Posts in Uncategorized

Airing Our Dirty Laundry – The Absence of a Good Go-to-Market Strategy

June 4th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Airing Our Dirty Laundry – The Absence of a Good Go-to-Market Strategy”

We began the month of May asking a question – what’s holding you back?

If you follow us closely, you may have noticed a few things:

  1. We did not post blogs on a regular basis.
  2. We did not produce new Business is ART podcasts on a regular basis.
  3. We temporarily shut down the Plan Canvas website.

Why? What was holding us back? The answer may surprise you.

We actually weren’t holding back

In actuality, we were holding nothing back, despite outside appearances. So what has been going on?

We’ve been working hard to address a few particular areas of concern, which we will share with you here.

This may leave some of you wondering why we would air our “dirty laundry,” but it is really very simple. Our mission is to improve others’ business and personal outcomes. If others can learn from our mistakes and apply what we learn, we are happy to share.

What have we learned about our go-to-market strategy?

Basically, what we learned was how ill-prepared we were to go-to-market. The Plan Canvas software product was ready, but our go-to-market strategy was not.

As a boot-strapped startup, we put all of our efforts in developing and validating a quality product. These are necessary steps, especially validation. And it is not abnormal for a startup to have no or limited budget to do everything it needs to do – and the same was true for us.

It is not that we ignored sales and marketing. We did a few things, like committing to a social media content marketing campaign. But we consciously put aside a lot of the things we knew we would at some point need to do from a sales and marketing perspective – out of budgetary necessity.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. But what we miscalculated was how much work there would be to do in order to get to an intelligent go-to-market strategy.

What have we been doing?

Before telling you what we’ve been up to, we want to emphasize that it’s never done. Like everything else in business, your sales and marketing strategy is an ever-involving thing.

That said, here is what we have been doing:

  1. Conducted a product “positioning” exercise.
  2. Modified our messaging.
  3. Made a greater distinction between our 3 product lines – Plan Canvas for Individual, Plan Canvas for SMB, and Plan Canvas for Enterprise.
  4. Published a white paper on improving strategy execution.
  5. Documented several Plan Canvas case studies.
  6. Attended entrepreneurial boot camps and participated in pitch competitions.
  7. Modified the plancanvas.net website.
  8. Modified the business model.
  9. Overhauled the Plan Canvas software user interface.
  10. Planned “Launch 2.0” – effectively, a “do-over” from our initial launch in September of 2017.

So what’s next?

Again, this is a never-ending process, and there is a lot more to come. But for the immediate future, we will begin a weekly theme around each of the specific customer types we identified through the aforementioned positioning exercise.

They are as follows:

  • Individual Interested in Self-Improvement – No matter what your title or station in life, you can benefit from a personal self-improvement plan.
  • Freelancer/Independent – You want to earn money doing what you love, on your terms, with the flexibility to do what you want, when you want. There’s just one problem. Reality.
  • Startup Entrepreneur – You have dreams of starting your own business but need to validate if your product or business idea is viable.
  • Small to Midsize Business (SMB) – You enjoy being your own boss, but want to do better, creating a lasting business model with an engaging and enduring company culture.
  • Regional and Franchise Managers with Multiple Locations – You need to spend less time managing individual stores while spending more time managing the area.
  • Operations Manager – You need to better manage change, attract and retain talent, optimize costs, maximize output and grow.
  • Church and Non-Profits – You have all of the same challenges of a for-profit business with one main difference – in addition to fee-based products and services, your mission may be dependent on grants and donations.
  • Midsized-to-Large Enterprise – You need improved outcomes of strategy execution.

We are also working on a group subscription and white label offering. It’s an on-going journey and we hope you join us.

If not, we hope you at least learn from us.

Why Your Vision Statement Matters

March 21st, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy, Uncategorized, Vision 0 thoughts on “Why Your Vision Statement Matters”

A March 21, 2017 article at Entrepreneur entitled “How To Engage Employees Through Your Company Vision Statement” by Andre Lavoie sites a study that found “60% of employees didn’t know their company’s vision.”

