IT FINALLY BECAME CLEAR AS TO WHY I STARTED MY BUSINESS!
What’s interesting, is that I reached this epiphany though, long after I had actually started my business!
Now you might be thinking that this is not how its done, and to some degree you are right.
However, over the years sharing my story with other entrepreneurs and founders, I have discovered something quite profound.
It doesn’t really matter whether the initial reason or driver for starting your business is your “why”, or it comes later!
What does matter is this…
At some point on your entrepreneurial journey, you do need to get to a place where you have a compelling “why”, if you are to be in this, for the long run.
If you don’t get this, you will not succeed because there is nothing there to sustain you.
What this means then, is that your “why” needs to be visceral.
It needs to be on a level that you are deeply connected with what you are doing and the difference or contribution you are making, or will be making and whenever you are speaking about your business, others can see, hear and feel your passion and conviction.
Now of course this means different things to different people.
Just think about Richard Branson and Bill Gates – both very different personalities, though successful entrepreneurs.
That’s because it’s got to be you – your authentic self, and sometimes that takes a lot of deep soul searching to really find out what that is for you.
BEWARE OF FALSE GODS
Because there are complications in seeking your “why”, and it is these same complications that initially prevented me from reaching clarity about the reasons for starting my own business, let alone scaling it.
Simply, there are false gods that will distract you from your real path!
What I am talking about are the things that you think are important or matter, but are actually only superficial.
For example, collecting job titles are misinterpreted as real achievements, when in reality, they are often influenced by our ego.
Also, while there are things that motivate you to move away from (like a mean boss) that gets you to take initial action do serve a purpose, it is the things that pull you forward to a place you would rather be is what is essential for your entrepreneurial journey in the longer term.
Much of this of course can be put down to what Tony Robbins describes as motivators of “pain & pleasure” and “the six human needs”, in which one or two of these six needs will be more dominant for you.
For example, for me it was initially about “significance” and “variety” that drove me to do what I do.
However, only when I started to reflect on the bigger picture, I realised it was more about “growth” and ultimately “contribution” that I was really seeking – it just took a lot of years of living to figure that one out!
So, this very personal journey of mine in self-awareness of “why” I started and continue to grow & scale my business, led me to realise that there are basically three steps to figure all this out…
THE 3 STEPS TO DEFINING YOUR “WHY”
Step 1 – What’s Your Big Dream (Vision)
The first step you need to do, is to figure out what your “big dream” is. You vision.
Now what I mean by this is, what is it that you can see (or visualise) yourself doing in your future? What do you want to become? What are you prepared to stand up for?
It’s a relatively simple question, but not easy to answer if that makes sense because you must give yourself time to reflect and maybe even experience a few things until you arrive at your understanding of what this is for you.
Remember, this is about you and your dream, not somebody else’s, because it is your guiding beacon to keep you focused that aspires you to move forward!
What’s your big dream?
Step 2 – What’s Your Reason For Living (Purpose)
The term “ikigai” combines two Japanese words: iki (生き) meaning “life or alive” and kai (甲斐) meaning “worth or benefit” to arrive at “a raison d’etre” – or reason for living.
It is also in the culture of Okinawa, where ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning” – a reason to enjoy life.
Because ultimately, we want to take your “big dream” and craft it in a way where it is your Profession, your Vocation, your Passion, and your life Mission.
What’s your “philosophy of life” (your purpose)?
Step 3 – What’s The Impact You Will Make (Mission)
Last for step three, is to think about what sought of impact specifically, that you want to make.
For example, Rotary International with later support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, mission is to eliminate polio from the face of the planet. In comparison, a client of The Startup Business, is working to provide affordable green energy solutions in their region, knowing that they are playing a role in reducing global carbon emissions.
What’s your mission?
These three steps work together to provide you with the necessary clarity as you start, setup, scale, and sustain your business into the future.
HOW I FINALLY DISCOVERED MY “WHY”
I said earlier that I discovered my “why” for starting my business long after I actually started it.
