Is Your Business Suffering From a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

1 Aug 2016
Alan Martin

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What difference can mindset have on the profitability of your business?

Can mindset actually be more important than technical skills or knowledge?

In this article I’m going to share a story about the difference that challenging my limiting beliefs made to my business during a traditionally quiete time of year.

Business as usual

At Chat Marketing we tend to be quieter during the school holidays when a lot of people are taking a break from work; so that’s a couple of weeks in April, July and August and another couple of weeks in October and again at Christmas.

It’s been the same over the last 6 years and I usually invest the time working on projects that have been set aside during the rest of the year, when I’ve been too busy to get to them, catching up with my own CPD and taking some time off myself to spend with the family.

In short, I take my foot off the client getting accelerator pedal, and guess what? I end up having a quietish time, as expected! Then when the schools go back, it’s like a switch that gets flipped on, and once again I am back in the thick of it. No surprises there!

Except this year in April I started wondering whether this had to be the case! I started asking myself “Are these holiday periods quieter for me because everyone’s on holiday, or are they quieter because I think they are going to be quieter”. I decided to challenge this long held belief and stopped thinking that ‘everyone‘ was on holiday, and instead maintained a focus on generating new business opportunities.

Of course a lot of people were on holiday in April, but what I came to realise was that “I don’t need everyone to be my customer”. In fact I only need a small number of people that see the value of working with a coach, to be able to sustain a profitable business. I don’t need or want hundreds of clients! I want my clients to get the very best of my time, which would not be possible if I tried to work with a large number of people.

Anyway, that realisation (I know it’s hardly ‘Rocket Science’ but it was a light-bulb moment for me) made all the difference and we ended up having our best April ever, in terms of turnover in the business. In fact once the dust had settled and I had got round to doing the number-crunching I discovered that our turnover had increased by 62.42% over the same period last year.

Is your business suffering from a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I wanted to share that story with you for two reasons, the first because changing my mindset was very quick (in fact it probably happened in an instant) and made a big difference to my turnover for that month, and secondly because if my business was suffering from a self-fulfilling prophecy, then maybe yours is too!

To test this you should ask yourself “What assumptions am I making about my business that may or may not be true?”. Awareness is always the first step to making any mindset shift. If you suffer from a seasonal drop in demand for example, don’t just accept the inevitable because that’s what has happened in the past. Ask yourself “Is this a fact or just a belief?”.

Lessons learned

If you have read the article about what running has taught me about business, you will probably remember me talking about being able to run 5K without stopping and that just because I have done it once, does not mean that I will be able to do it every time. In fact every time I turn up for parkrun on a Saturday morning, I face the same mental challenges.

Anyway, the same is true in business. Following my success in April, you would think that I would have the summer licked, wouldn’t you? Well not so! As I type this I find myself at the end of a quietish July, trying to figure out what happened to the champion mind-set I was so proud of just two months ago.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last couple of weeks and I am not sure I have all the answers figured out, but I suspect that it may have something to do with succumbing to familiar habits. I did not consciously decide at the start of the month, that it was going to be a busy month, but instead worked away as usual, and then when things went quiet, decided to prioritse another important project (the new Chat Marketing website). Then before I knew it the month was nearly over.

I think the key is to consciously decide that you are going to have a busy month, and start planning things that you can do to generate new business. Write your goals and ideas down and keep them somewhere visible so you see them every day! Don’t leave things to chance, because the status quo always wins! Then you need to stay consistent and disciplined and keep plugging away at the activities that you know will bring in customers.

On the plus-side, the new website (it’s not live yet) is starting to take shape and I am hoping to get it live in the next couple of weeks. This has been a major bottle-neck for me, and has prevented me taking my content marketing to the next level, so it will be great to see the new site go online.

Conclusion

This experience has reminded me is that mindset is far more important than an other factor in the success of my business. The good news is that it can be changed very quickly but it is not necessarily easy. It requires a deliberate decision on your part, that you going to challenge your limiting beliefs. Once you have decided, you need to take action to make things happen.

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