Which way next?
I'm regularly asked the following question at work: “how do I tell people about my product/service so that I can get selling and make some money?”
On the surface, it seems a pretty sensible question.
However, a little digging around often uncovers a jumbled mind of ideas and no thought around who will actually purchase their product/service. Also, 20 year old students find a further conundrum - marketing to people outside of their age group or pool of reference.
A little more questioning often finds that they have undertaken no research on potential customers, competitors, the market size, whether it’s even a viable business which can make money and sometimes, perhaps the most surprising one, is what the actual product or service is going to be.
This is where business planning helps.
Many start-up businesses fear the words 'business plan' almost as much as 'cash flow' and 'tax return'. However, the process of brain dumping all those random ideas swimming in their heads can actually create space to take the next steps. Luckily there are many examples of useful templates when searching on the internet.
When it comes to our own individual goals and dreams, there can be a similar process going on.
We so often have a multitude of thoughts, dreams and desires floating around in our heads that we can feel totally stuck, not knowing which new idea to follow, whether it's the right one, or where to start.
One of the techniques I use when I find myself in that position is to take a step back. I think about my values and what I really enjoy doing. After testing out many different goal setting techniques during my coaching training, I've listed some of my favourite questions below:
What do you value most in life?
Spend 5 minutes writing down words which describe what is really important in your life.
Once your 5 minutes is up, pick out the 10 most important ones and then number them 1-10 in order of most importance.
What do you love doing?
Write down everything which makes you feel happy and alive.
I love this quote by Howard Thurman “don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that, because what the world needs is people who are alive”.
If you suddenly won £1 million, how would you change your life?
What would you start doing? What would you stop doing? What changes would you make in your life?
What have you always wanted to do, but been afraid of starting?
Often our fears (real or imagined) stop us from doing something we really want to do in our lives. By identifying what our fears are, we take the first step towards eliminating them.
If you knew you could never fail, what is the one thing you would dare to do?
Think about that big dream. You know, that one you’ve been carrying around, and then visualise doing it knowing without shadow of a doubt that are going to succeed.
What goals do you now have?
Answering the above questions will have got your energy flowing so that you can really start thinking about what you would like to change in your life.
Write a list of the things you will now do in the positive tense (ie. “I will do x” rather than “I don’t want y”) and put a date when you will achieve that goal by.
Once you have a clearer picture of where you want your life to go, you can determine where you are now in relation to that.
What steps do you need to take to get to your desired position?
What support might you need?
How will you know when you’re on your way (eg. what’s the very first step to get you started)?
By working through the above questions, hopefully you’ll soon find the right path :)