In a couple of days, I launch my new digital magazine. The experience has been a lot of fun, but not because “gee whiz! New things are fun!” It’s because this all reminds me how quickly we get stuck in scripts, and how business will always falter when we fall into a rut.
We are creatures of habit and routine. We love it. Some habits are great. Brushing and flossing our teeth? Great. Do that. Learning how to drink enough water every day? Awesome. You go. Getting in the habit of surfing blindly for an hour in the morning first thing? Not so great. Shaking the same trees over and over again for money? Not so great.
Never Fall In Love With Comfort
When I was in the peak of my speaking career, when Trust Agents was just on fire, speaking gigs came to me with no problem. In fact, we had so many that we just had to say no a lot. And then, they were a lot fewer and further between. If I had built my business solely around the concept that I would just accept or reject speaking gigs for the rest of my life, I’d be dead broke somewhere early in 2012. But I knew better.
Never fall in love with comfort. You have a compass that points you towards your goals, and you have your capabilities, but comfort is the Devil’s bed. The moment you think business or life will “always” be like this is the moment that something ungood is about to happen and you’re not going to be ready for it.
Chart the Needs of Your Buyers
Three years ago, everyone needed social media help. “Should I get on Twitter?” Blah blah blah. That was business. But people have long since gotten on, become disenfranchised, and are now trying to figure out what to do with all their digital piece parts. In that time, I’ve gone from sitting around a table with executives at huge companies to now offering courses that’ll help those teams figure out how to get something of real value out of those digital channels.
Your buyers’ needs will change. If you’re not shifting and preempting and predicting and preparing for the next set of needs, you’re standing still, and that means a fast wilting and falling away.
The book you’ve been meaning to read is Youtility by Jay Baer. If you didn’t bother to read it, I’ll tell you that it says this: just writing nice stories for people is no longer helpful enough. You’ve gotta help your end buyer do more. And we, those helping others figure this space out, have to empower companies to do that.
Trim Mercilessly, but Preserve the Roots
One lesson above all others has taken me years to learn: stick to the plan, and keep the plan simple. The biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make is this: once you CAN do more, you DO do more, whether or not it makes sense. And that’s where everything crumbles.
Preserve the roots of what you intend to do, and as you grow and develop and adapt and do what I’ve said above, be wary and vigilant and trim the roots mixed between this need (help your customers grow) and this need (preserve the core of your mission, even if the expression of that mission changes).
Expose Yourself to Smarter People
All the time, I fall into the trap of working in my secret lair. I forget to go out and find smart people. NOT brain pickers. Smart people. Like you. I just spent a few hours with no specific agenda with lead generation expert Mike Damphousse. He fired me right up. Over the last few days, I’ve spoken to people like Marsha Collier and Adam Bornstein and Charlie Green and lots of others. Smart people are great. The more you expose your ideas to smarter people than you, the better those ideas will be, and the more you’ll adapt and change and grow and learn.
Sum This Up
Comfort is the enemy.
Your buyers are a map.
Stick to your roots.
Smart people rule.