A unique profession…my job is helping franchisees access their true potential in order to scale and build the franchise or small business empire of their dreams. Working with franchisees I see many things that hold them back. One in particular I see all the time is accessing the resources, skills, business intelligence, and the mindset that leads to building a business empire. Coupled with the fact that they've tried something and it hasn't worked.
It’s natural for the human psyche to avoid pain, so if we’ve experienced something in the past that did not turn out well. It's 100% natural to identify how we got to that pain and then make sure it never happens again. One way (and probably the most common way) is to avoid the thing that took us to that pain.
This pops up a lot with franchisees in the fact that they feel like they've been “burned before” and I see it quite a bit when it comes to marketing. An example I hear all the time is, they've hired a marketing agency, put money into digital marketing ads or social media management, and they don't see results. Sometimes it was a mismatch with the agency, so they may seek out a better agency to work with. But after a few months, if franchisees still aren't seeing the results then they come to the conclusion that digital marketing doesn't work for them.
This is how we start to identify where we let past negative experiences determine the success and potential that we have to experience today. When we make blanket statements such as, “______ doesn't work for me”.
The reality is, the strategy is not necessarily bad, it could be the implementation of the strategy, the software that is being used, or the people/agencies that are being used to implement the strategy. In some cases, you know what, it could be the strategy! This doesn't mean that overall, it's something you shouldn't be doing. The strategies might change, but everyone needs to market in one way, shape, or form. And yet, I find franchisees and small business owners who aren't spending any marketing dollars because they've been burned. It started off as, “it doesn't work for me.” What it snowballs into is a fear of failing again.
The fear of failing bubbles up when we are afraid of making another misstep particularly because money is often tied to these failures. We feel like we “wasted money" when in fact, it wasn't necessarily a waste, we learned what not to do.
Unfortunately, though, fear paralyzes people. Once you're paralyzed, you can no longer take action because of bad experiences. Ultimately, your business will slide backwards causing it to decline and fail if you get stuck in the paralyzing fear.
So, how do we prevent that? Well, let's look at other instances in life where fear does not paralyze us. The easiest analogy is dating. For most people, they did not marry the first person they had a crush on. For me. I was a little mature for my age, and had my first boyfriend in first grade and we were an item for two years. (Yes, long term relationship right out of the gate.) We held hands during library time. That was the extent of our whole relationship until I cut my hair. When I cut my hair JoJo, he broke up with me. It was a sad day.
That didn't stop me just because I had one failed relationship in the third grade. It didn't stop me from looking for the next cute guy on the playground, or in my high school or college classes. I eventually found my husband when I was in law school, and my husband is my perfect match.
I can see retrospectively where every one of those relationships I had before I met my husband might have been stressful and sad when they ended but they were teaching me lessons for what I did/didn't want. So when I met my husband I was able to identify with certainty this was the man for me.
Continuing to date after each breakup was an investment that would pay off and give me the life I wanted. If I would have said “Dating doesn’t work for me, people now think less of me because I can’t hold down a relationship. I’m not doing that again”, after JoJo dumped me in the third grade. Then where would I be today?
Why is it so easy for us to overcome this exact same scenario when it comes to our personal lives and dating but so difficult in business? Well, the answer is love.
Love is the strongest emotion. When navigating through dating experiences, we view the next potential relationship with hope and love, because ultimately we are seeking love and acceptance.
In business, it's different, many times when we are navigating through finding the perfect marketing agency after we “broke up” with the last one, a new marketing company comes to us with solutions they claim will take our business to the next level. We don’t view that with hope and love. We view it with scarcity and fear… “What if I waste more money on this? What if it doesn’t work again?”
When dating, we risk ourselves and our emotions. When in business, risks often involve putting money into the game. It turns out we're more afraid of losing money than we are of getting emotionally hurt.
Money is often the outward status symbol of our success. Whereas our emotions are the inward measurement of whether something is successful. If you feel great about it, it's a success. If you feel crappy about it, it's a failure. Only if you make money are you outwardly successful. If you made a bad decision and you lost money, it may put you in a position where you can't make other decisions and your mind tells you that everyone's going to know that you're failing.
It's up to you to reverse that, commit to the feeling of hope, and commit to where you want to be. It's up to you to understand that taking risks will always be part of getting what you want.
You took a risk to become a business owner and you took a risk in that hypothetical marketing agency example above. If you really want to achieve your goals and dreams, you have to keep taking risks.
How do you continue to take risks and protect yourself? Well, you have to become smarter about the subject matter you are taking a risk on. Let’s stick with the marketing example, when you have business intelligence, about marketing, it allows you to properly vet marketers. So now you know the right questions to ask, which metrics to take a look at, how to read and understand results they have earned for past clients, and you know how to evaluate the graphic design quality, the copywriting, and whether or not it fits within a particular customer avatar of yours.
When you gain business intelligence, you don’t have to fear making a bad investment, because you know how to vet companies. You’ll be able to spot when a person knows exactly what they're talking about and alternatively, when they don’t have a clue and are just out for your money. You’ll even be able to identify when they know what they are talking about but you didn’t feel in alignment with them.
The key is investing in yourself first. When you decide to take another chance on love you evaluate what you did or didn't like about the past one. You analyze how you want to feel in a relationship, where you want to meet your next partner, etc. What you're doing is educating yourself on what you want and don't want. You are increasing your relationship intelligence.
Business owners make a mistake when they hire a marketing agency believing they will take over all the marketing for them. They trust the marketing agency to obtain great results for them. When the marketing was not done the way expected, the business owner loses trust, not just in that marketing agency, but in all marketing agencies.
When you build your business intelligence in a particular area (marketing in this example) that does not mean you have to be the one doing the marketing, it just helps you find, identify and select the right person who is the expert to take you where you want to be.
The key is to always invest in your business intelligence first. When you build your business intelligence, then every time you get a quote, burned by picking the wrong person, or invest in the wrong tactic you can take a moment and educate yourself on what needs to take place in the future.
What you end up discovering is that you may need to learn more in order to find out what piece of the puzzle was missing. This will make you the strategist of your business that can identify what will take you to your goals fastest.
So have you been burned before? You're not alone. It's happened to all of us in one aspect of life. Don’t let that burn paralyze you, holding you back from the greatness you’re capable of. Overcome the “burn” and find the resources you need, whether it's education, or more capital to make more investments so that you can reach your full potential and fulfill your purpose.
If you are ready to build your business intelligence and learn about legal finance, marketing, operations, mindset, leadership, human resources, and even more, then I encourage you to come to the Release Your Business Beast Bootcamp. It's free, just three hours over three days.
We'll be covering the different aspects of elevating yourself and your business. That's why it's called Release Your Business Beast, because each one of you is a business beast just waiting to break out of your cage. All you need is the right resources to make it happen. So, I hope you'll join us.