A business owner who was haemorrhaging cash came for help. I asked one question which revealed his problem.
I asked, “What are you aiming to achieve?”
His strained response said it all. “I don’t want to go broke,” he grimaced.
I asked, “Where are you now?”
His lengthy pause said it all. “I’m going broke.”
An old business axiom suggests, “Energy flows where our focus goes.” Looking at the fatigue lines on his brow, I dropped my gaze to his sunken eyes and said, “What you focus on expands. So why are you focusing on “not going broke?”
Now while his focus and his poor net result may be clear to you and me, he was oblivious. He could not see that he was focusing on the rear end of a losing horse. Instead of looking through the eyes of a first-class winner.
Energy flows where our focus goes
It was delightful to see the lights come on at last when he realised his error. His furrowed brow softened and he retorted, “I get it. I should aim for success and not avoid going broke!”
I smiled and said, “You’re almost there.”
Did you know, those who aim for business ‘success’ will likely fail?
I guess you might be thinking isn’t success a worthy goal? Well yes, but it’s not specific enough. Unspecific business goals lack clarity of action. 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. 80 percent of businesses crash and burn due to a lack of clear planning, according to a Bloomberg report.
Success is a target devoid of a bullseye. It hits the board, but not the mark. If you want business success, it is better to focus on the specific elements that lead to success. I call them ‘key-drivers’; the actions that deliver the most cash into your bank, in the quickest time with the easiest of methods.
Questions are the Key to Business Success
Author of Unlimited Power, Tony Robbins says, “The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life.” Thus, “The quality of your business questions determine the quality of your business.”
Asking a question like “How can I avoid going broke?” is inferior to asking, “How can I double our leads?”
The first question is vague and expands the problem. While the latter focuses on a possible solution. It also suggests you know the key drivers to profitability or may even lead you there.
I would like to ask you now, “What questions are you asking yourself?” And, “What outcome do you expect from them?” These two simple questions hold the power to transform your business.
To simplify this process, ask yourself, “What do I want” and “What question do I need to be answered to achieve it?”
So let me give you some specifics now.
Let’s say, you want to increase your cash flow? Now, before I share with you the 3 Powerful Questions To Get Your Business Cashed Up… Let me first share with you 5 of my most favourite strategies to get cashed up?
5 Cashed-Up Strategies
Strategy #1: 5 Questions to get into deep dialogue with your customers
Profitability and growth come from meeting customer demand. The starting point is to find out what your customers want?
From my experience coaching business owners, many businesses are inside-out marketers. They hide in their offices, relying on their own ideas about what will sell and what won’t. Feedback is the breakfast of champions and if there is no feedback loop, there is no knowing the key influences behind profit.
Which would you rather do? Talk to customers now and find out your idea won’t work? Or talk to customers a year from now and discover your idea missed the needs of your prospects and that’s why you are not profiting?
Get talking today with your customers or prospects. Be courageous enough to ask these five vital questions —
- Why did you buy or why would you buy my product/service?
- What do you like most about it?
- What do you like least about it?
- Who else would like it too?
- Where did you hear about us?
Strategy #2: Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
The number two reason businesses go belly-up is due to me-too marketing. Their business is just like everyone else within the same segment. They’re all selling the same thing, the same way to the same customers. Interrogate your product and service and find a new USP and sell it to a new segment of the market. It’s not always easy to find that new way of positioning your brand, though it pays big time when you do and get it right.
Here are 4 questions you can ask to identify your USP —
- Why would someone want to buy from us?
- What is different about what we do or how we do it?
- Who is the market (that no one serves exclusively) that needs us most?
- How can I mix up the market? What else can we add to what we do or how we do it, to add even more value to what we do?
Strategy #3: Communicate your USP, clearly, concisely, and in a compelling way
Once you’ve worked out your USP, communicate it powerfully and succinctly. Ensure that your customers are clear about who you are and what you deliver. Make it concise — don’t waffle on. Be compelling. Every word should draw your customer in, like the aroma of gourmet dinner after a fast.
Here are 4 questions you can ask to improve the communication of your USP —
- Why do we do what we do?
- What is it? Precisely what do we do?
- Who are our special people; who do we do this for?
- How can I communicate all this clearly, concisely, and in a compelling way?
Strategy #4: Perfect your Cashed-Up business model
At the end of the business day, if you can’t fit your service or product perfectly into a hungry marketplace, you’re dead. Sure, we must experiment to finally hit that cashed-up sweet spot, but do your due diligence. Make certain your business model works and actually returns a decent profit. I’m still surprised how many businesses get this one thing wrong! Intelligent people who failed math 101!
Here are 4 questions you can ask to ensure you turn a profit —
- Why are we doing what we do; what do I gain from doing it?
