By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
When business is good, it’s easy to overlook the parts of your business that are not working so well or as they should. When business drops off, you may wonder what happened. That’s when you need to set aside some quite time and reflect on what’s going on.
We all have blind spots, weaknesses we ignore or miss. If you’re willing to invest the time to really dig into your business results and understand why you’re getting them, you’ll learn more from that activity than someone telling you what to do.
In his best selling Primal Leadership – Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence, renowned business consultant Daniel Goleman, along with his co-authors Richard Boyatzis and Anne McKee, points out that to be effective leaders must first be self-aware. My business coach—yes, I have a coach, too—speaks often about his journaling and how that helps him run his business successfully.
Self-awareness comes from self-reflection, and that gives us clues about the situations in which we find ourselves and how we are responding to them. When we become aware, we are no longer prisoner to our blind spots, habits, and old ways of thinking and doing things.
If you’re not happy with your current business activity, reflect on the following:
- If your business is slow, why is it slow?
- What are you doing to market your services?
- Are your marketing efforts bringing you the results you expect?
- If not, why not?
- What could you do differently?
- What are the best practices of other successful designers?
- How have they gotten business recently?
- What is the underlying cause of that specific marketing tactic not working?
- Are you targeting the right clients?
- Are you “being seen” in the right publications?
- Is your message right for the audience?
- Do you have a “call to action” or reason for your audience to contact you?
There are some designers in this market that are very busy. They have been working relentlessly on getting published and photographing their work. They are marketing machines.
What about the way your business is operated? Are there activities you are doing that are busy work instead of productive work?
If you have employees, are you positive and encouraging? Are you explaining why you’re doing what you’re doing?
If you’re not getting the results you want, take some time to reflect on the actions you’re taking. Our current results come from a series of small actions that accumulate. All of those actions come from decisions, those decisions come from thoughts, and those thoughts are within your control. Choose your thoughts carefully.