How to stay solution-focused when you are losing money?
“Everything was working fine. We were comfortable where we were. And then things got really hard. The market changed. We started losing business.”
Does this sound familiar? If it does, then read on….
In this post we are going to outline a case study of a client who was in a situation like this one and we will show you how we went about helping them recover the business, financially.
We’ve come across a lot of businesses, established businesses that for one reason or another lose their way. Now, what if I were to tell you that half the problem was psychological barriers?
In this post you will be able to discover how and why old beliefs and habits are half the problem. You will then be able to remove the old belief out of your way so you can stay solution focused, even at times of financial difficulty.
What do we mean by a belief?
A belief is a thought that you keep thinking, a thought that you keep practising.
Since you want to continue to expand your business, you’ve got to let your beliefs evolve. The habits and the thoughts that helped you get to where we are now, are not always the same habits and thoughts that will help you get to where you want to be.
So if you want to get more money, or want to get your business to the next level, you need to start practising new habits and new beliefs.
Are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution?
When you keep your old beliefs and habits active you become part of the problem. Have you heard the saying “you are your worst enemy”?
Here is why….
Right now you cannot change the situation you are in, as this is a result of your actions and decisions in the past. BUT what you can do now, is do something about your beliefs that are holding you back. Right now you could choose to start seeing things slightly differently and you can also choose what aspects of past events, circumstances, disappointments etc. you keep active in the now.
We have a client who approached us for a help on bringing the financials in balance and bringing the revenue up to the level where it was at some point in the past when the business was thriving. When we first met with them, they said, “Everything was working fine. We were comfortable where we were. And then things got really hard. The market changed. We started losing business.”
Since our initial meeting, each time we had a meeting , we heard the same thing. They were fixated on the fact that things were hard. This is what they were bringing to the table, not realising that nothing was going to change the difficulty of the situation, as this was the most dominant belief in their mind – IT IS HARD. Things are really hard now.
To add to this problem, our client had sought help from 2 other companies before they approached us, so when we met with them they were in so much disbelief about a solution to their problem. They said to us, we tried everything and we are still not getting any results!
They asked us if we could come up with a solution they have not thought about.
To give you a little background, this client is a family run business that has been trading for 15 years, the first 10 as a franchise and the last 5 years as an independent business. They are a distribution business, so they do not manufacture anything but they get to choose what brands they work with and how to bring the products to the market for people who want them.
There is a solution for every problem
Could you agree that if a problem exists, a solution can be found for that problem? Sometimes the solution is created by the same generation and sometimes the solution comes with the next generation.
We have access to so much resource around us, but we are unable to see the solutions when we get fixated on the problem.
Are you able to see who you are about to be, who you could be, what you could have. We could see the success of our client very clearly and their success became our dominant FOCUS. We saw how the business could achieve its success; we saw the business already successful.
We believed in our client’s success and kept holding that image ACTIVE in our minds, which then translated into the solution we created for our client.
We were able to observe everything that symbolised potential of the business and its success, whilst our client kept being fixated on lack of money and financial difficulty.
Now you might be thinking, “Yes, it’s easy for you not to get all wound up by the losses, as you are an outsider” and you are right to be thinking this. We found it easier to detach from the situation than our client. Financial difficulty was their day-to-day experience and that made it really hard for them not make it the dominant focus.
The point we are trying to make here though is that if you want to bring yourself to a place of openness to see the solutions, you’ve got to start practising different thoughts; you’ve got to start believing that you are on your way to improvement and every situation is temporary, no matter how hard it seems to be.
You’d be surprised to hear that a case like this was not new to us. We come across businesses, established businesses that for one reason or another lose their way.
Markets change, industries become more competitive, disruption happens, the business climate changes. They do not adjust well to these changes. The result? Loss of customers, loss of market share, loss of money culminating in financial difficulty.
So how do you go about fixing this?
First, go back to basics. Why are you in business? What’s the essence of your business? Who do you serve? What do you do?
Second, what are your customers buying, really? Is it the actual product, or the experience that comes with it? This will form your differentiating activities.
Third, what are the choke points in your industry (and are accepted as the norm)? And are you able to find a way to address one or more of those choke points?
Using the above approach, we were able to redefine the customer segments and re-package the products (services) to make them more competitive. Together with our client, we built attractive offering for the newly defined and niche segments and started charging more for it also. We improved the service to make it above market expectations and started to define a new benchmark for how things should be done in this space.
