I was recently cleaning out some old papers I happened to find at the bottom of my desk, when I came across some teachings from Dan Kennedy.
If you haven’t heard of Dan Kennedy, he’s this old, grizzled marketing and copy guru and author of the No BS series of books. In the beginning of my career, I learned a lot about how to write traditional copy from him. (He was also the “Kennedy” in the Glazer-Kennedy Marketing company.)
I glanced through the papers and this Dan Kennedy quote caught my eye:
“If you’re still in the same business you were in 3-5 years ago, you have no business.”
I then looked at the date of the training and saw it was from 2012.
This really hit me, because, you see, my first thought when I read that quote was “how timely.” When really, Dan Kennedy wrote it six years ago.
For many entrepreneurs in the online information product industry (which includes the transformation industry), 2017 was a really rough year. That was the year we started to see how many of the business “truths” we thought were infallible were, in fact, very fallible.
And, for some entrepreneurs who had built businesses on those “infallible” truths, even big, multi-million-dollar businesses, were seeing massive cracks and their businesses crumble on what they thought was a pretty solid structure.
So, let’s start by acknowledging the truth: Yes, it can be scary. Very scary. If you’re worried or scared about the future of your business and you’re uncertain about what to do or which direction to go, you’re absolutely not alone. I encourage you to feel whatever it is that wants to come up—just don’t let it stop you from taking action.
And let’s acknowledge another truth: It sucks.
Look, as humans, we are biologically wired to not like change. It’s in our DNA. Change can be dangerous to our very existence. So, as much as possible, our brains try to minimize change in order to keep us safe.
Which is why this idea of constantly looking at our businesses and seeing what we need to do differently is exhausting and overwhelming.
After all, don’t we want to just “set it and forget it”?
Wouldn’t it be nice to discover the “secret of success” and then finally stop looking?
Alas, if only it were that simple.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, I think first of all, acknowledge that it is both scary and daunting, AND decide to take action regardless.
Second, pay attention to your industry. Go to events, talk to friends and colleagues, follow people who follow trends and write about them (this blog can be a good place to start).
Third, know this:
Just because business is constantly changing doesn’t necessarily mean the rug will be pulled out from under you every three to five years.
Maybe it means that you tweak an existing product or service to better meet demand.
Maybe you change how you market.
Maybe you add a new product line or retire an old product line.
To be honest, you might even welcome some of changes.
Because, along with the landscape changing, you yourself are changing, and your business (which while not “alive” in the traditional sense, is still a living entity) are also changing.
Listen to what wants to emerge. Be open to what wants to change. (It’s easier to surrender to what wants to happen than it is to fight it.)
For instance, a business is really about finding and connecting with your ideal clients. It’s about building relationships. It’s about giving value. It’s about making offers your ideal clients want to buy. Those things don’t change.
And if you keep those business truths in mind (not to mention actually building your business on those truths and not the slippery, cracked “truths” of whatever is hot in the moment), you’ll be able to weather any storm …
No matter how scary it might initially look.