Yet, an understanding of and appreciation for the Vision and Strategies is an integral part to both improving employee engagement (approximately 30%) and the successful implementation of Strategic Initiatives (also about 30%).

So it stands to reason that we should be doing a better job of defining and communicating Vision.

An excerpt from an up-coming white paper

The following is an excerpt from a white paper that we are publishing in early April on how to improve strategy execution and why it’s critical to business survival.

Strategy Execution Improvement

Critical Success Factors to Surviving and Thriving

Order a pre-release copy of our upcoming white paper on how to improve strategy execution.

Vision is how you see things in the ideal future. The Mission is often mistaken for or sometimes blended into the Vision Statement, but they are two separate things. While the Vision is how you see things, the Mission is what you do.

Amazon’s is as an example of a well-written, combined, Vision and Mission Statement, as follows:

“Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

The Vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. The Mission is to build a place people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Note that in neither the Vision nor the Mission Statement does Amazon mention how they will get there, nor what that “place” looks like. Amazon can change its business model, how it serves customers, and enabling technology at will – without changing the Vision and Mission.

Think of it as remodeling the house without replacing the foundation.

Compare that to Walmart’s Vision Statement

Compare that to Walmart’s Vision Statement, “To be the best retailer in the hearts and minds of consumers and employees,” and their Mission Statement, “Saving people money so they can live better.”

These statements aren’t inherently wrong, but they do generate perceptions that are not necessarily positive, such as:

  • Now a classic retailer, always a classic retailer
  • It might be the best, but I still don’t like it
  • I can only live better by saving money – and purchasing lower quality items

“A Walmart on every corner” is increasingly a losing proposition that may not be dying, but is not well positioned to thrive against an Amazon.

Perhaps some of the reason for that is rooted in their Vision and Mission statements.

Tell Me One Thing the REALLY Works in Business

February 23rd, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Mastermind Group, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Tell Me One Thing the REALLY Works in Business”

What REALLY works in business? Everyone wants a magic pill. Unfortunately, there is none, but one thing that comes very close is a well run peer group / mastermind .

There are a multitude of peer group and mastermind options available to you. It is incumbent on you to find the one that works for you. But, by all means, find one, because they genuinely work

We kicked off an online mastermind group last night for small business owners and the initial results were pretty astounding.

An amazing launch

Members came ready to get to work. They immediately threw any inhibitions to the wind and presented some of their most pressing current issues and challenges. We did deep dives on what the issue really is and what the impact of not addressing it will be (or already has been). We identified numerous potential ways to address the issue. Ultimately, we identified and assigned action items for addressing the issue.

The issues we processed were specific to the individual presenting them, but common enough that nearly anyone can relate. They included:

  1. Cash flow management
  2. Prioritization of cash heavy initiatives
  3. Dealing with disruptive behavior of a particular employee

Group members left the meeting wit an average of 4 action items to address the issues presented. They were assigned 2 additional action items to address items outside of the issues presented.

We will now begin tracking progress against these action items and how well the specific issues are resolved. This stuff works because it provides input from peers on how to resolve your issue and promotes accountability to one another on doing something about it.

The value is immediate an on-going

The group is based on 2 main premises:

  1. It’s lonely at the top, and,
  2. None of us is as smart as all of us

One member summed it up best by saying, “It feels god just to be able to talk about it.”

Try it for free

Again, there are lots of options out there. If you want to check out ours, it is conducted online, so there are no geographical restrictions. Your first 3 months are at no fee so that you can experience for yourself how effective these groups are.

It’s not a magic pill, but it REALLY does work for you and your business.

Contact us for details.

36,900,000 Results When Searching for “How to Stay Inspired”

February 6th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Vision 2 thoughts on “36,900,000 Results When Searching for “How to Stay Inspired””

If you enter “how to stay inspired” into your search engine, it will net about 36,900,000 results.

