Lindsay’s In Business: PART 96. This bubble of a business is about to BURST!

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

It’s April 30, 2020 and the whole world is facing up to the fact that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. As a result of the lockdown, many businesses are not surviving. Millions of workers continue amongst a chaotic remote work life balance. And demand has changed, buying behaviours have changed, and attitudes have changed. Companies everywhere are updating their strategies to accommodate. Misalignment is everywhere.

We now have 91 trained expert practitioners in our network and another 15 are scheduled in the coming 2 weeks.  But most are not salespeople. They’ve read the documents and are ‘accredited’ but say they feel Mirror Mirror is still all theory: they need a first delivery experience.

They have been resourced them with nearly everything I can give and all the while the clock is ticking – I’m conscious that momentum is key. They’re not going to keep connected if it doesn’t start moving…

My (informal) Advisory Board says:

“Focus on sales.  Stay close to the active network members, ignore the others.  Help them get going. Feed your sales funnel.”

I agree.  Everything I can drop that is non-sales related I will.  But the sales funnel. I’m grappling with that.  If it’s all these things – where do I draw the line?

An experienced network member and long-time friend of mine, based in the US, came up with some interesting ideas during the last network meeting.  I call him. We talk. He mentions a business development guy he knows.  My ears prick up.

“What does he do?” I ask.

“We worked with him in the past.  He’s amazing.  He’s just really good at opening doors.  Works B2B generating leads.”

“Sounds expensive.” I’m immediately interested.  What we need now is opportunity.

“Yeah, he works out your targets with you, gets into the product, calls up those companies and gets you meetings.“

WOW.

We get connected on LinkedIn.

An immediate phone call and I love the approach (he’s a sales guy after all).  But how much?  With the one sale I already made this year, it’s affordable.  We agree a 3-month trial.  The timing couldn’t be better. I am expecting a major ROI.  How exciting!!

A huge sigh of relief.  The pressure to generate new leads isn’t just with me.  Even though our trained practitioners were supposed to be our route to market, that’ll take some time. It feels like a weak part of the business just got stronger. And if we own the contracts, we can subcontract the work and make more money – WHICH WE NEED.

While we’re looking at weak parts of the business, there’s one more area I’d like to strengthen.

It’s about marketing communications – I’d always had this uneasy feeling that my efforts were a bit random, a bit patch.  Building awareness, profile and credibility needs to be strategic, targeted.  Wouldn’t it be great if the targeted approach to business development was complemented by the right marketing communications?

For a long time now I’d been trying to get another contact and good friend of mine involved in the business on marketing communications.  He’s got an MBA, he’s an ex-political campaigner, an excellent content strategist, and he knows how it all works.

And right now, like many other freelancers – he’s out of work.  He knows my budget and we met up to talk.  He drops his rates considerably and I basically take him for 5 hours a week straight away.  I’ve managed the business bank balance very carefully but now is the time to put the cash to work.

And those two glaring holes in my carefully crafted bubble of a business – that is just ready to BURST – have concrete resources assigned to fill them as I sign 2 contracts: both starting 1 May, both with a 3-month review.

Elation. I’ve been trying so hard to be those expert people for so long – and now I can hand it over for someone else to own.  I don’t have to be good at everything – I just have to coordinate towards the vision.  I can do that.

So Mirror Mirror – are you for real now – is this ship finally going to sail?

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

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