- What is my target net margin percentage?
- What are my competitors charging and why and how do we compare?
- How can I do it for less or do it better, for more?
Strategy #5: Master your emotions and be a leader
I’m sure you’ve seen it too. Business owners, who do not have business tenacity. Those who lose it when the going gets tough. When it should be when the tough get going!
There’s one question I get asked all the time as a business coach. “What is the difference between what a business coach does from a life coach?” I usually respond with one word, “context.” While a life coach focuses on ‘life’ a business coach helps improve one’s life through ‘business.’ Though the mindset is key to success in for both.
Let’s face it, every business owner will at times hit a wall. Their ability to draw on their desire, skill, and tenacity is key. These traits will have them breakthrough or bomb. We all know a winning team has a coach. It makes sense that a business that wishes to win has someone at ringside. A coach who can help them punch above their weight. Here are some questions that will help your coach to hone the leader within you —
Here are 4 questions you can ask to identify your weaknesses.
- Why would I want to become the best I can be?
- What are the triggers that cause me to lose emotional control?
- Where in my daily tasks, do I lose energy the most?
- What are my businesses’ ‘key drivers’ that have me make the most money with the least effort?
I’m guessing that by now you might see the value of asking great questions. That’s what great coaches are all about because great questions can get you greater results.
So what questions can we ask ourselves to ensure we get our businesses cashed up?
3 Powerful Questions To Get Your Business Cashed Up
Our questions define our destiny. In business, they hold the all-important panacea to creating a cashed-up enterprise. It’s all about setting your intention. Then ask the right questions to meet your intended outcome. Contrary to belief, don’t start your questions with how – Asking how questions are why most people won’t ever get what they want. There is no point in asking a how-to question if you are not the right person to answer it. For example; if you ask, “How can I take my business into the seven-figure space?” When you are nowhere close to seven figures, you just won’t know the answer. You need a who.
Ask “How can I take my business into the seven-figure space?” of the wrong who and you may as well be accepting advice from Yogi Bear! You need to ask a who question before you ask a how question. Such as “Who knows how I can take my business into the seven-figure heaven?” is a much more resourceful question.
Anyone who has mastered cashing up will concur, that there are three questions that you must aim to answer.
‘WHY’ is the first question to getting cashed up?
The first question to ask is not ‘what’ but ‘WHY?’ Why would you start there? Let me share my wealth rhyme; “If you don’t have a why that makes you cry, you will not do, you will die.” If you don’t have a good enough motive, you will not become motivated to do what you have to do. Your idea will remain a dream without an action plan to give your dream life.
When I coach clients wishing to start a new enterprise, I start my first session by asking one question. “If you earned no income in your first year of business, would you continue into your second year?” If the answer is “no” — I don’t work with that client and I let them know why. I prefer to work with people who have a grand vision and a powerful motive. It’s no surprise that the word ’emotive’ houses the word ‘motive.’
The second question to ask is ‘WHAT?’
Having a desire is not enough. You must have a cash vehicle – a WHAT?
In the early days, not everything that Apple created turned into cash. Though one product skyrocketed their income. Steve Jobs was a 21-year-old college dropout. Living with his parents in Los Altos, California. Jobs and two friends, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, would hang out in the garage. Motivated by ‘non-conformity’ they wanted to change the world.’
Later, Jobs invited then Pepsi President John Sculley to join Apple. He motivated him with a BIGGER why. In typical Jobs form, he asked Sculley, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water to children? Or do you want a chance to change the world?” Steve Jobs’ WHAT was his beloved Macintosh computer which he launched in 1984. We all need a WHAT to succeed in business.
While Mac’s 4.1 million sales is paltry against the iPhone’s 43.7 million sales. The Macintosh launched Apple into the hearts and minds of the world.
So the second step is to choose a WHAT; a cash vehicle that is durable, dependable and highly valued. That brings us to the next question — WHO?
The third question to ask is ‘WHO?’
WHO has mastered a similar (if not the same) cash vehicle before you? For me, I started out as a Business Coach and discovered that most of my clients needed help to improve their thinking. So I decided that I wanted to be a great trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Life Coaching. It made sense or should I say dollars, because I loved it so much.
So I chose a mentor who not only mastered NLP, but held legendary status, creating up to $6 Million in a weekend. His name was Chris and I immediately held a deep respect for him – he earned it! He taught me how to teach NLP and I paid careful attention to something he called an ‘expertise pattern’. I followed the steps with religious fervour! Within twelve months, I was an expert in NLP and I made millions.
So be sure to ask yourself better questions and answer your WHY, your WHAT and WHO and choose wisely. They say, “Success leaves clues.” Though if you’re asking the wrong questions, you’re sniffing the wrong trail and you may find yourself following the wrong road altogether.