You’d think with so many people, organizations and articles out there to help us get or stay inspired, we’d find it much easier to do so. But the hard truth about inspiration is that while finding it is comparatively easy, keeping it is relatively difficult.

We gleefully make resolutions and promises to ourselves, saying things like, “This year, I am REALLY going to get in shape!”

We go to seminars with leading gurus, buy their books and courses, then run out with our arms raised, declaring, “I’m gonna do it!”

We watch TED videos, Shark Tank, and SuperSoul Sunday and exclaim, “I’m going to make a difference!

Aaaaannnnnndddd thennnnnnnn….we don’t

Why is it so hard to remain inspired (and motivated)?

An article at Care2 entitled 5 Reasons Why Motivation is Difficult to Sustain provides an interesting list of reasons it is hard to stay motivated. Even though inspiration and motivation are two different things, they are related, so we will list the 5 here as follows:

  1. No plan
  2. Distractions
  3. Drawbacks
  4. Negative motivation
  5. Extrinsic motivation (depend on outside world to reap rewards on you)

But here is what we think is the real reason it is hard to remain inspired

As discussed in a previous post, motivation is external and compels you to do something. Inspiration is internal – something you feel.

(see Where Do You Find Inspiration?).

The real reason that inspiration can be fleeting is because it’s a feeling – and feelings are naturally fleeting. Generally speaking, feelings can hit us with great intensity. Later the intensity fades – perhaps entirely, perhaps not, but it usually fades.

Maybe it isn’t important to remain inspired

If feelings are naturally fleeting, perhaps trying hard to hold on to inspiration is futile.

Perhaps, rather than spending hundreds and thousands of dollars and hours on the inspirational products of the inspirational gurus, we spend our resources REMEMBERING what inspired us, as opposed to PRESERVING the feeling.

It isn’t as difficult as you might think

When you feel inspired, remember, it is a feeling and it will fade. Before it has faded too deeply, write it down. Capture things like:

  • What were you inspired to do?
  • How did that feel?
  • What were you doing when it hit you?
  • Who were you with?
  • What were you thinking or thinking of?
  • What were some other circumstances surrounding you at the time?

Now use that to write a purpose statement. This isn’t WHAT you are going to do. This is WHY you are going to do it.

In business, it is foundational to have a Vision Statement, a Mission Statement, and a Purpose Statement. Vision is how you see things in the future, preferably as a result of what you do. Mission is in fact what you do. But purpose is why you do it.

The same types of statements can be useful in your personal life.

Once you have a vision, mission and purpose statement, put them in reverse order (purpose, mission, and vision). This becomes your elevator pitch for whatever you are doing – and it always starts with your purpose, which is founded in your inspiration.

Say it often. Start your day with it. Start your presentations with it. Start your meetings with it.

Don’t cheapen it or make it a rote statement, but use it often enough to remind yourself and others of what you felt in that moment of inspiration, even though the intensity of the feeling itself may have faded.

This will in turn help keep you motivated, even if no longer inspired.

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

January 30th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Inspiration, Uncategorized 1 thought on “Where Do You Find Inspiration?”

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

Before answering that question, it’s important to note that there is a difference between inspiration and motivation. Motivation is external and compels you to do something. Inspiration is internal – something you feel.

As an example, three deaths by suicide served as the motivation behind writing the book, Business is ART and development of Plan Canvas, the strategy execution management (SEM) software that is based on the book.

Motivation isn’t inspiration

Those deaths were external events that triggered a desire to help others. It is a horrible means of motivation, but, sometimes, tragedy, or hitting rock bottom, is needed to motivate us to do something positive.

But the inspiration for creating these particular tools came from somewhere else. The book was literally conjured in a dream. The software was first envisioned as the table of contents for the book was being written, particularly when business as ART was laid out as a 12-step process (defined processes lend themselves well to being systematized).

So a more appropriate question might be….

HOW do you find inspiration?

An article at Inc. provides 25 simple ways to find inspiration. We really like this list. In fact, many of these same notions are included in Business is ART.

Find inspiration

Watch this demo to see how Plan Canvas can help you find inspiration.

