Screams the look on Isabelle’s face after the biggest decision of her life. In the span of walking Granville Street Bridge in Vancouver, we had just made the unanimous decision to sell our ten year old, successful and award-winning creative firm.
In 2005, though we had truly enjoyed our work, the successes we’d achieved, and the team we’d assembled, we discovered that our underlying need to dig deeper, beyond the external business communications, was growing and we were no longer fulfilled by our business. So we sold our creative firm and took 2006 to travel the world and think; to contemplate our greatest accomplishments and the mistakes we made along the way; to ask ourselves, what does make us tick?
There were a tremendous amount of insights gained that year, but our biggest realization was that business is not who we are…it is what we do; and measuring success can be achieved by simply measuring our level of happiness.
So with that in mind, in 2007 we established our current venture, applying our past experience and facing our future with renewed desire and drive. Needless to say, we have a lot to say about business performance and keeping things simple.
We are a small company by design, because we believe that this allows us the freedom to excel, and help motivated entrepreneurs and small business owners raise the bar through business strategies, performance coaching and brand alignment. Our experience creating and running two successful businesses (and yes, that includes many hide-your-head-in-the-sand mistakes!) is one of our biggest assets and we want to share some of our most crucial learnings with you to help you live your best life while running a business.
We strongly believe that when great engineering meets outstanding, effortless performance, it results in an outrageously fun life. And we are living proof! We have lead a creative firm that pioneered in achieving more in less time, and currently run our second business on even more finely-tuned skills, resulting in being highly profitable from year one. And here’s the kicker, we take at least twelve weeks off per year to travel, explore, and live our ideal life.
So, what is The Next Big Thing according to us?
Walk your talk. (Yup! It’s that simple)
The key behind walking your talk is high-level performance from you and your team; the key behind high-level performance is action – taking consistent action to reach your goals; and the key behind action is setting a common, driven intention that every member of your team lives and breathes.
Now with that being said, you must understand one simple concept: NO-THING works on its own. It is the people behind any given system or procedure that determine its success. For example, have you ever committed to going to the gym three times a week? Usually, the first week is outstanding, attendance is immaculate. Gold star for you! The second week, that very important meeting couldn’t be scheduled anywhere else, you only missed once. Third week, you forgot about that very big deadline and only make it to the gym once. And by the fourth week……the gym?
Now, the gym hasn’t suddenly disappeared into thin air, the equipment didn’t go on strike and walk out. The difference here started with your level of intention. Your good intention of incorporating physical fitness into your life slowly decreased, affecting your ability to take consistent action and get yourself to the gym, and finally the performance of your health suffers because of lack of physical activity. Same with business.
Just because one method works for one business, doesn’t mean the same method will work for another. It all depends on the intention behind the team, behind the method. And beware, when you hear yourself say “It’s working!” you’re very close to screwing it up, for the simple fact that you think IT is working.
As a result of having helped hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, we have discovered the most common Top Three Reasons Why Small Businesses Underperform.
The business owners:
- think they’re caring for their business, but are actually micromanaging it;
- think they’re being strategic, but are simply taking every opportunity that comes their way; and,
- think they’ve started a business to change the world in some way, but become too busy running their business, and the world ends up waiting another year.
A successful business starts with awareness. As a business owner, it is imperative that you be significantly aware of your actions and the results and consequences they bring.
How are you an expansion prevention machine?
Are you being caring or controlling? Are you proactive or reactive? Do you ensure your greater purpose is being served?
Over the years, we have found that a sure-fire way to increase your awareness as a business owner, and consequently increase your business performance, is to have third party support. A coach or mentor outside of your business core to help you with strategy, perspective, resources, accountability, and momentum. ‘Cause when you’re in the frame, you can’t see the picture! We have worked with a coach for fifteen years now, and our performance as individuals, as a team, and as a company is always being pushed. We are constantly making small shifts to keep delivering on our promise day in and day out. To us, our performance is our brand because it is what our customers experience when they interact with us.*