A few years back, the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” starring Paul Newman, identified a universal concern as it pertained to the business world. In a famous scene, the feisty prison warden directed his wrath toward Newman and said in a threatening tone. “What we have here… is a failure to communicate.”
This single scene may very well be responsible for the popular communications movement today. It is the “in” thing to blame most business problems on “communication” or the lack thereof. I’m not so sure.
I concur that marketing communications, along with “customer service” are topics that warrant daily attention. But based on the belief that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, I am afraid that your communications skills just may be as good as they are going to get. You already know how to talk and you already know how to listen. And why you don’t perform either of these skills at a higher level is a conversation for another day.
As it relates to the home-based entrepreneur, I believe the problem is not a failure to communicate, but rather the failure to think. Next to “How am I doing?”, I bet the next most popular question you ask is “What was I thinking?”
If small business entrepreneurs, of all shapes and sizes, could manage to slow down long enough to think about the many available opportunities, think about the possibilities, think about the specific results of every action and reaction, think about their strengths and weaknesses, think about the ramifications of not making that next phone call, think about what and who is paying your bills, think about the gaps that are ever present in the marketplace, think about the wants and needs of their prospects and customers, and think about what is important in their lives…then they all would be far better off than they are.
I’m the first to endorse the idea of taking action in a timely fashion. I’m just as quick to chastise the slackers who drag their feet and offer meaningless excuses for their lack of action and success. I’m even guilty at times of practicing the strategy of “Ready, Fire, Aim” when push comes to shove.
Activity for activity’s sake is tantamount to “spinning your wheels.” Continuous movement might satisfy your urge to look busy, but in and of itself, it doesn’t help pay the piper. As you work your way through this highly competitive industry as home-based entrepreneurs, you simply do not have the luxury of wasting time, money, or resources. It is imperative that you focus on your prospects and do everything in your power to move the selling process forward. This calls for a plan and a strategy.
This winning plan or strategy may be as simple as a five-letter word: THINK. Thinking has become a lost art, a luxury, a practice long gone and forgotten. Thinking coupled with reflection is often seen as laziness and goofing off by those not in the know. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am quick to defend the mid-afternoon power nap if it helps to stimulate creativity. Slowing down, resting and allowing our minds to work at a more leisurely pace just might be what our frantic world needs. Taking long walks at lunch and even longer showers are both on my personal to-do list for the remainder of 2014. Why? It’s because these activities have proven time and again that they stimulate my thought. Your results may vary.
I’ll tell you why I believe so many people fail to think. They have given up reading. Reading has slowly become a time-consuming chore. In its place, people have become comfortable watching television consisting of too many mindless reality shows and news programs featuring the negative side of life and being fed sound bites on their smart phones.
If you are serious about growing your business, find more time to think. Not only will you find yourself thinking about some pretty cool ideas, strategies and ways to propel your business forward; but you will also find the payback to be more rewarding. It may also be comforting to know that thinking is habit forming, and non-fattening.
So make it your business to clear your mind of all useless clutter and find some time to think more or less on a regular basis. Thinking just may be the fastest way to distance yourself from your competition. Think about it!
Mike Marchev shares his down-to-earth business development ideas in an entertaining and easy to listen to style with travel professionals and small business entrepreneurs. He has been doing so since 1984. He can be contacted at Mike@MikeMarchev.com, or www.MikeMarchev.com, or 848-702-1009.