It’s no secret: when it’s time to get a new business off the ground, the first instinct most entrepreneurs have (myself included) is to copy the people we admire most.
Now, when I say “copy,” I don’t mean literally — though that happens, too. I mean, we look at successful people and try to follow their steps to the letter. The logic is, “It worked for them, so if I do it exactly like that, it should work for me, too.”
Unfortunately, that’s not how success happens, but it took me way too long to realize it!
Back when I started my life coaching business, I thought if I mirrored what the big players did, I would grow the same way they had. I’m really good at playing this game, so I assumed I’d make it big, fast!
I saw them Facebooking regularly and making Friends with everyone. So I did that.
They blogged weekly, so I upped the ante and did it twice a week!
They sent newsletters. I sent newsletters.
They offered classes and products. I offered classes and products. (Though mine didn’t sell very well!)
But for all my copy-catting, my business just didn’t blossom the way I’d hoped it would. It was so frustrating.
And the worst part was that I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. I thought I saw how it all was supposed to fit together, but I just didn’t have the results they did. I was baffled.
The Missing Piece
In reminiscing about my early days in business with a friend, she pointed out how we thought that success was just a matter of mimicking the greats. After all, they had the big money, the big lists, and the four-figure program prices – they were perfect models to follow.
We thought that if we just did what they did, we’d be set. But it didn’t work.
The problem was that we were only seeing part of the picture.
She compared it to looking at a fancy car without knowing a single thing about cars. While we could appreciate the sleek exterior with its perfect paint and shiny chrome, we had no clue that there was an engine under the hood. And we didn’t even know enough to ask!
In other words, we were copying exactly what we saw the pros doing on the outside without bearing in mind the most important part: an understanding of business and how things run on the inside.
Simply executing tasks did not and will not create success. My early non-success is evidence of that! All of my clients (before they hire me!) are also evidence of this, too.
Sure, being active on social media and building a list are important, but without the understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing and how to do it properly, all of that action won’t make your business click.
Applying this Missing Piece
So you realize that you can’t just copy the pros and expect stellar results. Then, what exactly do you do?
You must learn and apply sound business theory to all of your actions.
Once you understand the theory — the why and how — and know how to put it into action, your business will start to click into place.
Not sure what I mean by theory? Here are a few examples where we’ve talked about business theory on this blog.
- Why You Shouldn’t Sell Coaching and What to Sell Instead
- 5 Steps to Crafting Your Business Systems
- Are You a Reactive Marketer?
- Avoid Client-Repelling Traps
Understanding the difference between looking at a successful businesses from the outside and looking “under the hood” is crucial. This is the big point I totally didn’t see when I was first starting out. And honestly, most people don’t realize they don’t know it, which is what makes identifying this gap so tricky.
Identifying Your Gaps
So how do you know if you don’t know enough business theory? Start by asking yourself these two questions:
The first and most obvious question is, “Do you know exactly what steps you need to take to grow your business to the level you want to, and do you feel 100% confident you can and will get there?”
Be honest. Are you really on track to making things work? Do you know what you need to do to get from Point A to Point B?
If so, awesome. You understand the theory. If not, it’s a strong signal that learning more business theory is your next step to business success.
The second, more challenging question is, “Do you know why you take certain steps in your business, and can you go 5-why’s deep with each action step?”
For example, why do you blog? To share good content. Why (#2) do you share good content? To build credibility. Why (#3) do you need to build credibility? To establish yourself as an expert. Why (#4) do you need to establish yourself as an expert? So people will trust you. Why (#5) do you want people to trust you? Because if they trust you, they’re more likely to buy.
Did you know all 5 of those why’s for blogging? Could you go deeper? (Hint: I can think of at least 3 more why’s for blogging.)
Can you think through at least 5-why’s for your blog, for your newsletter, for how you craft your about page, for how you’ve constructed your offers, and how you do everything else in your business?
Having a deep, layered understanding of business theory is what creates a successful business. Start digging into how much you really know and identify your gaps. Then, fill them in.
Filling in Your Gaps
Action steps are important, but as you now know, what really matters is understanding of the engine beneath the shiny exterior. Because when you realize there’s an engine, you start figuring out how to assemble your own… and then the car (your business) will actually run! Tweet that!!
So if you’re lacking solid business theory (and how to directly apply it to your unique business), you’re not alone. There’s tons to learn if you want to create and grow a successful business. And as I mentioned above, I share a lot with you on this blog.
At the same time, it’s difficult to fit all of that comprehensive strategy and content into blog posts! This is why I created Make It Work Online, my brand new, three-month coaching intensive for women who are ready to step up and really make their business work.
If you’re thinking, “I could make my business work if I only knew how,” then you’re probably ready to learn a little more theory PLUS how to apply it to your business.
This is how Make It Work is unlike any other business program out there. Most programs only teach you the theory, leaving you struggling to implement the concepts on your own. With this program, I’m going to teach you the theory and immediately help you implement it in your unique business.
Most importantly, Make It Work Online is about results. I’ve done everything I can think of to make sure you know what it takes to grow your business… then actually do it. I believe that you can have the business you dream of, and I’m committed to helping you make it happen.
Registration just opened up yesterday, and it’s not open for very long. Be sure to check it out if you think it might be your ticket to success.
Did You Know There Was an Engine?
Now I’d love to know where you are and where you’ve been in your business.
Are you starting out, like I did, thinking that it’s about the actions, not realizing that the underlying theory is what actually makes your business run?
Have you had your engine epiphany like I did and are now strategically applying the theory to your action steps?
Please share your insights and experiences in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got.
And if the idea in this post is brand new to you and is now stirring up questions, please post those questions in the comments below. I see some free comment coaching coming today….. Let me know how I can help!