Building Your Business – Modeling Success To Get What You Want
I have recently had several clients who were having difficulty with focus and just not knowing what to do to be successful. They are asking if it is time to make a change or start a new business. The indecision and ambiguity of the situation can leave a person in state of flux or limbo that feels…, well, ‘yucky’. If you can think of a time you were undecided about something, you will notice how that feels in your body. There’s a chemistry to it. I think that people can get addicted to negative chemistry produced from any number of unresourceful life and thought patterns. If this were grade school, somebody would be labeling these people as ADD or ADHD and putting them on drugs. What if you were to consider that any drug affect could be naturally induced if only you had the right mental, emotional, and physical framework set up were creating the chemistry inside your body you need to assist you in getting anything you want in life? I say it’s about ‘STATE’ and remember, ‘STATE CREATES ABILITY!
Is It A Good Idea?
So, assuming you are starting a business or want to re-evaluate where you are in your career or business, what does NLP have to offer? NLP is built on the foundation of modeling (copying) expertise. NLP models not only individual expertise, but it also models models. Here’s a great model for analyzing your new business, project, relationship, or even a place. The SWOT Model is conceived as a 4-quadrant model that evaluates strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or in planning for a business, etc. A SWOT analysis can also be useful for evaluation of a product, industry, or an individual.
Take a moment to evaluate your own situation. Get out a piece of notebook paper and draw a big cross in the middle of the page; a vertical and a horizontal line. Label upper left-Strengths, upper right-Weaknesses, lower right-Opportunities, and lower left-Threats. First specify the objective of the project or business venture and determine internal and external factors that you judge as either resourceful or unresourceful in achieving the outcome intended. ‘Strategic Fit’ will be the measure to which internal environment and external environment are aligned. Whether outcomes or objectives are achievable can then be more easily determined for yourself or your organization. So set your objective or outcome and then do the SWOT analysis.
One of my coaching clients, an energetic enough young man, had started a computer repair business. Under STRENGTHS he believed he could fix most any computer repair issue at a lower cost to his customers. He had some success with past business and felt good about being able to help people. He put ads on Craig’s List and got customers who called in to him. With regard to WEAKNESSES, he had little idea. In an NLP Coaching session, I asked him how he was marketing his business and he said he was shy and didn’t like to talk to people. When I asked him how much he was charging and how many clients he could see in a day, he didn’t exactly know. I wanted him to figure out his expenses and make sure his income was sufficient to make a viable business. In the last week he had 5 computer repairs and the weeks before he was averaging between 3-8. I asked how much profit he made and figured what he was making. He’d need to generate 5 repairs per day to break even. Under OPPORTUNITIES, I coached him to attend Chamber of Commerce and SEO Group meetings and where to search online to find more groups. We also outlined some local business he could walk into and cold call about his service. I learned that he also wanted to save up funds to buy a bulk order pallet of computer parts that would save considerable money on repairs and increase his profits. THREATS brought the whole business model into question. Since he didn’t have enough current customers to pay the bills, it was going to be necessary to overcome the obstacle of shyness, but overall, the business still looked viable and he communicated that he was willing to do what was necessary. In coaching, we worked out a plan for him to visit businesses and related group meetings that would satisfy the criteria of ‘asking for the business’ from ‘people who can say YES!‘ In only a couple of weeks he created a significant amount of new business; proof that it is necessary to market face to face as a business strategy.
So, as you pick your object, outcome or person to analyze, there are some questions you will want to ask.
- Is the objective attainable? NOTE: If not attainable, what is an outcome that is attainable? Then do SWOT on the new objective.
- Do STRENGTHS match OPPORTUNITIES? This will define ‘competitive advantage.’
- What are ways to ‘convert’ WEAKNESSES and THREATS to STRENGTHS and OPPORTUNITIES? Examples: Find new markets. Match products to the market you identify. Increase inventories.
- If WEAKNESSES and THREATS cannot easily be ‘converted’, what are ways to avoid or at least minimize them?