Our favorite 5 from the article are listed here, along with a brief explanation of how you can actually follow them in Plan Canvas:

  1. Write it down – Plan Canvas encourages you to record everything that is important about your business in the tool.
  2. Evaluate your goals – You then produce a Progress Report to review with others to track how you are doing with all of those critically important items.
  3. Simplify – Plan Canvas is built on this key principle. Planning your business and executing to that plan should be simple, not over-bearing.
  4. Question all assumptions – Within Plan Canvas, you document all major assumptions, the risk associated with the assumption, the impact if the risk occurs, the likelihood it will occur, and, importantly, how you will mitigate against that risk.
  5. Focus on yourself – Plan Canvas includes a Personal Plan for anyone to focus on themselves, regardless of whether they are an entrepreneur, business owner, organizational leader or not.

Everyone is different

Some people find inspiration while in hurry up mode. Others need quiet, uninterrupted time. Whatever the case may be for you, the most important thing is to have an open mind. Inspiration often comes in the most unexpected ways – but we have to be open to being inspired for it to happen.

Do Employees Really Need a Sense of Purpose?

January 18th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Goal, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Uncategorized 1 thought on “Do Employees Really Need a Sense of Purpose?”

“Executing a strategy without engaged people is impossible, and brilliant strategies without execution are meaningless.”

That’s how an article at Inc., entitled Why Strategy Without Execution Will Get You Nowhere begins.

It’s like we wrote that ourselves. In fact, we have written very similar statements on numerous occasions. Want to know why? Because it’s true.

It’s mid-January. By now, a large percentage of New Years resolutions have already been long forgotten. That’s true in business as well as personal life. Businesses often end the year giddy with the excitement about the new plans and strategies they’ve developed for the new year.

“We’re going to do great. We’re going to increase sales and profits. We’re going to hire new, fresh talent. We’re going to…”

Sometimes actual targets or objectives accompany those statements. Sometimes they’re followed by statements that start with “And here’s how we’re going to do it.”

But what’s often missing is, “Here’s why we’re going to do it,” or “Here’s why it’s imperative that we do.”

Let’s use the Plan Canvas purpose statement as an example

Simply put, we want businesses to increase their odds of success and do better. Why?

Because even a modest improvement in business performance will make a tremendously positive impact on the economy, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and take us that much closer to improving lives and eliminating poverty.

Value-based vs. profit-driven goals

Setting value-based goals is one way to improve employee engagement. Watch our 2 brief videos on the topic.

Is it a coincidence that the reported percentage of disengaged employees is almost the same as the failure rate of strategic plans?

The American Management Association (AMA) reports more than 60% of strategies are not successfully executed. A Gallup poll indicated that only 32% of employees in the United States were engaged in their work in 2015, virtually flat over the 31.5% reported in 2014.

Let’s see – there’s a 60% failure rate in strategy execution, while the employee disengagement is rate is 68%.

Coincidence?

There has to be SOME kind of purpose

Perhaps the answer to the high failure rate of strategies is to simply give employees a greater sense of purpose.

The purpose for any business doesn’t have to be big and lofty nor world changing. It can be almost anything. But it has to be SOMETHING because that sense of purpose is what you need in order to get your employees excited and engaged.

If the only sense of purpose they feel is “to put money in the pockets of someone other than myself”, they aren’t going to be very engaged. If they aren’t engaged, you are on your own and the strategy will fail.

2 Main Phases of Business – Planning It and Running It

December 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Business Plan, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “2 Main Phases of Business – Planning It and Running It”

There are two major phases to starting and maintaining any business or organization: planning it and running it. We refer to this as strategic planning and strategic management, and actually break things down a little further.

