Have you ever felt like hitting the reset button on your business?
Maybe you’ve been wanting to completely re-do a course that you know can be much better.
Perhaps your business brand no longer reflects the YOU that has evolved over the years.
Maybe you need to replace a long-time team member with someone who brings fresh ideas and a new sense of excitement and possibility.
Or perhaps you’re just bored with the day in and day out of running your business and need a little excitement.
Whatever the reason, reimagining a business and breathing new life into it is exactly where my team and I have been for the past 12 months. While the road has been bumpy and I have been tested beyond measure, I’m here to tell you… it’s worth it.
So today, I am taking you behind the curtain and sharing what I’ve learned from 12 months of re-imagining a business that was successful by all measures – but not where I knew it could be. My hope is that it inspires you to take a look at your own business with fresh eyes and an open mind as to what the next evolution of your business could be.
What follows are the 5 things I learned about what it takes to re-imagine and re-launch a business.
#1 A willingness to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
The trap of entrepreneurship, once you’ve been at it for a while, is that we can stop seeing what could be better and settle with “just OK.” I believe this is partly because in the early stage of a start-up, we have to be innovative, creative, diligent and courageous. Long hours, restless nights and a constant sense of “will this really work,” can be exhausting. So, when our idea is validated with people saying yes and things start to happen, we breathe a sigh of relief, our shoulders drop and we move into the phase of reaping the rewards of our labor. In short, we get comfortable.
But that’s where danger lies. When revenues are flowing, we can become complacent and stop doing the very things that got us to where we are. We stop asking powerful questions like, how can we do this more efficiently, cost-effectively or how can we serve at an even higher level. Complacency, in business, is the kiss of death because it blinds you to where you can improve.
That was the case with the previous iteration of our assessment software company, which is now called Magpai. The revenues were flowing without much effort. Clients were happy and new subscribers were trickling in from referrals and new users.
But I knew the truth. I had gotten lazy. I knew the business could be so much bigger, better and help a lot more people, but I wasn’t ready to take that leap.
#2 Unfiltered honesty about what’s working and what’s not.
It was a conversation I had with my son about this time last year.
“Mom, I think you and dad are sitting on a gold mine and could do so much more with this business. There are lots of good things about what you’ve built, but I think the user experience and the tool could be so much better. And the brand… it needs an upgrade, mom. It’s doesn’t have the vibe of a cutting-edge software company.”
Now, it’s one thing to receive feedback from others, in fact, I thrive on it. But it’s a whole other thing when the feedback comes from your 24-year-old son. It’s not that it hurt my feelings, it felt more like being called out on something I knew in my heart, but had been ignoring.
And so, with brutal honesty, we began to look at the business through a new lens, creating an exhaustive list of what wasn’t working and what could be better. Only after we had that list, could we begin to take the next step and imagine what was truly possible.
#3 Patience – lots and lots of patience.
Another huge lesson from this journey of reimagining our business, is the amount of time it actually takes to transform an existing business.
At the start-up stage of any business, you are nimble, can turn on a dime and are fearless. You’re also scrappy, finding creative ways to get the job done with less and willing to work your ass off in the process. Re-imagining a business that’s doing “just fine” takes guts and requires careful, thought-out actions which take time.
While I am notorious for underestimating how long something will take to complete (Aren’t all visionaries?), this one wins the prize. After 14 months we are finally on the cusp of our official public launch of Magpai 10 months longer than I anticipated.
There were countless times, when the anxiety and impatience welled up inside. I’d take a breath, remind myself of what we are building and lean into my knowing that great things take time. I had to muster up my belief that all the effort would, in the end, be worth That’s what kept me patient and in action.
#4 A dialing down of your lifestyle and wealth building momentum.
When Mario and I came to terms with all that needed to be re-worked in order to take the business to the next level, the reality set in. Rather than paying ourselves as we always have, we, in turn, needed to pay the business.
Imagine a worker in the hot and humid hull of an old-fashioned ocean steamer. Drenched in sweat and work clothes soiled, his sole job is to keep the engine running. Day in and day out, he feeds the beast with logs to keep the flames alive. That’s often how it felt over these past 12 months…Capital going into the business to take care of the team, hire new talent and keep the engine running.
Could we have kept living at the same level of lifestyle we’ve been enjoying for years? Sure, we could have dumped more in to pay ourselves what we’ve always earned, or dipped into our saving to ride it out.
But that’s not what we did. We reduced our income to 10% of what it had been for years. As a result, we dialed back on all our expenses. No more fancy dinners out. No more additions to the wardrobe. No more adventures of extra luxuries. In truth, it became a game, where we weren’t being cheap or denying ourselves, we were just practicing “minimalism” for a bit of time. ;0)
Why was this important? Because we entrepreneurs, tend to get scrappier when our livelihood is on the line. We become more creative, more courageous and a lot more resourceful. We do more with less and (point #1) get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
We know necessity is the mother of invention, so we adopted a bootstrap startup mindset and got to work.
#5 A new vision that pushes the envelope of what you believe you are capable of.
This last element for re-imagining and re-birthing your business is perhaps the most important of all. You don’t just need a new vision; you need a vision that makes you uncomfortable – one that scares the shit out of you.
We didn’t spend the last 12 months to re-launch a company that does just a little bit better than before.
We embarked upon this journey because we want to create something epic. We are building a company that has the power to change the landscape of how coaches, consultants, trainers and service providers market and sell in order to build their dream business.
Our new vision includes…
- New divisions where we deliver unprecedented value for an unbelievable low price to new markets;
- Programs and products, never before seen by the personal development industry;
- Partnerships with great leaders in our space. who know there is a change coming and want to be on the cutting edge;
- New team members that are smarter than me and come with innovations and energy; and
- An unwavering commitment to be the best we can be.
Just writing that makes my heart beat faster. That’s because the more I say it, the more I believe it, and the more I understand what’s required of me to get there.
The question is… do I truly have what it will take to lead us there?
Over the past few years, I had become complacent in my leadership of our companies. After 30+ years at the helm, I had lulled myself into believing I was leading, when really, I was just coasting. That all changed when my son painted a picture for me of what’s possible. It sparked an ember that had been smoldering forever.
The past 12 months have been filled with small triumphs and huge failures. We’ve all grown from being tested and we are better for it. Most importantly… we are stronger for it and FINALLY ready to launch.
So dear reader, what’s possible for you? Is there another evolution of your business smoldering like an ember waiting to burst into flames?
I believe there is a bigger vision you are being called to create.
I believe that what you have now is good, but what you build next can be even better.
I believe you are equipped to make that happen – but only if you are willing to take the leap.
As you move throughout your week, ask yourself these questions…
What else am I being called to create?
What does the next evolution of me and my business look like?
What would happen if I stepped into that vision? How many lives could I touch?
Am I willing to do what it will take to become the leader that turns that vision into a reality?
Either way, I’m with you on that path, ready to high five you all the way to your vision.
Have an awesome week!
Looking for inspiration for creating a plan to take your business to the next level? Find out where you are on track in business and what missing pieces may be holding you back. Click here to take the Business Acceleration Quiz. I’ll respond with some thoughts and inspiration. ;0)