3 Ways to Beat Procrastination
The 7 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs
The Truth About Why Most Start-ups Fail
I’m willing to place a bet that at some point, as someone motivated and determined to improve your personal or professional life, you will have been swayed by a headline similar to those above. We feel an irresistible, almost visceral magnetism towards statements our brains experience as ‘positive advice’, things we need to do in order to become that Super Me.
This explains the recent success behind self-help books and magazines; titles such as the above stimulate primitive parts of our brain, giving us answers to questions we ask to ourselves consciously and unconsciously on a daily basis. They give us things to do in order to create that perfect life and solve the puzzles that preoccupy us.
But do we really need more things to do? Will you beat procrastination just by knowing the 3 ways to beat it, and will you also become a successful entrepreneur once you are in on their seven carefully guarded secrets?
The answer to these questions, lies all around you. Take e.g. one of the most popular and esteemed self-help books of all time: ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. According to Google, the book has sold more than 25 million copies in 40 languages worldwide. Would you trust that reading the book has led to 25 million (more as many borrowed the book, listened to it on audio or bought it from another buyer) leaders, managers and motivated individuals in general to also become highly effective in what they do? Quite doubtful.
Knowing what to do is one thing, doing it is another. And sometimes doing it, is not the answer at all. Sometimes all you need to do is take a step back, and think about your problem with more clarity, looking at the big picture.
I discovered this the hard way when I was running a skin clinic before the pandemic came to shut the business, as it did to many other small businesses. I had acquired this existing clinic which was based on that location for over 12 years, and was quite excited about this. I was determined to make this business work, and was pouring my heart and soul into it, working 7 days a week. I quickly identified what I thought was the problem: pricing. We had the lowest prices in town and weren’t making much profit. So I got advice and assistance and started upgrading my equipment, did some work to the clinic itself to make it look more appealing and modern, focused on the staff delivering premium customer service, trained them to sell a new top quality skincare range, and raised the prices.
And then…crickets. The clients’ response to all these changes was lukewarm, to say the least. Several regular clients even stopped coming, despite us having trained the staff to reach out to them with lovely phone calls, letters in the post and offers they couldn’t possibly resist. This led to great frustration on my part and that of my staff. Could they not see how much better we were than before?
Once I took a step back and looked at the situation with more clarity, I understood the true nature of the problem. The issue was twofold:
- The clients weren’t visiting the clinic because of the wonderful customer service or the top of the range equipment. They were visiting it because it had the reputation of being the cheapest in town. They were looking for cheap deals, not for quality of service or equipment
- The only treatments the existing clients were prepared to invest in, were quick fix medical style treatments such as dermal fillers and Botox. They weren’t educated, and therefore not interested, in skincare solutions that require regular maintenance and time investment, such as using clinically effective skincare products in order to maintain the effects of the treatments.
Once I identified the true issue, I applied a two-part solution:
- I intensified my outbound marketing efforts and invested in a case management system which helped me get new clients in that look more like my ideal clients
- I used inbound marketing in order to educate people about the role of the nurse so that she could introduce more treatments that are in line with what the existing clients wanted. Furthermore, I encouraged the nurse to also educate people about the importance of skincare maintenance
The solution was there in front of me, but blinded by The Advice, I was looking at the wrong place. My real problem was that I wasn’t yet serving my ideal clients, and didn’t quite understand the existing ones. Once I saw this misunderstanding, the solution to the problem became much clearer. I didn’t need to introduce more things to the clinic. I needed to understand better what the current clients needed, while consistently attracting new ones that fit with how I wanted my clinic to be run.
Clarity of thinking leads to the right solutions. And you would be surprised to find how often that solution means doing less rather than more. Removing thinking that leads to a misunderstanding of the problem, and regularly taking a step back to look at the big picture, might be the single most important skill to help you achieve more at work and in life.