One of my most memorable coaching calls came from an entrepreneur who was seeking some specific advice on growing his business. I gave him what I consider to be the best advice that I can give someone, but it comes with a disclaimer. You see, this is also advice that I’m hesitant to give because it could potentially give someone the idea that they don’t have to do the work, which obviously goes against everything that I teach.
So the advice that I gave him and that I’m going to give you now is this: Determine your strengths – then build your business around them.
Let me back up for a minute.
The entrepreneur I was talking with already ran a strong business and has enjoyed some success in his marketing efforts. He told me that he knew that I was a fan of public speaking and networking, but he hadn’t really done much with either of those marketing tactics. Instead of telling him that he needed to dive right into those two because they are two of the most powerful ways available to any fitness pro to grow their business, I surprised him and told him not to do either of them.
Did my thoughts about public speaking or networking change? Of course not. But, after talking with him a bit, and discovering that he had some other strengths that he could leverage to generate more clients (which he would clearly enjoy more), it was obvious that the best solution for him wasn’t going the networking and public speaking route.
He needed to play to his strengths.
So why is this scary for me to give this advice? Given to the wrong person, it can be misconstrued as a free pass to be lazy.
This particular entrepreneur has already used social media and his writing skills successfully to grow his business. Suggesting more ways for him to leverage his use of social media and his writing talents even more makes sense because he’s already proven that it is successful for him. However, put that same advice in the wrong hands, and you get a situation where someone who’s never proven that they can write worth a darn and hasn’t had any success with social media now thinks they don’t have to ever get out from behind their computer to build a successful business.
In fact, back in my early days doing business coaching, there was a business owner on the forum of my site who did just that: he got on the forum and whined about how he’d written three articles and submitted them to article directories, put up a couple blog posts, and he didn’t have any clients to show for it. The economy was to blame. There was no way that small business owners could be successful right now.
My response was simple: “How many prospects are in your home office right now? If the answer is zero, then get off your butt and go where they are.”
Needless to say, he didn’t post anymore.
But that’s my fear when dispensing this advice: people mistaking their strengths for what’s just easiest. But I’ve believed that this approach was the best way to go for quite a while.
When I was coaching baseball, it took me a couple years to quit trying to be a clone of the coach that I admired most. My strengths were different than his. Once I realized that, I became a much better coach, and our teams got much better. I followed this same approach when it came to dealing with our opponents, too; instead of worrying about detailed scouting reports and trying to exploit opponents’ weaknesses, I wanted our players to focus exclusively on playing to their strengths. Heck, most any business success I’ve had was built on this approach and anytime I’ve hit a wall it’s been when I’ve deviated from that.
Now, you may not think that this advice is anything special, but here’s why it is:
Once you determine your strengths, by going all-in and leveraging them to the maximum, you’ve done three things:
- You’ve separated yourself from everyone else because you’re playing to your unique talents, assets, passions, and skills.
- You just made running your business a lot more fun because you can focus more on doing what you’re best at and feel confident that it’s a good choice.
- You just set out on the fastest route I know to build a powerhouse business.
Another way of putting this is, “Do more of what’s working.” Seems simple, right?
Well, most people don’t do it. They jump from one thing they’ve had some success with to something else that requires completely different talents or skills instead of finding more ways to utilize the strengths that led to the successes they’ve had.
So how can you leverage your strengths to build your business?
If you’re a relationship person, do more connecting. Focus more on referrals. Create more thorough solutions for the people that you already work with. Build a community in your business so strong that it attracts the type of clients you want more of.
If you’re great at writing, make sure you’ve got great copy on your website. Write like crazy. Write a column for the local paper. Build out email autoresponders. Send press releases. Send a great newsletter. Write free special reports that you can get in the hands of prospects. Write direct mail sequences to send out in your area.
And that’s not even beginning to touch on how you can leverage your strengths as a coach to own a particular niche market.
So your goal should be this: Figure out what your real strengths are – the things that you’ve proven that you’re better than the rest at, the things you’ve done well to grow your business, the things that you not only enjoy doing but that produce results. Once you’ve determined those strengths, figure out as many ways as you can to start leveraging them to build the business you want, and start implementing those ideas.
This philosophy will give you the resources to build a great business that you’ll love owning.