Social media’s delivery of a daily highlight reel of your competitors’ wins makes it easy to think you’re falling behind.
And then there are the stories of the unicorn founders who went against convention, dropped out of university, quit corporate gigs and created unicorn companies by 30-something. Having that in your face each day is a little intimidating – especially if you’re in your early years or navigating your next growth phase.
What’s rarely mentioned though is all the heartache and serious grind that went on between start-up and unicorn status.
Comparing your business to others can be useful if it gives you an idea of where you sit in your industry’s pack (allowing for size and longevity). Comparing yourself to other people, however, is likely to be a soul-destroying game that you can’t win.
How do you keep that in perspective when so much of life is bombarded by people and businesses that seem to be so much further ahead?
Nothing beats real work
Unless you make your living from advertising on your site or you’re paid for your influence, social media is, at best, a side project only designed to build reputation. Your real business is about finding, winning and keeping customers. Rinse repeat.
So whenever you start feeling the pressure to keep up, step away from anything media (social or otherwise) and do something that’s likely to result in actual business. Things like talking to a potential customer (or 10), sending info on new services to existing customers or doing some cold calls (yes, they still work) or if you’re an online business, digging into your analytics and then doing customer outreach. Nothing makes you feel you’ve had a good day like getting new customers.
Look for holes in your bucket
There’s no point continuing to fill your new business funnel if you’ve got big holes in it. Rather than spending more and more on lead acquisition, look for where people drop out of the funnel. True story: a friend was spending a truckload on Adwords to get people to call his office and book an appointment. Adwords was working and that phone was ringing, but the office wasn’t manned most of the time and sometimes the answering machine didn’t work, was full of people just didn’t want to talk to a machine. In other words, most of those leads leaked from the funnel. When he routed the phone to a virtual receptionist, all those calls got captured, booked and he ended up dropping his Adwords spend significantly.
Survivorship bias ignores almost everything
If all we do is study success, we ignore most of what gets a business to that success in the first place. Sure people talk about their epic fails, but real success isn’t a destination, it’s in the thousands of tiny steps in the journey to get there.
SOI recently celebrated 20 years in business. That’s a lot of tiny steps that add up to a really robust medium-sized business. If we break it down to its most basic parts – it was all about building the right customer base, servicing those customers well, building a great culture for our staff so they could better serve customers and looking for opportunities in the market that customers would want along the way. It wasn’t about productivity or dedicated morning or evening routines, etc. Just focusing on what was important for the business – SOI’s customers.
Copying someone else’s 90 per cent conversion landing page template wouldn’t have worked for us, nor would copying anything else that worked for others. Go your own way. You know what to do.
Roland Farrugia, SOI Virtual Receptionist & Virtual Office Solutions Advisor, Serviced Offices International