Where this happened though, was even more surprising…
Flowing through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, & Vietnam, the Mekong River is the twelfth longest river in the world.
There I was, travelling solo along this great river delta through Cambodia, hitching a ride on an old fishing boat, with the hot sun beating down on me and the noise and smell of a diesel motor running constantly in the background.
Nevertheless, I could quietly reflect on the landscape passing by. Rice paddies, banana plantations, small villages with their houses built on ten-metre-high stilts, women washing clothes, men fixing nets, children swimming.
At this very peaceful moment of sitting back and observing life go by, I was suddenly struck by a sense of lack of satisfaction from what I had been doing professionally.
You see, much was around achieving things, but in all reality, little fulfilling. For years I had been helping businesses become more efficient but doing this and working for somebody else which typically meant trade-offs and even at times, compromising on my personal values.
So in that moment of great clarity on the Mekong River, I thought what if I keep doing what I am really good at, but on my terms, not on somebody else’s, and focus only on the types of projects and initiatives that I am really passionate about that can make a long lasting contribution to society… maybe even the planet?
I then wrote in my diary “I want to live and contribute, anywhere, at any time”.
While these words may not mean anything to you, they serve as the foundation, of my “why”, and what drives me today.
What drives you?
IMAGINE KNOWING THAT EVERY DAY YOU ARE MAKING AN IMPACT
I fundamentally believe that we all have a purpose. We are all here to make a contribution. We are here to make a difference. In a positive way. It’s just that you may not know what it is right now.
But imagine, if today you did know what your “why” is. Do you think that could make a difference to where you and your business is currently at?
I believe it would, and that’s why I am so passionate in sharing these ideas because it made a huge difference for me and my business.
You see, I believe in Learn, Lead, Legacy and being a force for good.
Because you must continue to Learn today as we are living in ever-changing and disruptive times.
But of course, learning and not stepping up, is not an option today. As much as this may take you out of your comfort zone, you must step up and Lead, and when you do, you lead by example.
You be the standard that others look up to
Lastly, and most importantly to us, is what we do. Because what we seek to achieve is to be sustainable and to make a difference, an impact, a Legacy.
That’s why we do what we do.
ARE YOUR READY TO GROW & SCALE YOUR BUSINESS?
If you ready to Grow & Scale your business or professional practice fast, differentiate your business, increase revenue, reduce costs, future proof, and create long term business value, then speak to one of our experts or Dr Ross McKenzie in your confidential business consultation.
To get started, email: email@example.com or click on this link to book your appointment now…
RESERVE YOUR CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS CONSULTATION WITH DR ROSS MCKENZIE
About The Startup Business
The Startup Business is the premier business community for The New Economy. It’s a place where you can learn how to build a business, market like a pro, connect with industry experts, and get the strategies and tools you need to grow and scale your business to new heights.
Founded by Dr Ross McKenzie, The Startup Business helps Professionals, Entrepreneurs, SMBs, SMEs, and select Corporate clients, overcome the big challenges of The New Economy to Grow & Scale their businesses, so that they can make a difference.
THE BIG CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME…
★ Differentiate Your Business
★ Increase Your Business Revenue
★ Reduce Your Business Costs
★ Future Proof Your Business
★ Create Long Term Business Value
THE RESULTS OUR CLIENTS HAVE ACHIEVED…
★ 20% Average Client Customer Growth
★ 37% Average Revenue Increase
★ 29% Average Cost Reduction
★ 23% Average Profit Increase
★ 30% Average Growth In Overall Business Value
THE SOLUTIONS WE PROVIDE…
★ Business & Technology Education
★ Entrepreneur Mentoring & Coaching
★ Startup & Business Advisory
★ Automation & Outsourcing
THE IMPACT WE ARE MAKING…
★ 1021 Clients Helped So Far
★ 30+ Years In The Game
★ 19 Countries Where Our Clients Are From
★ 102 Thought Leadership Articles Written
★ 120 Hours Free Training Provided Each Year
With customers around the globe, we aspire to become one of the world’s most trusted voices sharing the best of what works in The New Economy.
