You’re struggling to get started, sales have been slow coming, you’re not connecting with customers how you’d like, and no one seems to be noticing your blog posts. We’ve all been there and it’s downright tough sometimes. What if there was a simple shift in thinking that could help you push past these challenges to get things moving in the right direction? Guess what, there is.
When faced with business challenges, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed or like you don’t have the right solution. We start looking inward asking ourselves, “What can I do to [fill in the blank]?” The problem with this question is that looking inward is the wrong focus. If something isn’t working in your business, you need to look to external clues, like disengaged customers, low website clicks, non-existent email open rates, to course correct. Put your detective cap on and ask yourself this new question instead, “What is keeping [fill in the blank] from [fill in the blank]?” Now you have, “What is keeping my customers from engaging?” “What is keeping my sales from growing?” “What is keeping people from reading my blog posts?” This is an almost unnoticeable shift in thinking with a dramatic effect on the outcome. Instead of putting the pressure on yourself to come up with a genius solution, you can sleuth it out of the data and cues you have at your disposal.
Let’s try it out.
Pretend that you’re promoting your upcoming webinar but no one is signing up. You’re probably freaking at this point. All that time, effort and money put into making this happen. I ask myself the default troubleshooting question, “What can I do to get people to signup for my webinar?” You come up with:
- Promote the webinar on social media platforms
- Paid advertising on Google and social networks
- Create an optimized landing page to drive potential signups to
- Promote within my email list
Awesome but I’m already doing those and still I have no signups. Time to shift your thinking. “What is keeping people from signing up for my webinar?” You come to these conclusions:
- Promotional efforts aren’t cutting through the noise online – need to brainstorm some new tactics based on my new audience retargeting
- Target audience is off – need to retarget
- Landing page copy and imagery isn’t resonating with my audience – need to fine tuning based on updated audience
- Webinar price point is too high for my target audience – need to adjust
Now you’ve got a concrete list of possible solutions to solve my problem of a low signup rate based on factual data. After making these changes, you’re sure to see an increase in signups.
"When nothing seems to be working, shift your thinking away from what you can do to what’s restricting what you do."
Let’s try another.
You’ve developed and launched an eco-product to crickets. People don’t know about your business or product. You need to raise awareness of the business and grow your product sales. You ask yourself the usual first question, “What can I do to grow my business’s brand awareness and sales?” You come up with:
- Create a marketing plan
- Promote on social media
- Public relations
- Do a Groupon
- Showcase at tradeshows
- Start blogging
You’re doing some of these already and decide you’ll look into the ones you aren’t doing yet but that doesn’t solve the non-existent brand awareness and sales. Let’s make the question shift. “What is keeping people from knowing about my business and wanting to buy my eco-product?” The new brainstorm comes up with:
- Haven’t been consistent about marketing and promotion efforts – need to create an editorial calendar and possibly bring someone on to help
- Not being seen where my target customer is – need to interview some target customers to find out more about their lifestyle
- Price point may be too high – something I can ask while talking to target customers
- Some education is required with my product – ask target customers about what is confusing and needs explanation
- My main competitor has the market share
- Need to showcase my testimonials
You’re seeing that you need to hold some type of focus group to tackle a lot of these and then you’ll have a ton of insight and information to tweak your offerings. It’s a good starting point to figure out what you need to do move forward. You’ll revisit the question again once you get some of this accomplished.
“What can I do to [fill in the blank]?” helps you to figure out what activities you need to do starting out but will most likely put you in analysis-paralysis once you’ve hit a wall in your business. “What is keeping [fill in the blank] from [fill in the blank]?” pushes you past analysis-paralysis into problem solving mode by shifting perspectives externally. Making this shift in thinking a part of your regular planning process will help you to think outside of your business activities and put yourself in your customers’ shoes. It will also help you to get ahead of potential missteps in the future. If done once you’ve hit a wall, it can help you course correct to a better path.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about this shift in thinking? How do you think it will help you? Do you use any other types of questions to help you in your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading and be well!
Hi, I'm Tiffany! I'm a business coach and consultant who believes businesses with soul is the way to go. That's why I've made it my mission to help entrepreneurs live out their business purpose and grow their ideas into profits. Meet other like-minded entrepreneurs now in the Dreamer & Creator online community.