Finding KansasJun 23, 2021
By Dino Tartaglia.
In the classic film, The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland’s character, Dorothy, finds herself and Toto, her pet dog, in a mysterious and often dangerous land, having been whipped away by a cyclone from her home in Kansas, USA.
She discovers that the land is called ‘Oz’ and can best be helped in her quest to return home by the great and powerful Wizard, who resides in the Emerald City.
Dorothy is told that she merely has to ‘follow the yellow brick road’ and she will arrive at the Emerald City, and this surety, this certainty of the ‘magic’ of the yellow brick road - that it will take you to where you want to go - is what spurred us to build this idea into our coaching model at Success Engineers.
The plain truth is that you need to have your destination dialled in as a critical part of your Business Plan. The bit that most people miss is that unless you’re goal-driven, the REAL purpose of setting that destination, your version of the Emerald City, is to give you direction.
Because without that direction, we have nowhere for your ‘yellow brick road’ to go.
And without a yellow brick road to follow, how DO you give purpose AND direction to your activities, day-on-day?
The simple fact is that in order to be successful, you need direction, and for that, you must have Clarity. Having gained Clarity, you need a Plan. Once you have a Plan you need to execute it, you need a process, and you must Do The Work.
And that’s where things get tricky!
In Q1 of this year, we covered our 3-Step Process:
1. Get Clarity
2. Get a Plan
3. Get to Work
We dug into getting Clarity and building out a Plan for your business. And then came the tricky topic of Doing The Work ... consistently.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve covered the things you need to be aware of in order to avoid being tripped up by a lack of understanding, buying your own story and trying to force outcomes (think how much you want [and might push for] that sale when the client isn’t fully invested in you and is likely to be a real pain in the neck).
We figured out last month that you don’t decide your future; you build your habits, and your habits decide your future. We are what we repeatedly do (or don’t do).
Here’s the thing …
You may be struggling with some aspects of your behaviour. Some things might really frustrate you. But the good news is that, irrespective of this, you ARE enough, and have all that you need for where you are.
To get to where you want to go, however - your version of ‘Kansas’ - chances are high that you’re going to need to be MORE of who you are; a better, more business-savvy version of you.
You ... but just ... Better You.
- Better Business Acumen
- Better Habits
- Better Levels of Courage
- Better Consistency
- Better Awareness
- Better Decisions
Which will naturally lead to you being able to Build a Better Business. Now, note that I didn’t say Build a BIGGER Business. Glad you spotted that ;)
Why is this important?
Because in order to get to where you want to go, in order to enable your business to become the vehicle that delivers more of What Matters Most to you, you first have to improve a bunch of things. Even if you did (or do) want a bigger business, the foundation for that to be stable and relatively trouble-free, is a solid base of ‘better’ business.
Here’s what that looks like:
- Better Clients
- Better Income (profit)
- Better Schedules
- Better Quality of Work
- Better Days
- Better Choices
- Better LIFE
Where, then, do we start?
Well, as Maria - Julie Andrews’s character in The Sound of Music - put it beautifully, we start at the very beginning (‘cause it’s a very good place to start).
Mind the Gap
A concept I’ve talked about before, but is well worth revisiting at this point, is something I call ‘Closing The Gap’.
Most people get into business and, if they’ve got ANY kind of plan at all, it’s typically a ‘tactical’ (reactive) one based on needing a specific (or even just a pay-the-bills) income.
Here’s what that looks like …
‘I’m earning £3k/month, but I need £5k/month, so I need to earn another £2k/month regularly.’
The ‘gap’, and thus the plan, then becomes ‘earn an additional £2k/month’, right?
You betcha it does.
Closing the gap in this case then becomes a question of solving the problem of how to earn an extra £2k/month.
So, we ask questions that reflect that thinking. And that’s where things go awry.
See, this sounds at first blush like a perfectly reasonable stance and approach to take ... and it kind of is ... until it isn’t.
Here’s why …
That Big Gap is NOT the problem. That Big Gap is the SYMPTOM of the problem. In fact, more accurately, the gap is the symptom of ALL the problems that prevent you from earning £5k/month right now.
Can you see the difference? It’s a reframe, but a vitally important one.
There are likely to be several things preventing you from earning £5k/month right now (in this example):
- Your relationship with money, causing you to undercharge
- A lack of clarity on what your Perfect Prospect looks and acts like
- Not feeling worthy of £60k/year
- Great sales skills, but poor/no lead-gen systems to bring in leads/enquiries to convert
- Poor conversion skills (you get the leads and sales convos, but don’t convert them to paying clients)
... and so on.
Any and every one of these could be contributing to the symptom of the problem - the gap that manifests as you not earning £5k/month right now.
Building Better - The Yellow Brick Road
Now we have this nailed down, how does this help? Simply, it gives us a series of questions to ask, answers to find, and problems to identify and tackle.
But that’s not the end of the story.
It’s the middle. The Yellow Brick Road (YBR) that this process will enable us to create, to provide us with a clear path to get to where we want to go, to enable us to enjoy more of What Matters Most to us, lies between our Point A (where and who we are now), and our Point X (where we want to be) - ‘Kansas’ in this story.