Strategic Planning is the formal development of plans (vision, goals, objectives, initiatives and action items). It includes:

  • Analysis & Assessment
  • Strategy Formulation & Documentation

Strategic Management is the on-going running of the business based on those plans. It includes:

  • Strategic Execution
  • Sustainment Management

“Planning” Isn’t “Set It and Forget It”

A common mistake made by entrepreneurs, owners and leaders is that planning is a one-time event, relatively unrelated to running the business. The American Management Association (AMA) reports that more than 60% of strategies are not implemented. That is particularly a disturbing stat when you consider a 2015 survey by Wells Fargo that found an even greater percentage of small businesses never develop strategies in the first place.

Meanwhile, a report by Cognizant states that organizations that don’t focus on strategic execution “are at risk of wasting 14 times more money” than those who put an emphasis on strategic execution.

An Unofficial Recognition

The Plan Canvas team recently spoke with representatives from the technology research firm Gartner, who informally stated that they see Plan Canvas as a Strategic Execution Management software (SEM).

This was music to our ears because since its inception, that is how we have viewed Plan Canvas. Yes, you can produce strategic plans, business plans, and personal plans from Plan Canvas, but, more importantly, you can strategically manage with it.

In fact, of the 8 major characteristics of an SEM solution, as defined by Gartner, Plan Canvas at least touches on all of them – some more deeply than others, but all are addressed.

This is a very important distinction for both the Plan Canvas team and the Plan Canvas user.

Contact us for a free 30-day trial of Plan Canvas.

We cover all phases

See a list of Plan Canvas features and an 8-minute demo

Learn more…

Modern Business Failure Part 2 – Pets.com

May 2nd, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Business is ART, Business Plan, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Modern Business Failure Part 2 – Pets.com”
Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

“Failure” is an ugly word. Some say there is no such thing as long as you are learning and applying that knowledge to your next attempt. Let’s just assume for a moment that failure is real, and is indeed an option.

As an entrepreneur, failure is something you’ll have to come to terms with. You will have failures as you try to build a business.

Even as you succeed, the possibility for failure is always there. In fact, sometimes a surge of success can actually end in failure.

A few weeks ago, we talked about once successful businesses that slowly died out and shut down altogether. Today, we’re going to focus on one specific company that fell almost as quickly as it rose.

The Brief Success of Pets.com

Pets.com is often the poster child of the dot-com bubble burst – and with good reason. They received huge amounts of capital investment before actually achieving anything, they became a nationally known brand through a wildly successful marketing campaign, and then they imploded almost immediately after.

Looks good….wait a minute

Before things came to a terrible end, however, it looked as though they might be the last big internet company to come out of the 90’s. Like so many early internet companies, their concept was simple: sell pet food, supplies, and accessories online. The pet supply industry was valued at $23 billion at the time, and little to none of that was being moved through the internet.

With such a simple, powerful domain, success seemed all but guaranteed. Especially once their advertising kicked in. The Pets.com sock puppet mascot became a nationally recognized icon almost immediately.

Whether you loved him or hated him, you knew him. After all, he appeared on Good Morning America, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, a Super Bowl Commercial, and as a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the span of months.

All this marketing was funded by venture capital money, as well as Amazon, who bought half of the company’s shares very early on. While Amazon wasn’t quite what is today in the late 90’s, it was still a pretty big deal.

When Pets.com went public, it closed at an $82 million IPO. Soon, they were employing 320 people.

So what happened?

Pets.com was all basic idea and no actual execution, research, or planning. The company started when a Harvard business student convinced the guy who owned the domain to use it for selling pet supplies.

That was the entire vision, and it was enough to convince investors to buy in.

Before they had any plans on how to scale to being a nationwide distributor, Pets.com had embarked on an $11 million marketing campaign. Trouble was, they were losing money on every sale they made, even before advertising was taken into account.

A lot of issues stemmed from the fact that they did almost zero market research beforehand, so they had no idea what consumers’ spending habits would be. It turned out, many people weren’t ready to buy pet supplies online, and those who were bought small quantities of simple products with poor profit margins.

These types of orders actually hurt Pets.com’s finances.

They attempted to incentivize additional purchases by offering things like free shipping, but as you may know, pet food isn’t known for being light weight. Their expenses increased.