Slowly our client started to gain traction in the market. They have already recovered from the financial distress now and their finances are picking up a momentum. Who knows what this would result in the years to come! The sky is the limit!
If you want to see results come quicker, start to tell a new story, a story about how you’d like things to be, not how they are (if the way things are is not how you want them to be).
So for example, the story our client should have been telling is “Things are working out, we are finding our way in this, we got little bit complacent in the past, but that’s ok we are doing something about it right now. We can see why what we are doing right now will change the situation we are in. Things are getting better and better. We have experienced success before and we know how it feels. We can be successful again.”
If our client started to tell a new story, they would have experienced results within 6 months, at most, not 4 years, as it was the case.
A feeling of relief is what you should be aiming for. Let your desire for RELIEF be more important than your desire for more money. You will notice that you will open up to more ideas to recover your financial difficulty.
But how can you stay solutions focused when you are losing money?
By becoming a part of the solution, not the problem. How do you do that?
By keeping the old beliefs and habits out of your way.
If we were in your situation, and we wanted to improve your financial situation, we would deploy one or a combination of the three strategies below:
1.Deactivate your old belief – this is a really hard thing to do, because there is a momentum already going with the old belief. You are naturally drawn to think that way and that is what you have been practising for so long. For example, in the case with our client, they kept looking for evidence of what is not working to support their beliefs! They’d say: “See we told you. This has happened again! People didn’t show up for an interview! or “People are taking a long time to make a decision!”
So in order to deactivate something you need to activate something else that will become the dominant focus of your attention. Something that you know is already working for you.
This way you will create an atmosphere where you will become more receptive of things that are working; you will become more solution-focused.
In the case of our client, when we were trying to recruit more staff, we realised that all staff that they had recruited before came through a word of mouth, so that’s what we started doing. We started to ask around for recommendation of people who fitted our description. Online advertising did not seem to work for this business, so we went to what was working and took it from there.
2.Shift your old beliefs – by focusing your attention on your desire and challenge your old beliefs.
For example, when our client kept repeating what was working in the old days, we kept reminding them that, what was working back then is not really working now, otherwise they would not be in the financial despair. We were encouraging them to release the past and what was working back then and focus on the now and what is going to work now to make more money. We insisted on focusing the attention on making choices that we trust and felt good. After a while the good feeling solutions and choices became dominant in our conversations.
You see, if an old belief is no longer serving you, it becomes unhelpful to you and your business right now. And how do you know if a belief is not serving you? Because it sucks every time you focus on them.
Expansion insists that you let go of the past. Your business produces problems that cannot be solved with your old way of thinking and looking at things. And your desire for solutions demands dissolving of bogus beliefs.
3.Expand another belief around the same subject – look at what is working well and build on it.
In the case with our client, we saw that they had a lot of unique and competitive components in their business, such as the business terms, the products they were offering and the service was above the market expectations. We discovered these things during our engagement, through conversations and a feedback from the market.
This is why we were able to build attractive offering for the newly defined and niche segments and we could charge more, also. We improved the service to make it above market expectations and started to define a new benchmark for how things should be done in this space.
To try this approach for yourself, focus your attention on other aspects of the area you are concerned about. Aspects that you believe are already working. Start very general and go into specifics only on things that feel comfortable when you think about them.
This strategy will help you introduce more things into the area of concern, things that are working well. You will notice that your confidence will be renewed.
Old beliefs that are not serving you will not stop from having what you want, but they certainly prolong the time it takes for you to get to what you want. For our client, it did not need to take 2 years to get to the state of financial despair and another 2 years to get traction in the market, to fully recover and pick up financial momentum.
When you get in your own way, there is not a single person who could remove you from your own path. Others can influence you to become more cooperative to the solutions, but they cannot do the work for you.
For us, there is nothing more satisfying and joyful than seeing a business with all its potential, at times when others cannot and then influencing the situation and the people into believing the success of the business and then witnessing the success and the gaining of financial strength.
If you believe that you might be getting bogged down by losing money and you are finding it difficult to stay focused on what will move you forward, or even worse, you feel stuck and you don’t know how to move forward feel free to reach out us for answers and a plan. You can book initial consultation by clicking the button below. Go ahead, we’d love to hear from you.