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When You Are Your Business

The Solo Business Gap

Mind the GapHave you fallen into the gap? I read a lot of books… the usual range of business stuff on marketing, branding, strategy and a whole lot more. Also, I work with individual business experts and I run my own business as a solo operator.

When I link these two activities I notice a big gap. Most of the business literature is still pitched toward large organizations or at least groups of people. For instance: leadership, strategy, branding, marketing and management.

Whilst there are resources for the solopreneur, they often merely a scaled down version of those for the big players. I think this misses a crucial distinction:

The rules are different when you are your business.

Image Source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_the_gap

Here are three key differences for you to consider…

To Grow Your Business You Must Grow

I’ve been working with a client who has been running a training business. Their goal is to be able to be paid $5K to deliver keynote presentations.

For me, training is not speaking. They are similar and different ways of presenting. They require a different skillset, level of preparation and performance style. For instance, just because you can entertain people at a dinner party with your stories, doesn’t mean the same tales and style will work for a room full of 100 people.

You might think this is simply a shift in skills. And, you’d be partly correct. In my view, it also requires a shift in mindset, attitude and way of being.

When you are your business any dramatic shift in performance, direction or renumeration also requires a dramatic shift in you. As Marshall Goldsmith neatly titled his book ‘What got you here won’t get you there’.

Q: Who do you need to become to take your business to another level?

Q: What new habits will support this shift?

Q: Which current habits do you need to stop?

You are your brand

My good friend the Corporate Optimist Helen Macdonald (we interviewed her here) loves the colour orange. She wears orange everyday in some way and most of her accessories are orange also. This works for a couple of reasons:

  • She loves the colour
  • It suits her
  • It is the colour for optimism, which is her market position.

Helen is a great example of consciously living your brand through your clothes and the way you present yourself. And, whilst you might not want to wear the same colour everyday when you are the business you don’t have a choice about your clothes being your brand.

On a grander scale, everything about you is also your brand. This includes your clothes, your car, your personality, your emotions and moods, your haircut, your body and…

Q: What is your personality?

Q: What is your brand personality?

Q: The big question: Do they match?

Q: And, what do you do on a regular basis to ensure they continue to match?

When you have a bad day your business has a bad day

Sleep is my Achilles heel. I know that to perform at my best I need to be ready, rested and relaxed. This is crucial because the sharper I am the better value I provide for my clients. When I have an off day, my ideas are off too – or at least not as good as my best ones!

When I have a really off day, my productivity suffers and I get very little done. This might be the difference between producing 7 hours of great work in a day or only five. This also shapes my ability to go again the next day.

The worst-case scenario is when you wear yourself out and you become ill. When you are your business and you’re ill you’re effectively out of business for the day. Closed!

Usually, in business we focus on getting the work done. And, we don’t focus on what we need to be at our best to get our best work done. This might be exercise, sleep, nutrition, relaxation or simply keeping up with what’s going on in your industry. When you are your business, this is critically important.

Q: Which of your habits ensure you have a good day?

Q: Which of your habits ensure you’re physically, mentally and emotionally well?

Q: Which of your habits wear you out?

COMMENT: How does this fit for you? If you are your business, what steps do you take to ensure you’re at your best?

MORE: Four more rules for when you are your business

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