Meanwhile, they were investing heavy amounts of money in expanding infrastructure, servers, engineers, and more to handle their growth and expansion. This was before pre-built ecommerce solutions existed. There was no cloud computing. Software hadn’t been designed to connect websites with warehouse inventory.

They had to try and do it all themselves, which led to additional errors, delays, and worst of all, further loses.

Pets.com was this hugely recognized brand that no one actually used.

Realizing they weren’t going to be able to make it work, Pets.com made one of their smarter decisions and liquidated their assets. This happened less than 300 days after going public.

While a fair share of money was lost, it’s worth noting that Pets.com did get some money back to their investors after their liquidation. PetSmart bought their domain (and they still have it), while a car financing company bought the sock puppet mascot for $125,000. Yep, that actually happened.

What Business Owners Can Learn from This

While Pets.com is often used as a cautionary tale about investing in unproven startups, I think there’s a more important lesson here. Simply put, they didn’t plan. They didn’t strategize. They didn’t research.

They tried to skip over the first, and arguably most crucial part of starting a business, and it ended up being their death sentence. A business needs more than a hot idea and some money.

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Curriculum for a College Level Business Class?

January 24th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Curriculum for a College Level Business Class?”

Urbana UniversityLooking for course curriculum for a college level business class? Look no further.

I’m very honored that Cate Brinnon, Assistant Professor and Faculty Athletic Representative at Urbana University, has selected Business is ART as the required reading and to provide various course exercises for MGT 315 – Strategic Management and Leadership. The course got under way earlier this month – it is the first time the book has been used in a classroom setting.

The purpose is to engage management majors through strategy development

According to Cate, “The purpose of this course is to engage management majors in an in-depth analysis of leadership through strategy development. It will integrate a broad base of management skills and knowledge with a focus on the role of senior leadership. This course will incorporate the process of clarifying an organization’s vision, mission and purpose, processes of assessing internal strengths and weaknesses and processes for evaluating priorities and matching priorities with resource constraints.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I recently attended a webinar on blogging by Jeff Goins in which he identified 5 types of bloggers, including: The Journalist, The Prophet, The Artist, The Professor and The Star (see The 5 Platform Personalities: What Type of Blog is Right for You?).

At that point I realized the Business is ART book, blog and podcast – hence I – fall more in to the category of “The Professor” than anything else. Goins urged attendees to embrace whatever category we each fell in to.

That’s when I decided to just accept fate.

I’m the guy everyone hopes doesn’t show up in the first 15 minutes so they can cut class

But my hope is I’m also the guy they are glad showed up after-all. I try very hard to make it worth their while once we get things going. The knowledge and “how to’s” I try to impart are never going to be wildly popular, and that’s OK. The world has plenty of Joel Osteens and Tony Robbins(es).

We are here to work and get results, not feel good about ourselves and believe the results will come based on those good feelings

Sure enough, literally, just days after I accepted my role as “The Professor” (no Gilligan’s Island jokes, please), Cate contacted me to talk about this crazy idea she had of using Business is ART for a collegiate level class. Sometimes, things just seem fall in to place. But there was a whole lot of work, time and money that led to that moment – for both of us.

“I am new to teaching this undergraduate course. It explores what I call the “inside-out” process of developing strategy and its implementation through effective leadership.

Business is ART ass CurriculumThere are many schools of thought regarding strategic development. I adhere to the theory that an organization should plan with flexibility. Business is ART allows the reader to walk through this process easily. The first focus is on the mission, the core, the “raison-d’etre” – in essence the seminal idea as to what one’s art will convey. Jon gives the reader some suggestions and tools as to how to create the outlines – to be ‘colored in.’

He allows for creativity throughout the process – not ever suggesting that the reader cannot ‘color outside of the lines’. Rather, he encourages revision and allows the expression of the mission to take different forms – as long as there is a process which can be followed.

I use Business is ART for this undergraduate course and find the processes described within it can be easily tailored for those who do not have much management experience. The writing style is so conversational that I am able to teach concepts in a way that may be more digestible for my students.

