You have the opportunity to turn the corner with your business in the near future. An opportunity to unlock some excitement. An opportunity to tap into the interests of the people your business was made to serve. But, as the song goes, you've been “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Or as Eddie Murphy would say, “Wookin Pa Nub.”
You spend a lot of time looking for a competitive edge. You're looking in blog posts, business books, podcasts and in Facebook groups, consuming everything you can to find THE THING that will provide you with that TIPPING POINT where everything will begin to change and all of your efforts to build your business will finally pay off. The floodgates shall be opened and everything you ever wanted in business will suddenly happen.
That does actually happen. The Tipping Point is a real thing:
“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” ~Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
However, it is not something that can be found in an article or a book. It's not something a consultant can teach you. You won't even find it in this newsletter (but keep reading it anyway, okay??)
Because, at the risk of sounding uber corny (hey, I can't be cool ALL the time), the competitive edge you are looking for is within you. Yup, just like THE FORCE was inside Luke all along, your competitive edge is on the inside. And if you take the time to find it, your business will look very different a year from now, five years from now, and dare I say, 10 years from now … we'll all be saying “we knew you when …”
So how do you find it? How do you find that thing that is going to give you your edge in the marketplace?
You simply ask yourself a very simple question: ‘why‘?
Why on Earth are you building this business? What even is the point of it all anyway? Seriously? What is the point? Why? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you care about solving the problem you solve?
The answer to that question is your competitive edge. The answer to that question is what will make clients of your services and customers of your products flock to you in hordes and beg you to take their money.
Because, as Simon Sinek taught in his great TEDx talk, “the beliefs and values of your business are why people will follow you, pay attention to what you're doing and why they will buy from you.”
You have to start with why. Don't start with “we sell web design and have many years of experience at the most well-regarded New York agencies and our clients love us and we'll make everything you do look pretty.”
Instead start with why: “We believe that small businesses have big ideas that can change the world. We believe that great design is not a “nice to have” but a necessary element of communication. Without great design, the big ideas of small businesses will not be heard. We're here to make sure you are heard and that your big ideas have a big impact on the world.”
Which statement would make you hire this company?
I've got my own why for creating Rodgers Collective, a law firm/think tank (whoever heard of a law firm/think tank anyway?). Here's my why:
With the technology and resources made available to us via the Internet, it has never been easier to build a business. And there have never been more people not knowing what the hell they are doing while trying to build their own businesses. I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs flounder for years. YEARS! Years spent attempting to build a solid, legitimate business that makes an impact on the community it serves and on its owner's life (financially, intellectually, emotionally) but not having much success.
Furthermore, the 2010 Census indicates that while women-owned businesses represented nearly 50% of privately held companies in the U.S., the majority, (75%) reaches only $50,000 in annual gross revenues or less. 75% of women-owned businesses do not generate more than $50,000 in total revenue.
My response to that: hell naw!
Rodgers Collective believes that anyone with a great idea can build a successful business if they have access to the right tools and the right resources. Rodgers Collective exists to be that resource and to provide those tools. And we are especially passionate about being that resource to women and minority-owned businesses, who historically have less access to the people, the capital and the tools needed to build a $1 million+ business.
Your why shows.
Because we put our beliefs and what we stand for front and center, we are able to launch new lines of business that are aligned with our beliefs and have them sell out in short periods of time. For example, we began offering business coaching in late November, we now have a full roster of 10 coaching clients (we just filled our last spot yesterday) and are starting a waiting list (get on it if you'd like me to help you grow your business in 2016).
So how can you get in touch with your why and make it a part of everything you do?
Step 1: Ponder your why. It's very simple, spend some time thinking about why you are in business in the first place. You might want to go for a walk or a drive (or maybe just take a bath) while you consider what is the driving force that caused you to start your business. Give it some time and let it ruminate. Once you've answered why, ask why again. Keep drilling it down until your heart starts beating fast, then you've got your answer.
Step 2: Write it down. Yep, that's it. Just record it.
Step 3: Edit it into an articulable set of beliefs and principles that can guide your company. Once you've got your why written down, then it's time to edit it into a mission statement or a list of beliefs that your company stands for. Share this with your team, your clients and on your website. Let the world know why you do what you do – start with why.
Great leaders, like Steve Jobs and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., told us what they believe and it's why we wanted to follow them. Because we believe it, too. When you start with why, your people – the people who believe what you believe – will flock to you and buy from you.
So figure out your why, write it down and edit into a set of beliefs that you can share with the world. Figure out why getting to that next level in your business even matters to you. Otherwise, nothing you read in this newsletter (or listen to on our podcast or watch on RRTV) will work for you. Your competitors will kick your ass if they are connected to their why and know exactly why they want to solve the problem your businesses are meant to solve and you don't.
What's your why? Want to share it with me? I'm all ears.