Why You Need To Look At Your Digital Marketing Differently
Make no mistake, you need to be continually striving for high performance, in your digital marketing efforts to be able to cut through all the noise. However, this does not mean you need to have millions of dollars in resources to do this. In fact, even the smallest of businesses, can dominate their specific category or niche if they implement digital marketing effectively.
The problem however is that most smaller businesses and startups do not understand all the aspects that are required. This is also compounded by the reality there is so much information available – its like where do you start!
The Four Areas Of Your Digital Marketing Ecosystem
Over the years working with my clients, I realised many of them tended to focus on only one part of their digital marketing strategy. This was driven largely by my client’s individual bias or paradigms. However, what this lead to, were sub optimal outcomes. Because there are four broad areas that need to be addressed when implementing the practicalities of an effective or high performing digital marketing strategy.
These four areas are…
- Front-End Activities – these include things like creating content for social media or web sites
- Back-End Activities – these include setting up opt in pages and email sequences
- Non-Technical Activities – these include things like posting content on social media or web sites
- Technical Activities – these include search engine optimisation, automation, and risk management
Think of this as a 2×2 matrix or quadrant, where activities could be either: Quadrant I – Front-End & Non-Technical, Quadrant II – Front-End & Technical, Quadrant III – Back-End & Non-Technical and last, Quadrant IV Back-End & Technical
Based on our own research with our clients, most understand quadrant I well, with progressively deteriorating results for the other three quadrants.
The 6 Digital Marketing Levers
Throughout my professional background I have had a strong interest in the concept of “capability maturity”. Whether this be in the practice of Project Management, Business Analysis, Outsourcing, Change Management, or even Innovation, the fundamental concept is understanding how good you are and then implementing specific actions to improve even further. However, to do this, you must break down the “whole” into manageable “parts”. Also, you need to have insights into what is best practice – we call these benchmarks.
Coming from this perspective, I expanded the four quadrants and created something called The 6 Levers Of High Performing Digital Marketing™. This is a capability maturity model or framework, that helps our clients rapidly improve their own digital marketing performance in a short period of time.
Also, these 6 levers support both the Non-Technical and Technical Activities of your digital marketing strategy – the first three being largely Non-Technical, and the last three Technical Activities…
- Style – this is about projecting your brand and positioning
- Substance – this is to show your value and uniqueness
- Shareability – this is ensuring it is easy to share your content, may be make it go viral and have others promote you
- Structure – this is to ensure the most relevant content is easily accessible and responsive when it is requested
- SEO – this is to ensure the basics of SEO are always in place and you are continually raising the bar to more advanced SEO techniques
- Safety – this is to protect your intellectual property but also against potential vulnerabilities whether this be legal, technical, or even criminal
The 6 Digital Marketing Focus Areas
You can immediately apply these 6 levers to your existing digital marketing strategy for your business. Just allocate ten points to each lever (a total of 60 points available) and then ask yourself on a score of 1 to 10, how well do you think you are performing for each lever.
What was your score?
Now of course you do not have any benchmark data to compare with, so what you think is really good, may be some bodies else’s really bad. That said, this exercise will still give you a good indication how you may be performing and where there are opportunities for improvement.
We use a slightly more complex framework that distinguishes the Front-End Activities from the Back-End Activities with six focus areas…
- Social – this includes your social media channels
- Sites – this includes your websites
- Sales – this includes your opt in pages and sales offers
- Sequences – this includes all your automated email sequences
- Search – this includes your search engine ranking
- Sway – this is your overall influence
By combining the six focus areas with the six levers, we can expand our original 2×2 matrix or quadrant to identify 36 specific activities! This level of detail, combined with our benchmarking, helps our clients easily implement a high performing digital marketing strategy by identifying what they are doing really well, and not so well or not at all.
