Your business can only grow as big as the way you think about it

Your business can only grow as big as the way you think about it.

If what you've been doing until now is thinking of it as a bunch of technical things you have to hook together, that's only going to take you so far.

And the self-honesty required to admit this is where you’re really at...that's unfortunately rare.

“I'm making (some) money!” cries the coach.

Yeah, but…

If you want to level up, doing more of the same is NOT what's going to get you there.

Growth Attempts Ending In The Valley Of Death

The diagram below shows you quantities and revenue sizes of companies in the United States. Perhaps, as I was, you'll be surprised at just how few there are at the higher end.

verne harnish scaling up valley of death sales tactics business growth
(Scaling Up, Verne Harnish)

See the Valley of Death between each plateau?

That’s where you learn, adapt, change your thinking...or die.

This is why so many people try to grow, yet fail, collapse and fall back to the old plateau and say, “That didn't work.”

I've been around a long time. Been running my own business since 2012, after a 15 year corporate executive career. I've seen it all.

In the first several years of my business, until around 2016 when I worked for a full year with my main client being a Change Management consultant who only took care of companies of 1000+ staff, I talked “newbie talk.”

Meaning I shared tactics good for newbies. How to bring in your best prospect. How to qualify them. How to turn them into buyers. What to say. How to set up your sales page. What to write. The thing to say in the video sales letter.

All that stuff is still out there, in forum posts, videos and right here in blog entries. It's free.

No More Newbie Talk

Since then, as I scaled up in business, I moved on from “newbie talk.”

The things newbies struggle with don’t interest me anymore.

Instead, what I've been looking for over the past year or so are new ways of thinking.

People struggling with their business often find the treasures I bring back from this search “boring” and “philosophical.” That’s their mistake. And it’s entirely because of their billiard ball, “Newtonian Universe” point of view...that success is a matter of putting the right pieces together in the right order. That is simply not the case. That’s what newbies believe and what they concentrate on.

So anything else sounds like nonsense.

I admit it’s a bit frustrating. But occasionally someone comes along, someone usually with a lot of experience, who “gets it.”

One of the treasures I brought back--I went and Snagit-recorded about 25 minutes of this lecture--was a talk about how Germany, the Soviets, and the USA produced tanks in World War II.

Now what does that have to do with MY business, you say?

Well, it's an example of different THINKING.

Different Thinking About The Same Problem Leads To Different Results

The Germans built these fantastically-engineered war machines. High specifications. Many options. Very expensive...many times the cost of their enemies'. Long turnaround to complete production in factories with work stations rather than a single production line--much like a Boeing airplane today.

german world war 2 tank production scaling up business growth
(German tank production station, rather than automotive-style assembly line)

The Americans, lead by an amazing architect named Albert Kahn, designed single-line factories that made inexpensive, zero options, long production run vehicles to good tolerances.

The Soviets? Well, first of all they borrowed Albert Kahn. They were US allies at the time, seeing as Hitler was invading the heck out of the USSR. And they did a study. How long did a Soviet tank survive in the field?

They found out it was six months, and in combat 14 hours. So why build things to exacting tolerances?

The Soviets made factories that practically spat out good tanks. Made to acceptable tolerances, because who cares--they were going to be dead in six months or less. They focused on lowering costs, and boy did they lower them.

The end result was the USSR and USA churned out a ton of tanks and overwhelmed Germany’s production. The finely engineered tanks Germany produced ended up filled with unexpected road dust and out of commission half the time in the war in the east.

Can you see the differences in THINKING about their work here?

Can you see the TRAP Germany caught itself in with the desire for high tolerance, beautiful war machines?

Can you see how these modes of thinking might be overlaid on YOUR business...and which approach you might have been unconsciously using until now?

Say you're a coach. Have you been, without really thinking about it, running a:

A) highly customized, long deliverable, exacting program?

B) well designed but affordable, easy to fulfill program?

C) "gets the job done" (barely?), low cost, quick and dirty program?

Is this approach you've unconsciously taken on the right one to get you to the next level?

Are you ready to be self-honest, admit where you're at, see reality as it is...and adapt your way out of the plateau you've been hung up on, so you can move to the higher plateau you’ve been imagining?

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and conversion expert. To book a consultation with Jason, click here. <<


Choosing Your Sponsor Wisely for Sales Success

Choosing your sponsor wisely is even more important than I thought.

After 20+ years in the field I didn't expect to be surprised by anything in sales and project management. Peter Taylor's The Lazy Project Manager (not an affiliate link) has changed that.

The opening chapters of Peter's book have impressed upon me the significance of choosing your sponsor with care.

