Drowning in Ideas

Do you ever feel this way?

Like you have so many ideas that you are drowning in them?

You don’t know which ones to do first. They are all great ideas and they would work – probably. Other people have made them work for their business. You can make them work for you, too.

They all come with pieces you don’t know how to do, especially around technology. Podcasts are a great idea and you can even see yourself doing them. But. What mic to use? What software? Where and how to post them? Video is good. Writing articles. Making signs. Doing PR. Automating. All of it, would be great, but how?

The information is all out there. You can fill your day just reading, listening to podcasts and watching videos showing you how what to do to succeed in your business. Some of it is great and some of it is fluff. How do you find the good stuff? Really, I want to know your methods for finding the good stuff.

Most of it is for online business. Dig even a little and it turns out it’s all about online business. Great ideas, but how do they help you with your store, restaurant or service business? Hint: your customers are online, too. Feeling as overwhelmed as you.

Lean Canvas is a powerful tool for helping you see very clearly, where you should concentrate in your business and what is most important to your customers. Here’s a great online ebook to show you how the lean canvas is used for startups. I’m hosting a workshop on how to use Lean Canvas as a tool for offline businesses that are past the startup phase. https://youreffortlessbusiness.wordpress.com/business-strategy-workshop-series/

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Lean Canvas isn’t just for Startups

The lean canvas  is a tool used by Startups to model a business idea. There are several versions, but they all have you think through essentially the same things: your customers, how you interact with them, and their problem that you are solving. Further they ask you to outline revenue and costs.

When used properly, it is designed for you to make several lean canvases with different assumptions on each one.

For instance, you may want to make an app for shared rides to and from other-than-school classes (band practice, teams, dance or music lessons). You identify several distinct user groups: after school kids, other than school kids, adults. Each group has different needs, wants and desires. In several cases the user is not the payer – parents pay, but kids get the lift.

A lean canvas is made for each user group and the riskiest bit in each scenario is identified. Those risks are tested to see which of those scenarios is the most likely to succeed. As you do that testing, you will be looking for all feedback that will help you refine your offering. For instance (yes, I played with this one) I thought the riskiest bit would be that parents were afraid to let their kids travel with ‘strangers’ (really just other parents that they could all get to know), but the feedback from parents was that even though they found the driving around irritating, they felt it was a way to show their parental love. That’s a tough one to overcome. If one were to pursue this app, we would have to show how this app would help parents in showing parental love, by maybe pointing out that not driving meant a home cooked meal.

You can see how this is a valuable tool for a startup that is trying to figure their way forward.

Can you use it in your traditional, mature business?

You bet you can!

In fact, you have a huge advantage, because you have access to your customers, right?

Start by making a canvas for each of your product/service offerings and each of your customer groups. for instance, if you had a women’s clothing store, you might have a canvas for business attire, for dressy and for casual. Your customer groups may be business women and retired women. Once you start playing with mixing and matching those, you get a better understanding of which group buys each of your offerings and what they are most interested in with them?

Then ask them. Start by asking them why they come to you. When I asked my bookkeeping customers why they came to me, they didn’t talk about competence, timeliness or adherence to regulations, no, they talked about comfort, relief and assurance. That changed the way I set up my service, how I offered it and the story I told to attract the right customers for me.

Think about your favourite customers. What do they buy? When? How?

How can you do that, only more?

What service is important to them? Back to the women’s clothing store: can you spin that service off as a value-add or as a paid option? Personal buyer, private viewings, trunk shows?

As you can see this is a great tool for strategic thinking for every business. What do you think?

If you would like to learn more, join me for our Lean Canvas is not just for Startups Workshop.

Reinvention in 50 Easy Steps

Reboot. Reinvent. Redo.

The times they are achanging and if we don’t change along with them, we will be left behind.

I would write you a long meaty post about how and why to reinvent yourself, but James Altucher already has. http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2013/10/the-ultimate-cheat-sheet-for-reinventing-yourself/

This is the part that has me coming back to this over and over and it has given me the most hope.

F) Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years.

Here’s a description of the five years:

  • Year One: you’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to DO.
  • Year Two: you know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re Doing every day. You finally know what the monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors.
  • Year Three: you’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet.
  • Year Four: you’re making a good living
  • Year Five: you’re making wealth

Sometimes I get frustrated in years 1-4. I say, “why isn’t it happening yet?” and I punch the floor and hurt my hand and throw a coconut on the floor in a weird ritual. That’s okay. Just keep going. Or stop and pick a new field. It doesn’t matter. Eventually you’re dead and then it’s hard to reinvent yourself.

I’m in year 3. This tells me there is hope at the end of this long, convoluted, scary tunnel.

It’s right about here that the real doubts kick in. That feeling of being on the wrong path, of not being worthy because the results (the money) isn’t showing. This is where all those naysayers inside and outside of my head are persistently telling me I’ve had my chance, it’s time to give up and get back into the real world and get a job.

It’s hard not to believe them. It sucks not knowing for sure. This article has given me renewed determination to keep moving forward.

How about you? Where are you in your reinvention?

 

That Didn’t Work

Now what?

What happens after you try something and it doesn’t work?

Deal with the Consequences

If there are consequences, deal with those first. If you have made promises, or commitments, honour them or apologize and undo them.

Forgive Yourself

Forgive yourself. There will be a part of you that is ashamed. You are thinking you could have done more or should have done it differently or something. Let that part go. At this point you are feeling pain and blame. You won’t be able to learn and make progress until you let that go. Later on, you will examine what happened to learn for next time. So forgive yourself.

Centre Yourself

Take a breath and centre yourself. You want to be able to come at the next steps from a place of strength, rather than reacting. Lift your head and pull your shoulders back. Really, do it, it will make you feel stronger. Body language reflects our feelings, and it can lead our feelings.