Your Action Plan To Achieve High Performance
Now none of this should be difficult for you to get your head around, or to implement into your own business, now that we have a “system” to address it. Because that was our goal when we created The 6 Levers Of High Performing Digital Marketing™. A systemised approach to break down complexity into simple parts, which we then improve, resulting in high performance outcomes.
To take this further and improve your current Digital Marketing Strategy Performance, there are a couple of things you can do.
- Do your own self-assessment, as suggested, across the six levers, to give yourself a starting point
- Attend our monthly Digital Marketing Reviews where we do a case study assessment in real time, via a LIVE video teleconference where you can ask questions
- Request a meeting with us where we can discuss your specific needs and how we may be able to help you
Finally, remember this to help you in your journey that excellence and high performance in digital marketing is not the result of chance and good luck. It comes from strategy, disciplined execution, and an unstoppable desire to be great.
How To Get Things Done In Your Business…
Yes that’s right goal setting … it sucks – well at least to me that is!
Like how many business workshops have you participated in, where you set those great goals, probably had some good food to eat, maybe held an “offsite” (though I did enjoy the Tongariro Fishing Lodge in New Zealand’s North Island once) and then several months later, there was a catastrophic event, or your boss moved on, or simply there were just other priorities like your day job, and everything else went out the window?
Are yes, you are now starting to remember those transformation road map workshops aren’t you! Floor to ceiling white boards, breakout rooms, artists, bean bags… maybe you even had to play act or paint a picture of your future business vision?
Like what is that?
Years ago, I remember being introduced to “BHAG’s” which stood for Big Hairy Audacious Goals!
What about stretch goals? These are the goals that you should aim for, but its OK if you miss them because you have your other goals in place and will not impact your bonus.
Come on now, do we really make this stuff up?
OK… sounds like I am a little skeptical – I know, but ask yourself this, how often did you hit your goals?
What about on a personal front?
New Year resolutions anybody?
Look, if you are like me, you are probably being bombarded right now by emails and Facebook posts, on setting up 2018 the “right way” (what ever that means) and if you do not download this planner, or attend this goal workshop you might as well not start 2018. Just skip it because nothing will happen for you – you have already failed!
Well at least for me, after years of creating life goals and plans but not actually achieving anything, I realised I had to start thinking differently about all this and importantly find a way where I actually did get real results – a completely and perhaps counter intuitive way, but one that worked for me.
Let me explain…
You see I think the focus has to be around what I call “disciplined execution“, if your business or personal goals are to be achieved. This is about ensuring your actions are always aligned in supporting your goals and they become non negotiable.
But the powerful element in all this, at least for me, was accountability
Keeping your intentions to yourself will not work, because it is too easy to walk away.
I realised when I looked back at everything I had achieved, it was when I made a public statement or commitment about my intentions – because for me, it was much about the feeling of potential guilt, shame, saving face, call it what you want, that lay ahead if I did not act, that motivated me more, than the possible joy of seeing myself reach that particular milestone.
Crazy stuff I know, but the more I listened to people like Tony Robbins, or conversations with others about the importance of “accountability”, the more I could see how true this was!
The Four Steps
In essence, accountability will drive you forward, so make sure you follow these four steps to getting things done in your business (or personal life) …
- Know what you are seeking to achieve (outcome)
- Understand what you are committing to do in order to achieve it (action)
- Share how you are progressing (accountability)
- Finally celebrate and learn what happened (result)
Think of accountability also as a coach. As you progress on your journey, you have the accountability “check ins” to ensure you stay on the path.
I also use these “accountability boards” (this image is of my 2018 accountability board – already in place) where specific scheduled action is visible for all to see – in other words, I hold myself accountable to these actions and I invite you to check in on me!
Finally, there is a fifth aspect to all of this, of which has also taken time for me to figure out. This is the distinction between what is “achievement” versus “fulfillment” in which it speaks to more about why you do what you do…
The first part of my career, it was all about achievement, but now it is fulfillment that drives me in why I do what I do!
Perhaps you might like to also set up your own accountability board to drive momentum and have a great 2018, but importantly do great things and make a difference!