The question is not: "Can I make the sale?" It's: "How can I rig the game for success once we've made the sale?"

If you're a Hit And Run-type salesperson, I've probably lost you. But you'll find out quickly enough... throwing the ball down the field to the implementation team, without having set up the conditions for success, is a game plan for failure. The project team in charge of installing the solution may well improvise their way to a win but you sure have made it hard for them.

For those who care that what you sold is what gets delivered... Peter Taylor has described this key strategic element of the sale and execution in a way I haven't seen done before.

choosing your sponsor sales project management design
(Image by rawpixel from Pixabay)

The Impact Of Choosing Your Sponsor With Care

Whether we're in an academic setting and finding the right sponsor for our smallsat development project...

...or seeking the "buyer behind the buyer" who is the real executive customer up the food chain...

...having the right sponsor in place means the difference between having the support we need to achieve change -- or the unpleasant discovery that the project is doomed to fail (check out those percentages) because it lacks both intent and resources.

I spent most of 2016 working with a change management expert who only dealt with tech firms of 1000+ staff.

I saw how important getting the right sponsor in place was then, but my eyes and brain were focused more on operational issues of managing change. Looking back, he did a good job of what Peter Taylor recommends... and the results of his projects testified to his deliberate efforts up front.

Go get Peter's book. It'll chance the way you view sales as well as project management, and your success rates will rise if you implement his recommendations.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist. Book a time to talk with Jason about your situation by clicking here. <<


Value Of Reserves: The Unexpected Problem of 100% Utilization

Value of reserves is a concept frequently missed in the real world.

Think it's good to have all your resources hurtling along at 100% utilization? Think again.

Sounds good, doesn't it. Everything at work on your behalf. Nothing sitting around. Money, people, time. All maxed out.

And yet—

—what happens when you run into The Unexpected?

What then?

100% utilization means you have no reserves. Whether the scope of the issue is big or small, it means you're in trouble.

This is completely contrary to “logical thought”, isn't it! Let's look at a few examples, though, and you'll see the problem right away.

value of reserves army

Value of Reserves In The Corporate World

The first instance is one I've witnessed many times in the corporate world. Again and again it has also been brought to me by high level consultants I work with, like a Change Management expert who works with IT firms employing over 1000 people.

The firm has teams that are working on highly technical implementation projects for their own clients.

They have a handful of expert-level staff, who are naturally at 100% utilization. They are busy, locked down on one project or another.

And then something breaks.

Something in another project falls down, and that one expert's attention is not just needed but excruciatingly badly needed over there.

But the expert's plate is already full. There's no more of their time to give. If management's decision is to pull them off the project they're assigned to and put them onto the emergency, what happens?

Hue and cry. Expensive overtime. Unrecoverable critical task delay on Project A. Stress levels up on both projects, in other areas of the organization as well as for both clients.

If the company had planned to have some of their expert resources in reserve, all this would have been much lowered or completely avoided.

Value of Reserves In Your World

OK, Jason, you say. That's a big corporate example. But I run a little business. What about me?

This second example is in your world.

You're a business owner who does it all: sales through fulfillment, bookkeeping and bottle washing.

Your calendar is booked wall to wall and you respect your calendar. There's always something more to do. And your money...well, it's working at 100% utilization for you and there's nothing to spare.

So how can you ever grow?

To improve you need, say, to learn how to use a new CRM. Heck, first you have to pick that CRM. But you don't have time to research. And you don't have the extra money to jump on a deal for software even if you do find something tantalizing. Then you have to find the time to learn how to use the thing!

No reserves. Neither in your time or your money. Equals no maneuverability. No ability to grow. Stuck in the same day after day after day in your business, never working on your business.

My third example is even simpler, from the world of home renovation. A building contractor I was speaking with not long ago blurted, “If only I'd had a little more cash available, this renovation would have gone much more quickly!”

Now why did he say that?

Was he simply wishing for more money? I don't think so. His complaint matched up directly with the things I've seen an experienced elsewhere when it comes to the use of resources.

His problem was not just about buying supplies. It was about scheduling, managing, handling The Unexpected. All adding up to a big headache for HIM.

Understand the value of reserves.

Generals throughout history have known this value: they kept some of their units in reserve to plug gaps in the line and take advantage of opportunities.

Those reserves give you flexibility. They give you the ability to handle problems with lower levels of stress. And they let you move faster.

100% utilization seems to make logical sense. But it'll stress you out, limit your growth, and cause you a great deal of trouble if you pursue it as policy.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and founding partner of The Closing Engine. To book a two-call strategy & adjustment consultation package with Jason, click here. <<