A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of designing your business around your life in my article "Is Your Business Taking Over Your Life?" It's so easy to allow your work to consume you to the point where you have little time or energy left to live the life you truly desire.
If you are working 70-80 hours, it's going to be hard to fit your life in around the edges of that. So, it's essential to step back and take stock of what your ideal life would look like, so you can make sure your business supports what you really want.
Now, once you've consciously envisioned the life you desire, it's time to consciously design your ideal business. From my perspective, this begins by defining the powerful difference you are passionate to make through your life and business.
Who do You want to Positively Impact - and How?
This is the key not only to your happiness in your business, but also to the revenue and profits you'll generate. Think of this as your true north, the right direction both for your life and for the business in which you will be the most successful.
When you are excited about how you are helping others, the difference you are making in their lives, you will become highly motivated to do whatever it takes to succeed. You will also attract the right customers, the ones who are strongly attracted to being helped by you.
Why? They seek the solutions you offer to their problems and the specific manner in which you meet their needs. You will also attract the right business partners, those who are aligned with your vision and priorities.
So, what is the overarching purpose or vision for your business? Thought of differently, what would be missing in your customer's lives if your business didn't exist? What specific and value does your business provide your customers or clients?
What is the #1 Value You Provide Customers?
Once you've identified the difference you want to make, it's time to envision your market niche. They either have a problem you can solve or a need you can fill. Problems show up in two ways: either something your customer wants to get rid (and the negative emotions they associate with it) of or a dream they seek to achieve (and the positive feelings they seek to magnify in their life.)
While a specific problem, such as weeds in the garden, needs a solution for getting rid of the weeds, a need is a deeper. Think of a need as an area of their life or business that requires information, training, or new skills. Examples of needs include: knowing how to consciously build a business or how to save and invest the money needed for retirement.
What does your ideal customer look like? How old is your typical customer? Are they male or female? What are their struggles, needs, interests, and desires? What problems can you solve for them? What needs can you fill?
Utilize information such as this to develop a robust picture of your ideal customer. This is call your customer Avatar. Understanding the products and services that your Avatar wants, at what price, and how they want to consume the products and services is the foundation for the financial success of your business.
Drill Down to Understand Your Customer.
Think of Las Vegas a few years back when they tried to pitch their city as a "family vacation spot." They really missed their Avatar on that one and their economy suffered. These days they send the message that Vegas is the place for "adults who want to have naughty fun" -- a message that really speaks to their niche and what they offer. While this isn't the highest conscious difference, that isn't what Las Vegas is aiming to be for others.
How are you going to know all this information? How are you going to know what your clients and customers want, what form they want it in, and what they want to pay for it? The most simple and direct way is this -- ask them. If you already have a business, talk to your customers.
If you are planning a business, connect with and have conversations with people who are interested in what you are passionate about providing and see what they want, how they want it, and what they are willing to pay for it. You can do this in-person, through online research, and with surveys.
Once you have that information from your prospects or existing customers, revisit what you are excited about and see where that converges with your market. Out of all your customers problems and needs, what are YOU most excited about providing? This is the heart-pumping lifeblood of your ideal business. It's what will get you up in the morning with a powerful feeling for what you will accomplish in the day ahead.
What Most Excites You as a Business Owner?
To be highly successful in your business, it's important that your Avatar is someone you relate to, connect with, understand, and enjoy doing business with. If you don't like or relate to your business Avatar, maybe it's time to redesign your business toward the clientele that does excite you and who really wants what you have to offer.
All of this certainly makes sense when you are consciously designing a new business venture, yet it is just as important to consider when you want to revitalize an existing business. All businesses that become growth leaders in their market, have a clear vision of their purpose and how it best relates to their ideal customer. They know exactly which products and services are right -- and at what price. You must as well.
Being a leader in your market niche is a long-term proposition. Running a business in a conscious sustainable manner requires thinking ahead into the future. It includes anticipating the evolving problems and needs of your customers and how these will converge with your long-term vision for how you want to develop and grow your business.
Begin with Your Long-Term Vision - then Stick to It!
Start thinking ahead now. What type of business do you envision owning in three years?
What are the characteristics of your office and the people you work with? How large of an operation do you desire? How large is your customer base? Size does matter -- and bigger is not always better. Larger operations have different challenges. For example: how do you keep up standards of personalized customer care as you grow beyond what you can personally provide or supervise?
These days there are many options for digital product delivery and virtual operations as well. These can scale more easily and quickly, yet offer less customer interaction, engagement, feedback, and loyalty. What type of interactions do you want you and your business to have with your customers?
How fast do you want to grow? Growing fast is exciting and it brings challenges. Faster is not always better when it comes to quality and sustainability. So what is the right pace for your business to grow?
Especially if you are an early-stage business, growing rapidly should be one of your primary goals. It is easy to double and triple numbers when you are small. Consider that if you grow at 100 percent, you double each year. If you grow at 28 percent , you double every three years.
If you are a non-venture capital business, that is a privately held business, and don't have a large amount of capital, I suggest that you plan on doubling within three years, which requires 28 percent growth -- while maintaining the awareness that 100 percent or more growth is not only possible, it is attained by many small entrepreneurs. Which brings us to the natural question -- why not you?
How FAST Will You Grow Your Business?
While shooting for something that feels realistic within your current set of beliefs, open you mind to up-shifting your beliefs about what is possible and therefore up-shifting your growth rate as well.
Answering these questions will help you envision the size, structure, and growth rate you want to plan for in your business. Consciously designing your business by always keeping these questions in mind will insure that your business makes a big positive difference in your customer's lives, returns the profits that come from providing that big value, and supports you in living the life you desire.
In my next article, we'll explore your own ideal role in your ideal business and how to choose it, so that you both maximize your business growth and your own personal fulfillment and happiness.
I'd love to hear what has worked well for you in consciously designing your business in our discussion below.
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J V Crum III is the founder of ConsciousMillionaire.com; as a business coach, speaker, and podcaster, he is sought after for his unique ability to help entrepreneurs and executives integrate their strengths and passions into a well-defined strategy for creating big profits and making a big difference in the world. Listen to the Conscious Millionaire Podcast, business coaching for conscious entrepreneurs, M-F. J V holds an MBA, JD and a MS in Psychology; his best-selling book, "Conscious Millionaire: Grow Your Business by Making a Difference" is available now.