The Entrepreneur’s Leap of Faith
You have decided. Your heart beats fast; your palms are sweaty. You’re about to leap into the relative unknown. Exhilaration. Excitement. And a bit of terror. You feel it all!
You are alive–maybe for the first time! You control your fate, for better or worse. You have taken the leap of an entrepreneur. You are now driving your life instead of your life driving you.
But then it hits you and you think, What the hell am I doing?!?
Congratulations and welcome to the club!
“Ideas That Matter Spread”
She wrote a phenomenal post entitled “The iPhone Doesn’t Matter to Everyone” (Isn’t that a great title?).
In this post she discusses Seth Godin’s quote “Ideas that Spread Win.”
Bernadette goes further by asserting that “Ideas that matter spread,” and she goes encourages the reader to engage and expand ideas that matter.
I can’t tell you how eye-opening this simple maxim was for me! As entrepreneurs, we spend SO much time building brands and platforms and engaging social contacts through a plethora of social media, and we sometimes lose track of the primary thing.
Focus on the Fundamentals
In high school, I had a basketball coach who constantly harped on us to do layups and free throws. He would quote the percentage of free throws the average player misses. ”That’s the difference between a win and a loss!” He would yell across the gym as we ran layup after layup.
“You gotta focus on the fundamentals,” he repeated often.
The Entrepreneur’s Worst Mistake
What is the fundamental mistake most of us as small business owners make? We do too much to reach too many.
Don’t do too much to try to reach too many
You do not have to reach everyone! Your product isn’t for everyone. The entrepreneur who asserts that his or her market is “everyone in the world” is being lazy and unfocused (or both!).
This is the entrepreneur’s worst mistake because it dilutes her message and obscures her purpose. Therefore, the people who really do need and want her product or service miss it because they do not even realize it is for them.
I made this mistake in my own business. I was trying to create and maintain (multiple) websites while building a FB fanpage following, a Twitter platform, a LinkedIn presence, a YouTube channel. I am blogging for two blogs, I am launching a brand new book and trying to simultaneously launch a professional speaking career.
I was having fun, but I was also doing too much activity for the mediocre results I was getting. It was madness.
The Business Owner’s Chief Responsibility
What is your responsibility, then? The primary purpose is to clarify your purpose and connect to those who share it. Period.
You must spend your time and energy only on efforts that will create a clearer picture of the purpose of your business and that will connect more quickly and effectively to those who share the values and mission of your business.
You are the guardian of your business. You are the gatekeeper. This is the job only you can do. Your accountant cannot safeguard the values of your business. Your assistant is not responsible for the direction of your business. You are.
A Fundamental Adjustment
As a small business owners, we have to be able to keep one eye on our objective, and at the same time be evaluating our efforts and making adjustments. We have to be able to see the inefficiencies and correct them as we go.
If we can’t, we must surround ourselves with people we trust who can see these things and point them out to us.
So, when we find ourselves making the mistake of trying to be “everything to every person,” it is time to adjust.
As Bernadette pointed out, decide what matters and why, and focus your energies in that direction. Everything else needs to be delegated or released.
The Entrepreneur’s Primary Fears
1. A Wide Net
We mistakenly think that we must cast as wide a net as possible to be successful in our marketing endeavors. I think–at least in my experience–this comes from a feeling of insecurity.
When I am insecure about my person, product or plan (did you like that on-the-spot alliteration?), I tend to fear that I won’t “get” the right people.
The remedy? Clarify. Focus. Strengthen yourself, first. Then focus on your product and your plan. This will give you clarity and confidence that will be effervescent in your dealings in the market.
You won’t have to “get” people to pay attention, they’ll be attracted to the power of your idea (if it matters to you–and to them–for a powerful reason).
2. I Won’t Be Seen/Heard…
This, too, comes from insecurity or could also spring from distraction by all the activity around us. When I’m focusing on what everyone else is doing (or not doing) in their business, I become a clone of mediocrity.
It’s impossible to be excellent without being focused.
The remedy? You will be heard. Your responsibility is to do the work. Your faith, then, must trust that the rest will fall into place as you put yourself in the path of serendipity. Plan your luck!
Those who are meant to hear your message will do so, the rest will pass by. That’s okay.
The most successful businesses in our society (Apple, Disney, Amazon, Facebook, Oprah) thrive because their message reaches a relatively small fragment of the world’s population.
If you want the success of the big businesses, do not try to reach the world. Instead, find a message that matters to you at the soul level and find out why. Then, simply find the other people to whom this message matters as well.
Seth Godin says, in his book Tribes (Amazon affiliate link), that a “tribe” of 1,000 will give you more business than you can ever handle. Set your mind to find and service your thousand with excellence and others will beat down your door to be allowed into the tribe.
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