Whilst so many are keen to share their ‘perfect lives’ on social media, with glamorous photo’s depicting success in its many forms. The simple fact is, life ISN’T all rose petals and sunshine. The reality can often be VERY different to that which is being portrayed.

I take great pleasures in watching as my clients win awards, take on new staff, new offices, new clients. Take luxury holidays, buy their ‘dream home’ and enjoy all that life has to offer.

But life is not always as grand. Yesterday, I had the displeasure of offering a ‘reality check’ to a client on where we are right now. They have been working for almost 2 years now on this project. Applied a large chunk of time, and money and resource to it, with high expectations of this taking them ‘to the next level’.

I was most grateful to be invited to ‘BETA TEST’ the project prior to launch, and on Friday was given ‘behind the scenes’ access, with invitation to offer feedback and comment.

But I don’t simply glance over it and say WOW. That would be both incongruent, unethical and of no real value. I take the time to consider WHO they are targeting with this project. Immerse myself in THAT persona, and by doing so determine if THIS meets THEIR requirements.

My feedback is detailed, measured and well considered. They are not looking for a ‘pat on the back’ and a “Well done” (Anybody can do that for them. No, my role is to break it. Smash it up and destroy it. My role is to be the antagonist, the disruptor, the down-right, damn awkward, belligerent one with whom is never satisfied, who finds fault in everything, and challenges your every action and consideration! (And, after years of ‘practice’  I can play this extremely well).

You see, for the majority of business owners, they miss a vital part in the importance of standing apart.  Standing alone from any other business in their sector, in fear of missing out!

I will NEVER forget the words spoken by Warren Buffett, when he declared:

“If you want to reach the very TOP of your profession. You FIRST have to segment yourself in every way, from everybody else at the BOTTOM of the industry. Only once you are different can you begin to ascend”

 And yet the majority of business owners are so fearful of ‘going it alone’ that in some way, shape or form. They break, they compromise, they go back to ‘SAFE’ and by doing so also compromise on the chance to be seen AS something different!

We all know the quote:

“If you always do, what you’ve always done. You’ll always have (at best) what you have already”

And yet, there are still far too few business owners truly willing to BREAK THE MOULD and set themselves out as SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

My clients don’t come to me to be there best friend (Although we are friendly to our clients). They don’t come to me to be congratulated or praised or rewarded (Even though we remain both genuine and generous in our recognition of our client’s achievements).

My clients don’t come to me for a shoulder to cry on, a hug or tissues (Even though I have been known to provide all of these things).

What they come for is honest, authentic, customer centric feedback, guidance and accountability as THEY build THEIR successful businesses.

So, on Friday, a client invited me to ‘take a peek’ behind the scenes at the ‘finished project’ prior to their intent to launch this week. They have spent 2 years working on this, and have a significant marketing campaigned planned over the next 2-3 months to really drive this project forward to both their current and future target clients.

But rather than crack open the champagne and deliver a compelling vote of confidence to the team. I’ve put a huge great oily spanner in the works, which has halted proceedings!

Can’t see the wood for the tree’s

You see, like MANY other business owners, who are so busying working IN the business, they fail to allocate sufficient time to STOP, take a birds eye appraisal of the business, who it is serving and the impact is it having. They get so wrapped up internally they simply (and so easily) stray one degree ‘off course’. And whilst this may appear nothing (at the offset) left unattended and this will NEVER enable you to achieve what you SET OUT to achieve!

My role in this regard is to therefore measure your current efforts and actions against the overall business plan, to determine how is THIS contributing to THAT? The easier it is to see the correlation, the more likely it is to achieve it! The more elaborate we have to be to make the correlation for more we have blown off course.

I’ve spent my time, going through line by line of the project to determine what is the intent, and in line with the business plan, the ideal target client avatar, the customer journey where this project has become misaligned with these objectives. We’ve looked at what now is required to bring this project BACK into alignment, and project planned a revised timescale as to the impact this has on the other elements of the business.

I’m deeply sorry, not to have been able to break open a bottle of champagne today and celebrate. But I’m not sorry in the slightest as to the reasons as to WHY this is the case. Knowing full well, if you want to be exceptional, you have to deliver exceptional. If you want to be seen as DIFFERENT to everyone else, you have to BE different to everybody else. If your goals are to achieve more, we first have to BE more!

Kaizen philosophy teaches is the importance of incremental improvements. Not completely changing something, simply perfecting everything we do.

We ALL have systems, processes and people within our business. Things may appear to be ‘running smoothly’ and so, you are busy looking for ways to GROW and SCALE?

What have you FAILED to re-check recently?

What are you overlooking that once you have delved back inside, will find ISN’T exactly as you had thought?

What INCREMENTAL improvements can you make on the fine tuning within every aspect of your business, so go from GOOD to GREAT, and from GREAT to EXCEPTIONAL?

The little things ARE the big things.

And missing these in favour of NEW is costing you greatly!

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