Fear Is NOT A Growth Strategy

by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

© 2009 Linda Feinholz.

Businesses are not build on fear – they’re build on optimism.

Moreover – the companies that succeed, that thrive, and that last over time are those run by people who can separate out the noise from the naysayers chatter and locate the opportunities that surface.

As Amy C. Crosper, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur magazine puts it, “It’s bad enough that Detroit is wheezing and Rome is burining and all hell has broken loose, but what’s worse is that the situation is making normally rational people act like loonies.”

You and I have been here before – fear makes us irrational. I’ve listened to business leaders declare that cutting is the strategy to follow, instead of growing. They are not equal choices in business. Never have been. Never will be.

And people who pour their time into rationalizing cutting are often missing their golden opportunity to Be The Game Changer.

When I talk about changing the game with my consulting and coaching clients, I come at it from several directions.

For business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs who have a roster of employees they want to take care of, ‘game changing’ can include a fresh look at the company’s core competencies in order to become laser focused at marketing them – creating a sharply defined identity in the existing marketplace.

One of my clients is a re-finisher of manufacturing parts. In this economy they are deliberately going after every certification that is relevant in their industry. They’re putting in the time and effort so that they can secure the long-term highly profitable contracts that ARE going to be signed by their customers. While this means taking on added systems and tracking and documentation demands of their entire workforce – the new stability they are creating is well worth it.

How can you do this in your own business? Birth new entrepreneurs.

What do I mean by that?

It’s time to reward everyone in your business for thinking like an entrepreneur.

Assign everyone in the business the task of looking for opportunities – new ways of getting things done more efficiently inside, and scanning for how to leap ahead of the competition that’s focused on shrinking instead of growing.

Come up with messages and actions that reward each person who steps up with a new idea – for leveraging themselves, for leveraging systems, for leveraging the company’s expertise to go after new customers and to offer new services to your faithful clients.

I want you to think about this on both the ‘business’ level, and the ‘individual’ level. It’s just as relevant, and just as important in each of thoses arenas separately AND when taken together.

Let me explain what I mean.

My long-time client and coaching Club member Anne is a perfect example.

Anne has spent the last two years focused on accelerating the growth of a technology start-up in Santa Monica. And she and the company President have concluded that the initiative just won’t work. Not enough barriers to entry, and too broad a range of prospective customers. No way to tighten the the niche without burning through too much cash, while the business opportunity gets fractured among all the small players dashing into the frey.

So, what does that mean for Anne?

Well, as she and my other Business Accelerator Club members know – from my perspective it just means time to hit ‘reset.’

That’s all.

And that’s everything.

It doesn’t mean doom, gloom and despair. It does mean it’s time to brush off the distracting messages about lay-offs and economic collapse to look at how to take all her know how, all her expertise, and her entire proven track record and CREATE a whole new category: Anne Schmidt.

The last time we did this, web 2.0 was in it’s infancy. ALL the techniques we used were off-line positioning. Now it’s an integral component of how we’ll be repositioning her so that:

  1. Her voice and expertise become known to a wider audience
  2. Her credentials are demonstrated to her ideal, targeted pool of prospective clients
  3. Her expertise can be leveraged to create new streams of income for her

We’ll be laying the specific strategies for leveraging her long-term business connections, her specific success as a business growth and turnaround expert, and incorporating the new avenues created by technology to give HER the choices about who to work with next.

And everyone in the Club will be learning from her as she takes each step.

Fearless. Forward.

Focused on opportunities.

Oh, by the way – the same techniques are available to you, too!

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