Hi, my name is Tom and I’m a drug addict. (In my head I can hear you say, Hi Tom!)
I have been addicted to hopium. I was “hoping” my business would succeed. Not that it made me feel any better, but as I spoke to other business owners, I realize that many people are also addicted to hopium.
Related: Never Lose Sight of Your Vision
The warning signs of hopium addiction are clear. It usually manifests itself in a feeling that your business is going nowhere even though you feel like you’re putting in your all. You have some good days, but most are gloomy. You start to lose your desire. The spark and excitement has fizzled out. Don’t despair. You can pull yourself out of the addiction to hope and grow your business!
There will come a time when you’ll have to make a decision: Make a change -- take responsibility for your business, or continue on a downward spiral. The choice is yours.
Since I have been on this path myself and have kicked the habit of just hoping, I have suggestions to help you to get out of the “fogginess of hoping” and take a hold of your business instead.
First, I sought help. Help, for me, came in the form of a coach. I actually had a few coaches to aid with different aspects of my business. It’s painful, I admit, but the first order of business is introspection. Why did you start your business? Can you rekindle the flame? What was your “why” and is it still important to you? Why are you relying on hope instead of doing the practices you need to do in your business?
If you have lost your direction you should go back to your goals and the mission statement of your enterprise. If you don’t have goals or a mission statement, that itself could be the issue!
To get a grip on your business you need to dissect it. It’s best to get an outside advisor to help. A business coach, accountant or marketing people are good allies to have on your side. Most times business owners are too close to their operation to truly understand what’s happening. Many times, I have even seen myself uncover an issue in my own business and then do everything in my power to ignore it, deny it or justify it.
The next phase in releasing your addiction to hope is to understand your numbers and of course examine every line item. Be sure to take into account every little expense. You will be amazed by how much you can cut out to save a few bucks and how a few bucks can make a real difference in your cash flow.
Then, take a look at your marketing strategies and selling. Are you getting the most out of every customer interaction? Little adjustments in your offerings can help. For example, if you’re selling a beverage, don’t sell a small. Sell a regular for $2.50, large $3 and value cup $4. You will mostly likely see an even split in sales between the large and the value cup. Almost no one will buy a regular.
Or, if you’re selling a monthly package of something, instead of selling a 6 or 12-month special sell a seven or 11-month package. Who says the numbers have to be even? More buyers will go for the 11-month deal. There are tons of little strategies like these that can help your bottom line.
How about your staff? Do you have the right people in place? Aside from skills, do you have a bunch of “glass-half-empty” people in your midst? If you do, you may need new blood. Don’t hope that they are giving great value and service to your customers. Do a quick survey with your customers to find out some truths about your business.
Another valuable thing to do for yourself and your business is get yourself educated. You should invest 10 percent of what you make into books and seminars. The knowledge that you gain you will keep forever. An added bonus to attending seminars in your field is the networking that goes on at these events. With many like-minded people in the same room, you are bound to meet someone that will give a little golden nugget that may change everything for you or you may stumble upon a great strategic alliance or a future business partner. Ya never know who you’re gunna meet.
In the final analysis, this all comes down to taking responsibly for yourself and your business. Like with any addiction, change starts with you. You must not blame outside forces. Blame just takes away your power. The Wright brothers could have blamed gravity for not being able to get an object off of the ground. Instead, they decided to understand gravity and then overcome one of the most powerful laws of nature.
I encourage you to look at yourself in the mirror, take responsibility and stop smoking hopium. The choice is yours if you want to take your business and your life to the next level. Just say no…to hopium!