27 Jun Creative Questions to Build Your Small Business
By Paul Barrs (reprint)
Often when I sit to write my morning articles, as I sip my coffee and look across the city-scape across from me, I wonder for a while… just what shall I write today. It’s not because I’m out of ideas or I can’t think of anything else to say, it’s more that there is so MUCH to say that I often don’t know where to start!
So perhaps as this month begins, it’s a good point to all take a moment out, site down with a favourite beverage and relax a moment while asking… “What else is there for me to learn?”
I’d like to suggest that you do this, not just once, but moderately often, each month or three. But when you do you’re going to need a pen and paper nearby because most likely by the end of a quiet half hour you’ll have a whole bunch of ideas to deal with.
But why? Simply this; whether we like it or not, we are creatures of comfort. It’s easy for us to *do* those things that we know about, those things that we’ve done time and time again, and so we keep doing them. That’s not the problem though, that’s a god thing. The problem lies in the fact that it’s also easy *not to do* those things that we’re not good at, those things that we’ve not done before. Basic mathematics right? Add two numbers together and you get more, take one away and you get less.
But you cannot grow your business beyond the basics if you stay in your ‘comfort zone!’ Ever heard this before, “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Therefore, if you want more… you need to do more.
Let me explain – A friend of mine was learning the basics of website marketing. This fellow had been running his own traditional home business offline for many years but now wanted to take it to the next level. After first finding out what was out there to learn he came up with the following list; learn how to make basic changes to HTML and basic graphics, begin to study sales copy, find out the easiest way to convert my products to online delivery, decide which is the best affiliate program.
There were many more things on his list, but at the end of his half-hour (which was actually guided by his coach), these were the most pressing. I thought it was interesting that his coach didn’t *tell* him what he had to learn, but rather let him discover these things for himself – a guiding principle I later found out that greatly increased his internal motivation to complete these things.
But now, having done his half-hour, he had some focused tasks ahead of him for the next eight weeks.
This is the answer to the question, “But Why?”
It’s easy to come up with a list of things that need work, but often that list is so huge that we become bogged down in it.
The information that’s in that list however is of vital importance. We need it to help expand our minds and therefore our business.
Here are some questions to help get you started:
* What’s the one area of your website ‘design’ skills that you feel the least confident with?
* What’s the one area of your website ‘marketing’ skills that you feel weakest in?
* Do you feel able to confidently approach top level performers in your industry for possible joint ventures?
* How do you feel about talking to these people on the phone?
* Could you competently meet / greet / interview a top level performer face to face?
* How good are you at handling (or preparing) your monthly book-work?
* Could you give a presentation to a room full of 500 people about your business?
* How confident would you feel asking them to buy your product at the end of it?
* Would you have the sales skills to actually ‘sell’ your product at the end of the presentation?
* Do you know how to run your own teleconference?
And the list could easily go on. However, so as not to have this article ‘go on’ forever I’ll suggest to you where you can find an unlimited supply of such questions (the answer is in the last question) – each month you need to listen to at least one audio training program. Notice I say audio, not video and not written. Why? Because if it’s video you’ll get caught up too easily in what’s happening on screen, if it written your mind won’t move fast enough to make productive time worthwhile (our creative mind actually moves must faster than our cognitive mind). By utilising the power of audio both your mind and hands are free to come up with, jot down and discover new questions.
Then, with those questions, sit down, once each month or three with your favourite beverage (and yes, as it’s only half hour, it can be “any” beverage) and give time to the questions before you.
Just remember this though… this time is just for questions, you don’t yet have to have the answers. That’s what the next few months are for.