Point X is pretty clear; we know what that should look and feel like. But Point A is a bit trickier.
Whilst we know that we’re earning £3k right now, we aren’t clear (yet) on what we need to do and who we need to be, i.e., what WE need to improve in ourselves, to move closer to that £5k.
And we don’t know that because we’ve never really given much thought to what level of skill, acumen, character we already have in the relevant areas we need to get better in.
So, our first port of call here is to get clear on WHO we are as well as WHERE we are.
The best analogy I can think of is trying to ask your satnav to map a route to London when it isn’t plugged into the GPS, so it maps a route from Manchester when, in fact, you’re in Aberdeen. The satnav hasn’t a clue where you’re actually starting from, so it makes it up.
Not gonna work, is it?
And yet we run our businesses like this daily.
Now we’re aware of this, all we have to do is begin to figure out what actually needs to be done, and where the micro and mini gaps exist that contribute to the Big Gap (the extra £2k/month we should be earning right now).
And then we work in sequence; identify the first problem to be solved ... figure out the solution ... implement the solution ... review it and make sure it works and is enduring (sustainable) ... then move onto the next problem.
Problem (micro gap in the YBR) - Solution (Yellow Brick) - Implementation (lay the brick and stand on it safely).
Then repeat the process for every issue or challenge.
We deconstruct the Big Gap into little gaps and problems that can be solved, rather than trying to tackle everything that we think will bring another £2k/month in.
That approach typically leads to us simply assuming that we need more sales and chasing all manner of dubious things like mad to make that happen.
This way, bit by bit, problem-solution ... problem-solution ... problem-solution, we build our Yellow Brick Road to take us safely from Point A (£3k/month) to Point X (£5k/month).
Then we use the same process to close the gap between the next target, which might be, say, £8k/month or £10k/month, or hiring an ‘A’ player to outsource work to.
Making it Real
In a practical example, you might identify a lack of sales needed to produce the £5k/month.
So, we drill down and realise that you don’t have many enquiries.
Then we look at your conversions and see that, actually, you have enough people coming through but there are four issues:
1.The ‘fit’ is poor
2. The conversion from prospect to client is low, at well below 20%
3. The onboarding of those clients you do get is also poor, leading to early attrition
4. You aren’t charging anywhere near enough for the transformation you create
Now we have a few things to tackle, and much more clarity.
The obvious one is to tackle pricing immediately - Yellow Brick 1 - but you may hit internal resistance (‘What if I scare off a good customer?’; ‘No-one else is charging more’; ‘I can’t raise my prices - I’ll lose everyone!’, etc., etc.).
If that happens, we simply work on the psychology of that - what some call ‘mindset’ - while we tackle a different YB1 and make that YB ‘X’ (2, 3, or 4). For example, we work on bringing in better-fit prospects, then our conversion and onboarding process and skills (this sequence would vary according to your unique disposition, situation, and skills).
And before we know it, without creating any more leads or enquiries than normal, we have £5k/month from the clients we already have and the number of prospects we’d usually talk to, because there’s better retention (lower losses and much later in the cycle), and an added side benefit, in that we enjoy working with these guys much more than previously, because now that we’ve sorted our pricing ‘issues’ out, we’re being paid more too!
Instead of trying to quantum leap from £3k - £5k/month solving the wrong problem, we broke down the Big Gap into small gaps; micro and mini problems that were clearer and simpler to solve.
And in doing so, we laid part of our Yellow Brick Road, and got that bit closer to getting more of What Matters Most to us.
See how this works?
- Thought (Review)
See the other repeating pattern here? Yup. We get better by doing AND by thinking better. And this is an upwardly mobile spiral.
The better at this that you become, the better you think, and the better your thinking, the clearer, better, and more EFFECTIVE your actions.
Where Will YOUR Yellow Brick Road Take You?
Well! That’s the end of a pretty mammoth 6 months of concepts and ideas; of insights and stories and advice. It’s been a blast! I hope that you got as much from reading and absorbing these articles as I did from writing them for you.
More importantly, I hope that you’ve managed to follow along and draw a lot of value from it.
If you haven’t caught the full series, go back to the January edition and start there.
The basis for everything you need to know to create your own Success Path lies in these 6 articles.
The trick, then, is to EXECUTE - to Do The Work. And, of course, to focus on Being Better and Building a Better Business.
You’ll get plenty of help and support within TFCEO community and TFCEO membership programme.
If you need more involved and tailored help with that, and especially if you want to get to where you need to be FASTER, click here to come and join us also in Success Engineers.
We’re opening our doors with a very special offer for this intake of The Excellerator , right across June and July.
And if you’ve got questions about anything I’ve covered, just shout! I’m pretty responsive.
Dino Tartaglia is a former Electronics Engineer, now a businessman, mentor, coach and troubleshooter working to help you, if you’re a coach, consultant, creative or service provider, to Build a Joyful, Dependable Business around Being Brilliant at What You Do.
In his own coaching, and together with world-class coach Simon Hartley, the other half of Success Engineers (their joint business), he helps you to improve your thinking to ask better questions, so that you solve the right problems in your business at the right time, develop your own personal performance as a business owner and get closer to What Matters Most.
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