It is well known and oft-cited that 90% of new businesses fail within their first year and, of those that make it through those first 12 months, 90% of them fail within the next two years. What is less acknowledged , seemingly accepted as “just the way it is”, and just as concerning for me is that many more businesses fail to fulfill on their original intention: to provide the owner with a great life and the opportunity to contribute to his family, community and the world.
We create businesses to serve our lives, and soon our lives are serving our businesses.
Well, here’s the news: it doesn’t actually have to be that way.
When we launch into a business with a good idea, and/or good intentions, and little thoughtful design, we leave ourselves susceptible to these typical results. Even what passes as business and/or strategic plans are not actual effective architectures for a business, but merely well-worded projections and assumptions made from partial (and sometimes outdated) data, and grounded in some boiler-plate, cookie-cutter approach to business development.
With the inundation we have of books, classes, courses and so forth on “the way” to succeed in business, make money, market your product, etc., it becomes all too easy to adopt someone else’s approach, do all we can and hope for the best. And this is IF we plan that much at all (see last month’s post here about the absurdity of not designing at all). The problem is, whoever wrote that book or taught that class, isn’t you. They are different people than you, with different intentions, desires, strengths and resources than you, in a different environment than you. So, it follows that their approach will not necessarily work for you in your business; in fact, it is highly unlikely that it will, at least with the same results being produced.
Principle: “Nothing Works”
What do I mean by that? Simply, for every approach, process, or system for success that’s out there that is claimed to work (even with promises and guarantees), I’ll show you someone (and most likely many people) who’s failed with it. Conversely, if you show me something that’s claimed definitely not to work, I can likely find someone that’s succeeded with it.
When we approach our business, both the design of it and the implementation of that design, from a mindset of “Nothing Works”, we are free to create, explore and experiment with different possibilities, leaving us able to produce something that is uniquely ours, highly effective and that delivers on what we really want out of our business. In that mode of operating, we are outcome-oriented, not process- or service- oriented; we are always looking from, designing for and in action toward an outcome- a result- not limited to or satisfied by simply going through the motions of an established and entrenched checklist of some sort. Just think of the customer service people you deal with every day, and consider the difference in experience you’re left with between dealing with someone who actually does whatever it takes to leave you satisfied and taken care of, and those that are clearly just doing whatever it is that they’ve been told to. It’s a world of difference, isn’t it?
The flipside of “nothing works” is “anything works if you work it”. The question is, will you work it- and really, if you’re going to work something, what would you love and really want to work? Thinking from the outcomes and results that you’re committed to, how could you effectively and unequivocally fulfill on them in a way that what you were engaged in on a day-to-day basis is doing what you love to do and what you’re great at, delivering powerfully on your mission (as talked about here), and being who you love to be?
THAT is a question worth putting some attention and effort into. THAT is what’s possible in our work. What is possible, and very attainable and doable, for you is to design and build a business that gives you the results and life you want, makes a real difference in your community and the world, and has you engaged every day in what you love to do and enjoying your work and life like you wouldn’t believe. It takes attention, intention, effort and time for sure, but so does whatever you’re doing now- so, if this is not what you’re currently up to and on track for, I strongly suggest a change in direction.
And of course feel free to let us support you. It’s what we do. 🙂