald’s drive-through while having a smoke, I can bet all of those quantities and frequencies have increased.
If you want to do what others are doing to make their businesses soar instead of sour, you’re going to need to start prioritizing your health. Not only do you need to improve your eating and drinking habits to build your daily energy and brainpower, but you also need to be mindful of remaining Coronavirus free. Here are just a few steps healthy owners of flying high businesses practice:
- Getting a good night’s sleep.
- Waking up at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m.
- Exercising each day with at least 30 minutes of cardio.
- Daily meditation.
- Limited contact with the public.
- Showering upon return from a public location.
- Frequent washing of hands.
- Building one’s immune system with proper foods and supplements.
The only way you can assure your business will fly high, instead of just getting by, is to keep yourself alive. You must survive if your business is to advance. No one cares more about the products you provide and the services you offer. You must stay fit to oversee the distribution of those items.
Your Decision to Fly High with Your Business, or Let the Opportunity Pass You By, is Now
We were all taken by surprise when Covid-19 attacked the U.S. The economic shutdown hit us with a double whammy. Every business owner eventually needed to ask the question, “Am I ready yet to look forward?”
The examples I used earlier involve business owners that chose to look forward early in the Covid-19 invasion and can serve as role models for anyone who is still holding on to a defensive position of doubt, fear and reservation.
Getting your business to fly high instead of just getting by begins with a change of attitude. Will this be your day to make that pivotal moment of change? I hope so. The world sure needs more examples of business owners who have made a choice to push forward.
What to Do Next?
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