How you sabotage your own growth when you don’t plan for it intentionally.
This actually starts with a funny story. So, the other day I was taking Luna to this area in the city where there’s a line of about 12-15 food trucks everyday. As i’m in line waiting to order I ended up watching a business lesson unfold right in front of me. With these trucks they are always taking orders and also calling out the names of the finished orders for pick up at the same time, and so as the lady was giving someone their order the guy looked inside the bag and was like “Can I get a fork,” and lady told him “we don’t have anymore” and just turned her attention to take another order.
The guys face twisted up with an obvious mixture of like: how do you not have forks for the food I just paid for? How are you not even going to say sorry about it? And, how are you just going to say it in a way like now it’s my problem to figure out?
He walks off pissed and in search of a fork from another truck while she was now in the middle of telling the people ahead of me there was no forks because they saw what happened and starting questioning her like wait… you have nothing, like not even a spoon? So then they decide not to order at all and just walk off,
Now, Luna really loves the food from this truck otherwise I would’ve been out of the line too but I stepped up to order and she says to me “you can order but we have no forks for you to eat it with, is that okay”?
So, you know everyday laid-back Ashley is like cool whatever i’m sure I can find a fork somewhere. But, business Ashley is thinking: “Are you serious? How can you even ask that, you’re not giving me the ability to fully experience what i’m paying you for? I as the consumer should not have figure this out. Do YOU think that is okay?”
So a compromised mixture of “No, it’s not okay business wise that you don’t have forks, but i’ll still going to place my order and figure out how to find my own fork” came out. And, she says back to me” Well, I got 87 people today, and I usually do the silverware packs where it’s has knives, forks and spoons but I ran out of them.”
And again business Ashley is running through my head like “okay so obviously you had enough food for 87 people, you should’ve had enough of everything that was needed for the food….and everything you just told me I should never have to know because it’s not my problem as the consumer. You didn’t open up your doors planning to actually get a lot of customers otherwise you would’ve been prepared."
BUT at this point, I just nod my head because I just didn’t want to get into a discussion when this woman wasn’t in the mental space to have one, she was obviously defensive and stressed which I totally understand because I’ve been there many times in different ways.
So, we get our food, I snag a fork from another truck for ordering a drink and I then I was sitting there thinking…
what is the fork within my own business model? What is something that if the best case scenario of intense growth happened would actually become a problem that I would have to solve or it would present a situation where I had to rework the structure or approach of my business model? What are the tiny supporting elements that can make or break the consumer experience that I’m not currently putting enough significance on?
It also got me thinking about the irony of how we will all sacrifice and almost kill ourselves to get our business off the ground, to get people to take an interest and yet we don’t take the time in our development and evolvement to plan for the growth we are working towards.
I think there are a few different reason why it happens but most of them fall within the following six reasons:
1. Deep down we are hypothetically hoping for it but it feels like a birthday wish instead of a planned possibility.
2. Our minds don’t have experience with what it looks to play at a level of such intense success and the uncertainty causes doubts…which sometimes causes us to sweep the details of what it takes under the rug to worry about later.
3. Our faith level hasn’t elevated enough to believe for levels beyond what we see as possible.
4. Planning for bigger levels reveals more questions that need to be answered and it can feel like a can of worms you’re not trying to open.
5. There can be a low level of self sabotage going on as a means of self defense to avoid disappointment. Sometimes you can rationally justify it that If you never planned for it, you can get disappointed.
6. We never thoughtfully put ourselves in the shoes of the people believing and investing in us to see how each elements of what we deliver feels like on the receiving end literally, not just in theory.
Here’s the problem though when you don’t move past any of those and plan for growth, you run the risk of the following situations happening.
1. You could make a terrible first impression and sometime you never get the second chance to fix it.
2. The story that’s get told about your brand stands out for the wrong reason. Distraction, annoyance and disappointment will always stand out to people and then that becomes their associative memory when it comes to your brand.
3. You turn away the interest and business you worked so hard to get.
4. You lose credibility.
But, there are ways to begin preparing and positioning your mind and your business for growth. Here are my top 5 to begin to plan for levels of success you haven’t seen yet
1. Ask yourself the right questions - are there areas in your business where when you think about it you can feels the uneasy stress rise up? That’s a huge sign that maybe it’s an area of your business that hasn’t been thought through enough, ask yourself what part of it really bothers you. That will be a huge clue to what needs attention.
2. Get out of denial - in essence not planning intentionally for success has the same behaviors and mindset as being in denial about being successful so everything you’re doing now is counterintuitive and counterproductive because you’re working towards a goal you can’t sustain because you haven’t aligned with it.
3. Write out your holes, just having them written gives them significance and when you do that you’ll begin to create a space for the solution. You don’t have to figure everything all out at once, you just need to assign priority to the fact that solutions and attention is needed.
4. Look for problems to solve. Real leaders don’t turn a blind eye to potential problems or issues, they seek them out because they want to be incredibly proactive about putting a solution in place before it’s needed. The solution might not even be the best one, but it’s something to build on and something to fall back in that can be reworked if needed, meaning its better than being completely unprepared. Anticipating need is a priceless boss behavior.
5. List out all the components that fulfill your consumer experience down to the itty bitty details and make give each one a part in the workflow you plan for when preparing anything. Those itty bitty details ( like the fork ) need to have as much significance to you as the bigger details ( like the food )