You’re smart enough and good enough but your business is sucking wind

Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit where the character would stand in front of the mirror and say, “I’m good enough.  I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”  Well, I wish that were enough to be successful in business – but it’s not.

I just spoke with a new author.  She’s done a really good job of writing; did all the hard work and has a beautiful book in her hands.  And now she’s wondering how to sell more than the 10 copies she can count on from friends and family.

business woman with positive chart

It takes more than smarts to be successful

As I talk with people who are growing in success I keep seeing essential components we can identify that will make us even more successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re a graphic designer, bookkeeper, artist, writer, speaker, computer programmer, web designer, attorney, dentist, coach, inventor or CEO, you can take a look at these elements and see how you’re doing.  

Whether you have 1 customer or 10,000 you can look at your job, self-employment, or business to see how you’re engaging your skills to make money and make the world a better place.

You can’t just be good at writing, speaking, designing, fixing teeth, or drawing beautiful paintings.  There are 4 essential parts required for continued success:

Rank yourself 1-100% on how well you are doing in each of these areas

1.  Define Uniqueness – Focus your passion

What is it that makes you unique?  How do you stand out from the crowd?  There can be lots of others in the same arena but something has to make you distinguishable.  Define that:

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My ranking in this area __________ %

My plans for raising my effectiveness in this area include:

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2.  Build Authority – Grow your craft and confidence

What have you done that allows people to see your work? Do you have examples of your books, instructional manuals, audio products, tables, chairs, art pieces, speeches, landscaping, inventions, blogs, podcasts, client testimonials, etc.

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My ranking in this area __________ %

My plans for raising my effectiveness in this area include:

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3.  Establish Your Voice – Expand your audience and connect

How are you building your audience?  Who is listening to you now?  Are you active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN?  Are you creating a regular newsletter, blog or podcast?  Are you active on social networking sites like 48Days.net?  Are you commenting regularly on other similar blogs, podcasts and websites?  What workshops, seminars and conferences will you attend this year?  How would you rank yourself compared to others in the same industry or profession?

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My ranking in this area __________ %

My plans for raising my effectiveness in this area include:

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4.  Leverage and Prosper – Deliver your work, give people what they want

How are you delivering your work on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?  What books have you written? How many houses have you built?  How many clients do you have currently?  What are you doing right now to build an inventory of your products or services?  How could you duplicate your core message with products other than what you offer now?

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My ranking in this area __________ %

My plans for raising my effectiveness in this area include:

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When I did this recently with a brainstorming group, I ranked myself at 94%, 85%, 40%, and 70% in these four areas.  I see so many ways I could be better in the last two areas.  We’re exploring the new opportunities in Facebook advertising, being more active about writing for magazines and other websites, attending some strategic conferences, and building relationships with some other key players in my arena.  We are expanding member interaction in the 48Days.net community.  We now have the 10th Anniversary Edition of 48 Days to the Work You Love in hand – and I am now ready to create videos, seminar and the new Leader’s Guide.

It doesn’t matter if you have 1 customer (employed in traditional job) or if you are attempting to attract thousands, you can use this model to identify the areas where you can focus for improvement.

We’ve got an additional list of 18 Questions for Being Successful in Your Own Venture.  Just go to 48Days.com/freedom and you can get that list instantly.  The more questions you answer “Yes” to the better your chances of success.

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  • Love it! Thanks for sharing Dan and looking forward to the download!

  • Dan

    Are there other effective ways of building an audience besides Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? I realized that when I had a Facebook page I found it unexpectedly repelling. I took it down after about a month. Blogging seemed excessively high maintenance regarding weeding out all the robot commenters. I don’t need (or want) 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 followers. Perhaps I will chat about this with my coach, but thanks for any insight.

    • Dan,
      I fear you’re painting yourself into a corner. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, podcasting and speaking are all effective ways to build an audience. But no system is perfect. I build my business model on the expectation that 96% of the people in my audience will never spend a penny, some will complain, some will hate me, some will accuse me of unreasonable things – but the other 4% will allow my life to be pretty good. I just don’t know how to find the 4% without allowing all the rest to be in the playground.

      • Jevonnah Ellison

        Such a great point Dan. I was just talking with a client this morning who feared “putting herself out there” and possibly attracting some of everyone to her audience. Since she hardly has an audience yet, it’s wise to embrace effective ways and systems to build it. We limit our success when we have a negative viewpoint and refuse to even try. Let the wheat and tare grow together is the verse that comes to mind.

        • Ah – the wheat and tare together. That’s a great reference.

        • Lady J, I agree. We limit our success when we don’t even try. Fear does keep people back. I have a client right now that is hesitate to approach companies with her program because she is not certified yet. I just finished telling her, you will not know the response until you ask. You don’t ask, you don’t get. You never know what will happen until you ask. Therefore, I gave her a few recommendation to get her foot in the door without focusing on the certified part. I can’t wait to hear her results.

          • Jevonnah Ellison

            Thanks for sharing Angela! Well said. Your client is so blessed to have you.

    • Tom Schwab

      Dan, I feel your pain. There are so many places the experts say you “must be” when the truth is you need to be where your ideal customers already are. Years ago my teenage daughter once told me I needed to market on Instagram. That is where she and her world was, but since they were not my ideal buyer persona even if I did it perfectly it wouldn’t have driven traffic, engaged leads or made sales. Focus on attracting who you can delight. As for the robo comments, adding a CAPTCHA plugin to your blog comments should greatly reduce them.

      • Dan

        Tom..Thank you. It’s true that the people I want to reach don’t spend their days entranced at the next message from social media announcing that someone “just got out of the shower”. So when you say I need to be where the “..ideal customers already are” helps me immensely. Additionally, I like the way you say to focus on attracting who you can delight. That changed everything for me. You sir, are a prince. Thanks for the boost!

  • Tom Schwab

    Dan,

    This is great and spot on. People and businesses don’t fail because they are not smart enough or work hard enough. Most of the time it’s because 1) they don’t have and follow a clear plan and 2) they don’t have a system that works. Right now there are 22-year-old High School graduates running nuclear power plants in the Navy. Fo rover 6 decades they’ve been doing it safely and effectively. It consistently works because there is a system in place they can learn, understand and follow. My experience has shown me that it’s often harder to run a business than a nuclear power plant. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough and you work hard enough. What we all need is a plan to follow and a system that works

    • Tom,
      I know that’s been challenging for me – to not rely on just good intentions, passions and energy – but to have a good system. Thanks for your comments.