Congratulate Yourself

Congratulate yourself for having the courage to try something! You are already a hero! We need people like you to keep doing what you do. Thank you for leading the way.

Examine What Happened

Now, examine what happened. Process it in the way that work best for you. Journal it, write it out, talk to trusted people, go for long walks, create a vision board, whatever gives works for you. You are looking for the difference between what you had hoped would happen and what really happened and why there is a difference. It could be that no one wanted what you were trying to do, that you didn’t have the resources to do it, you didn’t know all the steps to do it, or that you executed it wrong. Unless you know that answer, every other project you do, will fail in the same way.

This is where the key – take time to think – is so important. The more the thinking we are doing makes us uncomfortable and I can assure you thinking about failure makes me very uncomfortable, the more important it is.

How do you figure it out? Ask people. Compare your project to successful ones. Try breaking it down and doing small experiments with each piece. For instance, send out a poll asking people about what you offered: the subject, delivery method, price and outcomes.

Next Time

Take that learning and start thinking about the next one. No one has succeeded without going through this process again and again, until they succeeded, and even then.

My Failure

This post comes out of our attempt to release a program. I’m ready to do the examination part, I suspect I will find that what we were offering is the problem, no one wants it. There are enough e-courses out there so that the delivery isn’t the problem. Our marketing plan wasn’t well thought out, and that needs work, too, but to inform our inner circle about it and not get a single sign up, even for the free course, makes me believe that the ‘what’ is the problem.

There’s more work to do there and any feedback would be appreciated.

Don’t Let a Good Failure Go to Waste

It sucks when it doesn’t work. Rather than just wallow and ignore it, I’m going to use it to get better and to make the next one more likely to work. I’m following Ash Maurya and his Lean Stack. His angle on Lean is the experimentation piece. Have a look here http://leanstack.com/lessons/leanstack/overview

We Need You

We need you to do what you do best. We need you to keep bringing your A game. We are your cheering squad! Go!

 

First Training Video – Your Most Important Environment!

In today’s lesson I share one trick you can use to change everything!

Sign up for the 85 days: Reboot to Your Effortless Business (click on the tab above) and you will get the next 3 training videos and then 80 more lessons starting Sept 25. The lessons, of course, will take a different form than this, but will take less than 15 minutes a day.

 

My first video. The hardest part is starting.

Sign up here to get the next video

Iterations

Working towards creating Your Effortless Business means trying new ways. Some will work and more won’t. If we view each non-working iteration as failure, we will slowly beat ourselves up and stop trying. But, if we view each as a learning experience and a way to also find out what won’t work we can keep trying until it works.

You only fail when you give up. – Johnny B Truant http://johnnybtruant.com/landing/how-to-be-legendary/

This was a revelation for me. I’ve tried many things that didn’t work, and I’d walk away disappointed. Instead, I should have took what I learned and tried the next iteration.

That’s what I’m doing with my latest project and I will post updates here for you to follow along.

Seven Secrets to Building a Great Life

The main reason to make Your Effortless Business is to be able to live a great life. Designing your life and your business go hand in hand. I wrote this report because the answer isn’t one thing, it’s a journey that takes time. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. I hope this helps and if it does, please share it.

We have one life, let’s make it a great one!

Seven Secrets to Building a Great Life

If you want my help with making your business effortless and your life great, then click the ‘1 year to Your Effortless Business‘ tab above.

A couple of things I learned while I made this series

Endless summer Summer is a great time for thinking and planning but not really for doing. I followed along, too, not just with Janet’s business, but with my own. I thought a lot about what we were doing in my other business, but I was distracted; it was a lot of material and it went by pretty quickly; people were on vacation.. Those are all the reasons I didn’t apply what we did right away.

It did work, because since then I closed one business and opened two more.

The information is not enough. We need support to help us get past some of those things that trip us up. We need accountability to help us keep moving forward.

I need response and feedback. This was a tough one for me. The hits on the website went down as the series progressed. That was disheartening. I kept going because I said I would and because I wanted to create the material, but it was hard to do while I was thinking that no one cared. I got over it.

Now I have the basics for a workbook for Your Effortless Business and the start of a novelette about Janet’s Business.

The scheduling feature in WordPress is very slick. I took the kids on a 2 week adventure in the middle of posting the series. One caveat: the time is EDT not your geographical time.

Plan your work and work your plan works. Knowing what I needed to write every day, kept me on task. I need to free-range write at times, too, but having a plan for a while and especially in the summer made for an easier summer.

I enjoy writing fiction way more than I thought I would. It’s like Steven Pressfield and Anne Lamott say, the story comes; place your hands over the keyboard and wait. Before you know it, the story comes. In this case, I did direct it somewhat because the story had to follow the 8 week course. Try it, you’ll see.

This was a wonderful experience for me. I am not a structured person, so it was a new experience as well and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

What task have you taken on lately that is out of your ordinary way of doing things? What projects have you started and finished that made you feel great about them?

Week 8 Your Environment Exercises

Your environment can make or break your best intentions. Think of the dieter who keeps their favourite candy in the house. Or someone who wants to get 8 hours sleep a night, but is addicted to late-night tv.

A cluttered desk makes it hard to find what you need. A cluttered mind makes it hard to remember what you need to and adds to your stress.

My office is a 20 minute walk from home. That was a deliberate choice because I wanted an environment that made it easy to walk every day.

Here is this week’s worksheet to have you thinking about your environment.

Environment Worksheet

Week 8 – Environment

This week we look at how important it is to have your environment work for you.

We’ll look at the different environments you inhabit and control.

Look around you. How can you make your life and business more effortless by making some minor changes to your environment?