I am sure you know someone who chases the latest shiny flavour of the month tactic and fails every time. I’m also sure you know some people who work really hard toward their goals, but never seem to get anywhere.
Today I want to help you avoid these problems so you can grow the business you really want.
It starts with getting off the “Tactic Treadmill”, but goes much deeper than that …
The Tactic Treadmill
People follow the buzz in forums and social media and believe they have found a shortcut that is going to make them instant bajillionares. This time.
The problem is the only outcome is to become jaded and have a little less money in the bank.
This “I just need the right tactic” thinking is something I call “Silver Bullet Poisoning” and the symptoms of frustration, the end goal being further from sight, and never sticking to one path might well be familiar to you.
But it doesn’t matter how much you warn people away from chasing tactics, from get-rich-quick schemes, and from following the herd, it is still the most alluring and addictive part of trying to become a successful entrepreneur, and of course at some point tactics are necessary.
So if tactics are necessary, we know there is as much rubbish as good discussed in forums, and we can see where the wrong path could take us, what is the correct approach?
I learned the hard way that there is much more that you need to put in place than loopholes, short cuts and spiffy new tactics if you want to make progress in your business.
What Goes Wrong and How to Avoid it
I first saw these patterns in myself, and then when coaching programmers, and more recently have helped dozens of people when coaching people in online marketing. I see it in my friends in the business, and in friends in other businesses.
- People go into business because they have a tradable skill but end up in so much demand that they practically (or actually) burn out. Rather than work to a scalable strategy they push that skill to the limit and sell every hour they have available, to the point where they are selling hours they never should be selling. Their health and family life suffer, but their business on the face of it looks successful. Until an injury or breakdown occurs. (A clear case of careful what you wish for). They wanted to get away from their horrible boss but end up being much harder to work for than any boss could ever be.
- A money-first mindset can be motivating for people who are competitive and want a “high score”, but it is ultimately unsatisfying for you and your customers as you might skip or overlook details and offer poor customer service in your drive for the next sale. Also, each score has to be higher than the last, otherwise you might feel defeated. It takes some introspection to realise these things are not always zero sum,someone else doesn’t have to lose for you to win. Those “hunter” instincts can be utilised in a healthy and productive way, thankfully.
- Addiction to starting projects can be a symptom of the “ooh shiny”. It gets your engines running and there is a thrill and excitement of planning and scheming. It could be the creative impulse or it could be the need to be open to every opportunity and possibility. We need to remember though we see success not in starting but following through. There are necessary details and effort before you see rewards. You might end up with many started projects but few completed ones if you are not careful. Also remember, you need to take care of your business, which means managing in accordance with your strategy and goals. If your market is aviation should you really be talking about that exciting dog grooming project?
There are more, obviously, and thankfully you can avoid these symptoms by doing things right and in the correct order …
What You Need to be a Complete Success in Business
- Mindset – Your psychology, your approach, the way you are best motivated, and your self-defeating thoughts all play into how much progress you will make, how easy it will come to you, and how happy you will be. If you get this right then things go much, much more smoothly and you have more fun. When things are wrong and left unchecked you get into real problems. Many of my coaching clients come to me without realising a lot of what is holding them back is self-inflicted. While I am not a therapist, and don’t want to be, this is the first thing we have to put back on course. The good news is though it doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. Ask yourself honestly what holds you back and how you have been successful in the past. Can you detect patterns? What is your true motivation?
- Goals – Once you have some mindset work done and you have a handle on your motivation and fears, then you can start setting goals. Here we have avoided a common roadblock I see all the time in my Authority Blogger course and coaching folks – people set their goals first without understanding how they operate and what they really want. Once they realise their mindset and shift it into a better gear, they wonder why they had their original goals in the first place. Don’t set out to conquer Everest if that’s not what you really want. As I said to one of my new coaching members, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it! You don’t necessarily need to be super formal with your goals but you do need to know where you are heading and other specifics. While you can and should course-correct, you are going to waste a lot of time and energy if you have no direction, or worse, the wrong direction.
- Strategy – Once you know where you are headed, then you need to decide and apply strategy. People say they have a strategy all the time, but do they really? Can you honestly say you are implementing a strategy? How long would it take to explain it clearly? Is it based on your mindset and goals, or just what is considered the “done thing” in your niche?
- Environment – A common factor in success and failure is the wrong environment. The more optimised the environment the better chance your mindset is good, you stay on track to your goals, and your strategy can be implemented successfully. This is everything from your work environment, through to your work-life balance, and your place in your market ecosystem (which should be a conscious effort by the way). To give one example, are the people in your network lifting you up or pulling you down?
- Skills – Now some people might consider tactics the final piece of this puzzle, but when you really look at a whole bunch of people selecting and implementing tactics as I have, you realise that it is not enough to just pick the right tool, you also have to be able to use it. What is brain-numbingly easy for one will be super challenging for someone else. My friends tend to be practical Mr Fix It types and I always feel foolish around them as they quickly mend broken engines and build stuff. Obviously in those contexts I feel a little ashamed, but I have to remind myself there are things I can do in IT that they could not fathom, so it’s not they are better than me, just different. We know this is true, but still if there is a tactic that people are talking about we think we have to do it, regardless of if it fits our style, abilities, strategy or environment. Only at this point in the list can you compare tactics, and only then decide if you want to master it or outsource it to someone more able to get a good result. Tactics are not something you just plug in and watch succeed, choose wisely based on the other decisions, and back them up with learned and practiced skill not half-hearted efforts.
Does this seem like common sense? It might well be, but it is seldom common practice!
Ask yourself if you are really getting the results you wanted or expected. Do you think this is the result of tactical choices or could there be other issues lurking?
You don’t have to work with me or any other coach to make a start on this yourself. Just take an objective look at what you are doing and go back to the first point.
- Do you feel a fraud that might be caught out at any moment?
- Are you resisting selling for fear of putting people off?
- Is there resistance or fear around money?
- Have you been procrastinating?
- .. and so on
Build on these answers and establish your true goals, the strategy that will most efficiently achieve them (while avoiding what you don’t want), the environment that suits those goals and that strategy, and the skills you need to implement, develop or acquire.
If you only focus on the tactics you might end up on a treadmill, working up a sweat but ultimately going nowhere!
Have you experienced any of this? What do you think? Please share in the comments …