Start now. Take the first step. Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Do these cliché-like phrases sound familiar? Do they ring a bell? – Of course, they do. If you have ever been stuck, or in dilemma about pursuing this or that idea and perhaps sort advise from a good friend, a trusted family member, spouse or just about any random motivational book, then these phrases are a melody you’ve heard over and over again – times without number. And if I am being completely honest, I have uttered them more than once to persons who have come to me for advice at a point in their lives when they were in limbo about whether or not to pursue a certain course-of-action.
A classic moment when you are likely to hear one of these ‘taking the first step’ phrases is when you are considering starting a business. As entrepreneurship becomes increasingly fashionable again – bolstered by technological innovation these last few decades, more people are likely to encourage you to jump right in, to start, to break new ground. Here is the thing, starting is hard as many have probably come to find out and this is why there are, rightly so, many encouragement channels available to persons seeking to start a new business, to turn an idea into reality, to actually live the dream.
However, for the few who have managed to move beyond the first step, a new truth tends to hit you pretty quickly as you journey forward in your entrepreneurial journey. You suddenly realize, while starting was hard, growing your business is equally tough and challenging. On a daily basis, especially in those early days after launching your businesses, your whole life revolves around chasing new leads, meeting the needs of your existing customers, revenues, cash flows, targets, expenses, competition and so on without end. When you solve one problem, nine others miraculously appear from seemingly nowhere to take over the place of the previously solved one. It is chaos everywhere, but in the midst of it all, you find the courage to match forward, to continue doing your very best, to remain focused on fighting your battles until you win – hopefully. After all, good entrepreneurs never quit, they persevere no matter what. You know this, you have read it and heard it almost countless times.
It can get really tedious and unlike many myths about entrepreneurship, it can get very routine, exhausting and even a little boring. Most entrepreneurs may typically find themselves discouraged and greatly dissuaded. Some may quit, others may push on without any creativity on how to attain sustainability, while many will turn their businesses into nothing but a survival kiosk with meager returns to barely pay the bills and keep its doors open. So much for the journey of a thousand miles ending just right down the first corner. At this point, most entrepreneurs feel like they need a miracle, some breakthrough to make things right.
What then, as an entrepreneur, as a small business must you do to grow your business, achieve sustainability and be on your way forward in your personal a-thousand-mile journey?
Reconnect to your story.
It may sound like a simple answer to a complex problem, but the power of reconnecting to your story has proven to be immensely instrumental even for some of the biggest brands in diverse industries. Reconnecting to your story answers a very simple question. Why did I begin this business in the first place? Asked differently; Why I’m I doing that which I am doing? Is it to make more money? To make the world a better place? To provide service to undeserved communities? Is it in the pursuit of personal freedom? What is it?
The moment you are able to answer this simple question honestly, that would be the start of a turning point for your business. An epiphany kind of. With all the daily hustle with cashflows and everything else in between, it is very easy to forget why you began the business in the first place. You risk forgetting those warm fuzzy feelings you encountered when you first thought of this wonderful idea you now call a business. Small as they may sound, those early emotions and reasons, rational and irrational were your driving force to getting started, they kept you grounded and fixed your eyes on the bigger picture. Once you forget them, you lose your roots. And we all know too well, it doesn’t matter how tall a tree is, if it loses its roots that is the end of it.
To save your business and to keep it growing, it is not enough to only reconnect yourself to this story, oh no, you need everyone up to and especially your customers reconnected to this story. Own it, be it, live it. Let your brand messaging, your brand artworks and everything else your customers interact with communicate this story. It can take various forms but the bottom line must be simple, using it to push yourself forward.
Storytelling, as far as we know it has been around for thousands of years, maybe more. Its efficacy in capturing people’s attention, in engaging audiences is more useful today in business than ever. The most successful brands today are the ones who have mastered the art of storytelling to sale more. At Clinet Media, we can help you reconnect to your story – and we can do it beautifully.