Following another long day of work, you sit there asking yourself ‘Why should I even bother to continue?’.
After having put in so much effort just to see little to no sales, it starts to dawn on you that things may be leading up to a grim end, now what next? Where should you go from there?
As people, we have all faced times of struggle, wondering if we have what it takes to make it in the world. We often find ourselves pondering about the ones who have made it.
What were their approach when were met with discouraging outcomes?
Usually, our emotions start to take over as we freeze in time, lingering on a specific point without really thinking about what to do in order to push through.
Learning from business giants who have weathered under many challenges , we have designed a mental framework that helps to guide you into the right mindset, overcoming your doubts despite un-encouraging results of the past.
Step 1: Acknowledge Your Fears - Lean outside of your comfort zone
Of the many things in life, fear can be one of the most debilitating. It stops us from moving forward if at all. When in fear, the world seems to move on without us as we wish for time to stop at its feet so we may catch up to our losses.
Indeed if we were able to do that we would, but in reality such thoughts act only as an escape from the many challenges that we ought to face.
If failure is the stepping stone to success, then fear should be considered the stepping stone to our triumphs. Looking back in our life, we often catch ourselves in situations that we’d rather skip over but these are the moments that make us better.
Understand that fear is all part of the process.
It is a product of your emotions latching on to the possibility of failure, but know that fear is also a great way of motivation. Instead of coming to a halt, embrace your fears to incite the fight mechanism and stride towards your goal.
Some time ago an esteemed company of an old industry had been worried about a new competitor that was eating away their sales. In their efforts to win back customers they had developed a new product to fill the shoes of their legacy.
After a stupendous amount of effort in market research to which had reached a staggering agreement that the new product was better than that of the competitors, the new product was launched.
The product was New Coke, launched in 1985. Immediately, it turned out to be a flop with criticisms coming from left and right.
The controversy over this new product brought about protest groups demanding the return of the original formula. Within 3 months, after nearly taking down the entire company, Coke Classic was returned to the shelves.
Now Coca-Cola stands as one of the most well recognised brands around the world, but what does that say about their decision to launch the New Coke?
Now discontinued, New Coke may seem to have been a total failure, especially to everyone working at the company at the time of its launch, but without it, there may not be this story today.
An event that strengthened the company brand more than ever. So instead of fearing over the many possibilities of what may or may not work, it is perhaps better to lean outside of our comfort zone and take action.
Step 2: Be Honest - Evaluate your situation
So it’s been 30 days and you haven’t been seeing much results, why? Understand that most good things take time to cultivate, and that is especially true for businesses.
Were your initial ambitions and expectations reasonable? Are your methods of driving sales effective or could they be improved? These are valuable questions that you need to ask yourself.
Be genuine when evaluating your actions, it helps to put some distance with what you’ve done. If possible it may be a good idea to ask the opinion from people of whom you trust to give constructive advice.
A fresh view of the situation may bring out ideas that you may not have even considered which are worth exploring.
Know that it does not take the first mover to be a success. We now have access to so many different resources online with examples of the companies that does it right, it would be a missed opportunity to not look into what other people are doing and adapting their methods to your model.
Be creative in your approach, learn from where others have thrived and avoid making the mistakes of those who have not.
While it is helpful to look outward for answers, know that you can also be your own best friend. You are the know who knows your business best, so be critical in pointing out the things that needs improvements and be open to change when it is necessary.
Challenge yourself, but also be reasonable in the goals that you set.
Step 3: Focus & Persevere - Be ready to finish what you started
In the popular book ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’, Malcolm Gladwell cited a study looking into different violinists. The study indicated a strong correlation between the time spent practicing with the student’s resulting path in the violin.
Looking at students who started playing at the age of 5, by the time they were 20, ‘Star Violinists’ would have accumulated 10,000 hours of practice in total, while ‘Good Violinists' had 8,000hrs and ‘Teachers’ 4,000hrs.
Relating this theory to your business, we may say that focus and perseverance are key to the success you envision.
When we are focused, we spend more time doing the things that lead us to our goal.
If we are to simply look at the theories of probability, every time you hustle, you are increasing the probability of reaching the right customer. Over time there will be a roll-on effect adding to your business’ growth.
In that mentality, it is crucial to adopt practices that are sustainable in the long-run. In order to build sales momentum, it is advisable to set a series of goals.
Start off with a dream goal, reach for the stars, something that you envision for your business five years down the line. These dreams should motivate you and give the general characteristics of your business.
Your dream goals will also allow you to more confidently say ‘No’ to the things that are less important which will ultimately deter you from your success.
Then, come up with more attainable goals of what you would like to achieve in the next 8 to 12 months.
Be specific, state the areas that you would like developed over others. Have sales goals that are relevant and allow you to determine your success thus far. Lastly, set yourself action targets.
These targets should be practical, leading you to achieve your long term goals.
Start small, not only can they keep you one track but they can also act as an encouragement to see how you have progressed over time and building up momentum.
Failing Now, Does Not Make You A Failure
Have you ever failed your primary school tests, middle school tests, and perhaps your college entrance exams?
Well Jack Ma, Executive Chairman and Founder of Alibaba surely has, multiple times in fact.
But scoring 1 point out of 120 on the maths portion of his college entrance exam did not stop Ma from becoming the success that he is, making it at #2 on the Forbes China Rich List(2016).
In fact, Ma had to go through many hurdles before gaining the success of Alibaba.
After his graduation in the early 1990s, Ma struggled to secure of long lasting job. Being introduced to the internet while working as a translator in 1995, Ma saw a potential of business opportunities in China.
With this, he launched his first site that linked Chinese businesses and their products with the rest of the world.
In its desire to gain more funding, the business partnered up with a government entity which later failed due to certain differences and difficulties in working together, pushing Ma out of the business scene for a short while.
This failure however, turned out to be an important step for his later success in Alibaba.
Not only did the experience teach Ma about the relationship that his business should have with the government in order to thrive, his break working at the ministry of foreign trade and economic cooperation also allowed him to build connections with some influential people.
Throughout Ma’s journey in realising his vision, there were many opportunities for him to give up and bail out.
The point to be had from Ma’s story is how perseverance and confidence in one’s dream can lead to unimaginable outcomes.
Not only was he set on his goal of creating a platform such as Alibaba, he was also clever in adjusting from his early failures.
While not everyone may turn out to be like Jack Ma, but take heart in your struggles today knowing that each hurdle is simply taking you closer to the finish line.
When faced with difficulties, do not linger on what cannot be changed. Conquer your fears and reflect on your actions.
Do not let your emotions get the best of you, instead use it as a motivating force in your rational judgements.
Look not towards all the possible distractions but place priority and focus towards your final goal. Take the necessary actions (big or small) that can help advance you.
- Embrace your fears. Step out of your comfort zone to take action.
- Evaluate your business and be ready to adapt.
- Set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.