Guest Expert Blog Post from Ellen Britt
As an online entrepreneur, how many times have you heard the advice to step out of your comfort zone? On the surface, this sounds good, but what does this really mean? And how, exactly do you do it?
Stepping out of your comfort zone into unfamiliar business territory can be a good thing. But if you’re not careful, you could be stepping right into trouble. As a business owner, you know you need to take action, but if a particular action is going to be detrimental to your business, then it’s better to do nothing.
So how do you know which actions are the correct ones? A Buddhist precept states that only “right actions” that have value. I have a whole set of business decision-making criteria, but for right now let’s focus on five of the most critical. Whenever you are considering implementing a new idea in your business, subject it to the following 5 questions by asking yourself:
- One – Will this idea leverage my strengths?
- Two – Is this idea aligned with my business vision and mission?
- Three – Will this idea generate fast cashflow?
- Four – Is this idea is repeatable?
- Five – Will this idea will help me progress toward my goals?
Let’s briefly look at each one of these criteria in a bit more detail:
1 – Leverages your strengths – Most entrepreneurs have no idea about what their true strengths are. They mistakenly think that strengths mean being good in a particular subject or having a specific skill, such as the ability to write good copy.
While specific skills can be important, they can also get in your way, as you believe you can do everything yourself. As a result, you are slow to get help and your business cannot grow as fast as you would like.
By strengths, I mean those qualities that come from a combination of your background, experience and personality. For example, one of my strengths is the ability to systhesize complex information from a variety of sources and simplify it for my clients and students.
One good way to get started on finding your strengths would be to get a copy of the book, Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, which also has an online strengths-finder component. Caution: if you purchase the book used or get it from your local library, the unique one-time code you need to take the online assessment many have already been used.
(Another book on finding your strengths is Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder 2.0 but be warned: When you take the online component, you only get your top 5 strengths, while the other 29 remain hidden. This book is a sales hook for your complete strengths list ranked in order for a whopping $550!)
2. Aligned with your business vision and mission – An idea can be good…great in fact, but if it’s not aligned with the vision and mission of your business, you should have serious reservations about implementing it.
3. Generate fast cashflow – This one depends on where you are in your business. If you are just starting, and need to generate immediate cashflow, then this would be a priority. If you are in need of more stable, long-term income, then you might change the question to read “Will this idea generate long-term income?”
4. Repeatable – Listen, you are going to put in a certain amount of time, effort and perhaps money into any idea you choose to implement. Why not pick ideas that are repeatable instead of “one-shot wonders.” A idea that is repeatable is very likely to be easier to implement the second time around.
5. Progress toward your goals – If an idea, no matter how appealing, is going to sidetrack you on your way to your business goals, you should gently but firmly let it go. Sometimes this means saying “no” and disappointing colleagues who want you to become involved in a project.
Let’s face it: Ideas are seductive, especially when they are your own. Running your ideas through each of these five questions will help you keep on track and not get lost in chasing something that will ultimately prove unprofitable and time consuming.
And that, my friend, is definitely a good idea!
Award-winning Online Marketing Strategist and Amazon best-selling author Dr. Ellen Britt is the co-founder of Marketing Qi, helping savvy women entrepreneurs (and a few cool men!) develop the business strategies they need to get the success they want. Ellen specializes in mentoring her clients to see their businesses strategically and then guides them to combine the results with a custom, highly leveraged business model designed to produce immediate cash flow and continued profits. Grab her highly acclaimed “digital conversation” Zen and the Art of Email List Building, free for the asking at http://www.MarketingQi.com
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Hi Ellen! This is great information. I am in the process of doing some “redesign” on my own business so the timing of this is idea. Thanks especially for including #2–I have discovered that a lot of ideas, while they are good ones, they’re just not good ones for my business model and vision. I’m now learning to listen to that and either revamp the idea so it’s a fit or simply pass on it for another time or business venture 🙂
Thanks Holly! Yes, in the past I’ve allowed myself to get off track by that very thing….a great idea that didn’t fit into my business model.
So glad this was helpful to you!