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High Level Thoughts For Every Entrepreneur

During a mastermind I was asked “what should I be doing as the owner of my company?” In this episode, I’ll give you four high level thoughts that every entrepreneur should be thinking about.

Big Ideas

Less Doing, More Thinking [1:03]

What you should be doing as the owner of your company really depends on where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. If you’re in the earlier stages of your journey, you’re going to be doing a lot of different things as you’re figuring this out. But the real focus for you is to really nail down your market – who are you serving, what problem are you solving, and what your messaging is. Then as time goes on, the next phase is about nailing down your marketing messaging, your sales and marketing campaigns, and your methodology for selling your particular product. Finally, the next phase is about scaling and growing the business. Once you get to that phase, you spend less time doing and more time thinking. I want to walk you through four different areas that eventually you want to spend time really thinking about.

Where Do You Want to Be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years [2:37]

Area number one, your vision for where you are taking your company. In the beginning, you’re just wanting to make a buck, right? So the focus is on creating a product and making a sale. Then, as the company begins to grow, you then need to spend more time thinking about where you are taking this company. Because if you don’t get clear on the vision and you don’t think about where you want to be in one year, three years, five years, you’re only going to make incremental progress. But when you get clear on your vision for where you want to take your company, it becomes so much easier to begin building a plan and a strategy to support you in doing that.

What Worked and What Should You Do More of? [4:10]

Second area, I want you to spend more time thinking about what worked in your business in the last 12 months. What worked in all that you do and the way in which you show up and serve your clients and customers? Stu Rule 101, do more of what works, less of what doesn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made the mistake of doing something that has worked really well and then all of a sudden, I just stopped doing it.

I’ll give you an example of this. Years ago when my wife and I started our charity, we just wanted to raise some money to help a village in El Salvador. We gathered a bunch of wicked smart people together for an evening jam session, where we geeked out on all things marketing and business. Specifically, I was asking them what their most effective marketing strategies were in the last 12 months and what they predict would be a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs in the upcoming year.

It was a huge success. We did it two years in a row, and then guess what? We just stopped doing it. This year, we’re getting very innovative as a charity to raise money because we couldn’t do it the traditional way that we normally do it, at live events. I was rethinking back to when, in the very early days, we were using this strategy and it worked so incredibly well. And I’m like, what? Why did we stop doing that? Makes no sense. So, this year we’re bringing it back. You should see the lineup we’ve got, the amazing people who are going to be coming and sharing their most effective marketing strategy in 2020 and what opportunities and trends you should be thinking about as we go into 2021. Mark down December 1st!

What Didn’t Work and What Should You Do Less of? [7:49]

The third thing I want you to think about is what didn’t work and what do you want to do less of? Sometimes you’re going to run a campaign or a launch, and it may not work. I’m not here to suggest that you should just throw the baby out with the bathwater and forget about it completely. Many times, what we’re going to do and the experiments we run are not going to work. So, it’s just a matter of staying with it and tweaking it, and finding the combination that does work. But you do want to identify the things that aren’t working.

Many times, I have made the same mistake over and over again. I’ll give you an example. This podcast, I beat myself up all the time because I am not as consistent as I want to be. I will be as consistent as I can be, and then all of a sudden, we’ll get into a new season, and I just switch gears. As a result, the podcast falls to the wayside and I hate that. That’s not working, and we have to figure out how to prevent that from happening again. And so, I’ve been jamming with Rick on my team and we talked about how we can develop a podcast rhythm so that not only do we continue to deliver you great content, but that we can do it consistently even when we get into a busy season.

What vulnerabilities do I have in the business? [10:18]

Area number four that I want you thinking about are vulnerabilities in the business. Years ago I owned my company WishList Member. There were just four of us and we were this tight-knit group. We were bootstrapping and sales were coming in. For the first nine months, we managed to make it work. Then around that nine-month mark, Mike, our lead programmer came to us and said that he made a decision to leave and start his own business. While we were excited for Mike, the other side of us was like, “Crap. What are we going to do?” In that moment, I quickly identified a huge vulnerability that we had in our business – we had a huge dependence on one person. And with Mike wanting to leave and start his own business, it created a huge challenge for us.

We have vulnerabilities in our business in all kinds of places. It might be with a team member who is handling a huge part of your business, and if something happens to that person or they decide to leave, what’s going to happen to the business? Or you might have vulnerabilities where your sole source of traffic is coming from Facebook ads. What if Facebook shuts your account down? You never want dependence on any one area, whether it be people, or sources of traffic. What about software? What if your email provider goes out of business? Do you have a backup of your email list so that you could shift gears and move to another platform real quick? These are the kinds of things I want you thinking about because the fewer vulnerabilities you have in your business, the less stress you’re going to have as a business owner.

Memorable Quotes

“Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t.” – Stu McLaren

“The fewer vulnerabilities you have, the less stress you’re going to have as a business owner.” – Stu McLaren

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