- What are the key internal and external factors that are important in achieving an objective? NOTE: Internal Factors are strengths and weaknesses internal to the organization. External Factors are the opportunities and threats presented by the environment external to the organization.
- Are there valuable strategies that can be preserved that can be identified from the SWOT process regardless of whether the outcome is achievable?
SWOT is a valuable process for non-profit companies. Some marketers build an analysis of each competitor. Community Organization is also an area that has benefited from SWOT analysis. Don’t eliminate objectives too soon. Keep adding to the quadrants until a course of action becomes apparent and you can determine which characteristics give it an advantage over others.
Disney Creativity Model
Once you are clear that an outcome or project is attainable and learn what you can from SWOT Analysis, I might coach a client to use the Disney Creativity Model. Walt Disney had a dilemma. He had creative artists who would spend each day creating wonderful cartoons, but the dynamics of the creative state had little to do with getting anything to market. Disney was sometimes called the ‘spoiler’ because he would review what the creative artist was creating and tear it down and they would have defend their work or make better is some way, but he needed to make the process more productive. Eventually he created a model that included three parts of a process. The DREAMER role was easily fulfilled by the Creative Artists. The CRITIC was his role that could now be fulfilled by anyone on the team. And the third was role in the process was the REALIZER.
The Disney Creativity Model can use to develop any project or idea. The DREAMERS would then create. The CRITICS then are like ‘Devil’s Advocates’ and find all the problems they can with the dreaming. The REALIZER then comes in and suggests, “Well, if you have this dream and these limitation problems with it, what if you were to do it this way…?” or He just says, “OK, here’s a way you can make that work or improve the process or product.” Now you are at a new level of development. The DREAMER dreams bigger now with the corrections that have been suggested. The CRITIC finds more issues that need to be dealt with, the REALIZER then suggests new possibilities and points out options. By the time I have an executive going around the model a 3rd or 4th time, the project is usually far along in its development and potential future problems have already been resolved. Most people report that they start thinking at a much higher level of performance than they could have from where they had been previously looking. As Albert Einstein is credited as saying, “You can’t expect to solve a problem at the logical level at which it would created.”
Other Things To Consider
Find people who have done what you want to do and ask them questions. Find out how they do what they do and do it too. Of course you want to make good business cards that feel right for your business, have the pertinent information, and appropriate white space. Your brochure should be matched to your business card and your webpages with style and graphic elements that create a recognizable ‘style guide’ from one end of your business to the other. The writing of your brochure is much more important than just how useful it is attracting potential customers. It is a way to get your thinking in alignment with what you are presenting. You will have to narrow your focus down to the space that is available on a standard tri-fold brochure. Your word choice is critical and must explain what your business is and give a ‘call to action’ in a concise and persuasive manner.
Your ‘elevator speech’ is next. How will you communicate what you want people to hear inside 30 seconds maximum. You’ve lost interest and hurt your business if you don’t do this well. You should think this through, script it out, and practice until it flows off your tongue automatically. Truth is, you don’t even have 30 seconds. If you haven’t attracted the attention of your listener in 7 seconds, the rest of your talk is not likely to be full heard.
I use the ‘rule of 3’s’ in crafting brochures and elevator speeches. Sit down and make a list of the three things you want people to know about your product, service or about yourself. Then make a list of the 30 top words that you want to master in communicating your business. According to Thom Hartmann in his book, Cracking the Code-How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America’s Original Vision, this is what happened in the Republican Party prior to George Bush’s election. Newt Gengrich crafted a list of words and phrases and distributed them to party members who then could present a unified party message to the press. The author, Thom Hartmann a strong Democrat, gives Newt a great deal of credit for the brilliance of this strategy. You can use the basic idea to craft your brochure, elevator speech, web page content and in promoting your business on a day by day basis. Remember, language creates reality. When you get clear about the language and succinct in its delivery and committed to action, your business and your life will transform.
Article by: Bill Thomason, May, 2014