They recently completed an exercise in Chapter 1 – the self-assessment. Many students had some beautiful ‘ah-ha’ moments as they realized graduation was a few short months away and they had never really given thought to these questions.

Time will tell, but I believe that this course will have a long-lasting, positive impact on them.”

 – Cate Brinnon

It’s an honor and a privilege to have Business is ART as part of the curriculum

I can’t think of a better endorsement or greater honor than knowing there is a possibility that through the book and through Cate’s course, I just may…just MAY…play a small part in something that leaves such an impact.

Get your copy of Business is ART from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or several independent book sellers.

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My Business Failed – Now What Do I Do?

January 19th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “My Business Failed – Now What Do I Do?”

closed for businessSome will say you failed. Don’t accept that.

In a perfect world, every hard-working entrepreneur would succeed in their business ventures. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. The hard truth is that a majority of startups don’t make it. Just for the moment, we will use the word “failed.”

For those who find themselves in this predicament, it can be hard to know what to do next.

This was your dream. Your end goal. How can you just walk away from that?

It won’t be easy, but it’s important to remember this:

This is Not the End

It might feel like it, but you’re still the smart, talented, ambitious person you were before. You still have the same goals and dreams. And you still have plenty of potential ahead of you.

In the coming months, you’ll need to remind yourself of that daily. Sometimes, hourly. After all….

Closing a Business Can be a Very Cold Experience

When a business dies, there’s no funeral or wake. People from outside of work won’t gather around and share memories of your business. There’s a good chance many your friends and non-immediate family members won’t even know about it.

And you won’t have time or energy to tell them.

A business closure creates a void that needs to be filled and resolved. Contacts need to be sorted and closed. Legal documents need to be signed. Items will be sold or auctioned or possessed. The creditors and bankers will likely come calling for a number of reasons.

They won’t have much in the way of sympathy for you and your business. That’s why it’s important to…

Talk to Someone About It

Like so many hard times in life, business failure will help you learn who your real friends are. Grab onto these friendships. Share what you’re really feeling. Be vulnerable. This will help in the healing process. It will also allow you to process what went wrong.

And it’s very important that you process that.

Analyzing What Went Wrong

After a business closure, the last thing you want probably want to think about are all of the problems your business had. But you need to think about it. You need to be able to see the problems. The cracks in the plans. The strategies that didn’t pan out. The weak links in your chains.

This is how you will learn. This is how you will grow.

That said…

Don’t Dwell on the Negatives

You can get lost in hypotheticals. What if you had made that investment? What if you didn’t hire that position?

There’s no point in focusing on how things may have played out differently, because it’s never going to change what actually happened.

Once you’ve processed the loss and the mistakes, let it go, and decide what you’re going to do next.

Can You have Really Failed?

Yes! When you fail to learn from experience, you have truly failed. Otherwise, there are no failures, just experiences that didn’t work out the way you wanted. Learn from them. Apply that knowledge going forward…and keep going forward.

Getting Another Job isn’t a Sign of Weakness

Chances are, if your business shut down, you’re not in the best financial situation. You may need a job, and for many, that can feel like the final sign of defeat.

But getting a job isn’t an act of weakness.

If anything, it’s a way of showing that you’re ready to move forward. Maybe you’ll find a great job that you love. Maybe you’ll realize you don’t want to run your own business after all. You won’t find out until you start moving forward.

Starting Again

For those who are still set on being entrepreneurs, there will come a time when you’re ready to begin again. Don’t hesitate or be afraid. Instead, remember that you’re stronger than you were before. You’re wiser.

You’ve learned from your previous mistakes so that you won’t make them again. Statistically, the odds of succeeding on a second or third business are higher.

Why not increase those odds even further? Check out my Odds Makers course here. It’s much more than a list of business tips for success.

It’s a video training series that will navigate you through startup strategy that is proven to improve your chances of success, from crafting your initial vision to establishing and measuring KPIs.

Get your next business started off right. Sign up today!

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