This article will help you if you are getting your business up and running or if you believe your business is a bit stale and you want to reinvigorate it.
My experience in business is limited but I’ve found that I can use lessons I learned from medicine to help me with my network marketing business strategy. This article outlines my approach to resuscitate your business using lessons from the emergency room (ER).
Start with ABC
As I said, I haven’t had to breathe life into many businesses, but I have had to resuscitate many patients in the ER - in my case, as a paediatrician, I deal with children.
Most of you will know that the approach to a seriously ill patient in ER is ABC, but there are some lessons from how you apply this approach that are particularly relevant:
- there is a definite sequence of actions
- you only move on once you have fixed the problem or assessed that it doesn’t need fixing
- if things go wrong, you go back to the beginning and start over
So, let’s say, you have a patient come in to the ER in a critical state, The assessment goes something like this:
- A - Airway - Is it patent? Yes, move on to B, No, fix it which may be inserting an oral airway
- B - Breathing - Is the patient’s breathing effective? There are a few parameters to look at before you make your decision to either move on because all is stable or to intervene, for example, give oxygen
- C - Circulation - is the patient perfused adequately? Again, there are a few parameters to look at before you can decide whether all is ok and you move on, or that it isn’t ok and you need to act, for example, give iv fluids
- D - Disability - this is about brain function and again there are some parameters to look at before you can move on because all is stable or you decide to intervene, for example, intubate and give oxygen
- E - Exposure - this is where you consider body temperature, possible rashes and, particularly in children, blood glucose, and act accordingly.
If you are up to C and suddenly there is a deterioration, you go back to A and work your way through the process again.
The business approach also involves a series of questions which are
- What is your message
I’ll go through each of these individually and explain how you decide if that point is complete so you can move on or is incomplete and needs to be revisited.
And just like in the ER, if you are partway through your business strategy and there is an issue, go back to the beginning and start over
This is the most fundamental of questions and a strong why will be what gets you through the tough times in your business.
- Why are you doing what you’re doing?
- Why did you start this business?
- What do you want to achieve in the world?
- Is the WHY that you started the business with still relevant today?
Simon Sinek gave a now famous TED talkin 2014 on how great leaders inspire action which outlines the importance of a great WHY.
Simon talks about the golden circle which is 3 concentric circles with the inner one being Why you do what you do, the next being How you do it and the outer circle being What is that you do. This is a great exercise to do and these questions all relate to the WHY.
The focus of your WHY may change with time. Initially your focus will be on your immediate needs but in time, your why may evolve to making a huge impact and contributing to the world in some way.
You may be aware of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It applies to business as well. In the business model, the hierarchy may look like this (inverted pyramid):
- Physiological Needs - you have to have food and pay the bills
- Safety and Security - you want to have a good house, have job security and give your children a college education
- Love and Belonging - you want meaningful relationships, to be a good boss
- Esteem - you are being recognised for your achievements
- Self-actualisation - you are living at your highest potential and may be looking to contribute more to your community
And it’s the same with your WHY. The most motivating WHYs are those that really mean something to you - ‘a why that makes you cry’.
Have you written your goals for one year, for 5 years? Research shows that if you have written goals you are more likely to be successful compared to those who have goals but haven't written them.
It's important to write your goals in the present tense and add as much description as possible. For example, if your goal is to be the keynote speaker at a business conference in 2018, you mightwrite 'It's January 19, 2018 and I am so excited to be speaking as the main speaker today at the x conference'.
The usual wisdom is that goals are specific, measurable and time-constrained. I agree that it's important that you have a way of knowing that you have achieved your goal. However, I don't think your goals need to be constrained by what is considered realistic. Great things in business are achieved when people dream big and think the impossible.
I also like the idea of end-goals rather than means-goals. An end goal would be something like ‘I am able to explore a new country and learn about a new culture every year ’ compared to a means goal which would be more like ‘I am earning $x per annum’.
The how is about getting down to specifics of your strategy and involves asking more questions
Who is your ideal customer, client or, in the case of network marketing, business partner. When I started, I made the mistake of thinking that everyone was my ideal customer as I had a range of products to offer and everyone could potentially benefit.
I even had someone tell me that as we had a range of skincare products, anyone with skin was a potential customer. The trouble with this approach is that it’s impossible to create a strategy that is do-able.
So, if you haven’t already, you need to decide who your ideal customer is. I did an exercise where I got very specific - I gave my ideal customer a name, an age, a job and a family. I thought about what hobbies she (yes my ideal customer is a she) has, what books she likes, what issues she struggles with, what her aspirations are etc.
Interestingly, it really helped being so specific when it came to the next steps in this process. Does it mean I will only sell to people who fit my avatar? Of course not. But in terms of creating a strategy, it has made all the difference. And just as with the goals exercise, it helps to write down the attributes of your ideal customer.
It may be you have two groups of people who are ideal for your business. If that’s the case, either concentrate on one group to begin with or go through the process of describing both of your ideal customers.
Once you have your ideal customer identified, you need to think about where you’ll find these people. If your ideal customer is a stay-at-home mother, then local school groups will be a good place to recruit.
My sister and I love sending each other crazy snapchat videos - we think we’re quite hilarious. However, using snapchat as my principle social media outlet would not be a wise move as my ideal customer doesn’t ‘hang out’ there. Linked In would be a better social media outlet.
If you are doing your network marketing on a part-time basis, it’s a good idea to think about when you are going to be doing your business. When Kimmy Brooke who is author of ‘The Four Year Career for Women’ started out, the only time she had available for building her business was her lunch-time and that’s when she met people.
Alternatively, instead of a time commitment, you may choose that your daily activity is complete when you have made contact with a certain number of people.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE
Probably the most important part of your strategy is what you are going say to catch the attention of your ideal customers. This is where you really need a very clear idea of who your ideal customer is so you can really hone in on what’s important to them.
For example, what I might say to a college graduate about the business opportunity is completely different to what I would say to a stay-at-home-mum or to someone who is nearing retirement. The message to the graduate would be about the fact that they could earn money working part-time at home that would help them clear their student debt more quickly. The stay-at-home mum would be more interested in the fact that she could work around her children and wouldn’t need to feel guilty about missing their school activities while the person nearing retirement would be more interested in the ability to build a business with leveraged income that will allow her to maintain her lifestyle even when she gives up work.
Similarly, when talking about products, customising your message for your ideal customer will be more effective. My ideal customer has a busy and sometimes stressful job so she’ll be interested in a natural, anti-oxidant food supplement that gives her key nutrients so she feels 10 years younger, full of energy and ready to take on whatever challenges the day brings.
Putting it into action
Now you have the outline of the system. Anytime you have a slump in your business or you just want to review your strategy, use this approach, starting at your WHY and go through each question systematically, fixing each level before you move to the next.
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