What Would You Do If You Were Fearless?
A question we may ponder from time to time, but probably not in the context of technology.
For this question, I am asking you to consider your technology, your systems and your processes. And I ask you, in that context, What Would You Do If You Were Fearless?
If there were no limitations holding you back. If you could do anything you wanted to do, anytime you wanted to do it, and any way you wanted to do it.
What would you do?
Would you implement something new in your business? Release a new program? Reach out to more people more often? Deepen your relationships with your tribe? Automate things that are now manual? Review your data more frequently and more critically?
You may wonder why I am asking you such an odd question.
Because if we really look at our options, and if skill level and comfort weren’t an issue, anything IS possible!
Technology today can do almost anything we ask it to.
There are 3 things that typically stand in the way of having technology perform the way we want.
We limit our ideas by what we believe technological limitations are
We don’t think about our perfect set up until after we’ve already started
We limit our ideas by our own nerves and skillset
And all of these can be overcome.
In today’s world of technology and virtual living, there are platforms for almost everything you can imagine. And whether through coding or programs designed for this use, we can integrate almost any program with anything else to make it do what we want.
I have worked with literally dozens of companies, from small 1 or 2 person coaching businesses just starting out to companies of 100+ that are doing 8 and 9 figures a year.
And one thing is constant, regardless of the company size or team knowledge base.
Technology becomes a sticking point at some time.
So to kick off our #FearlessFriday series let’s start by thinking fearlessly.
Let’s start by imagining what your business would look like if it did everything you wanted. If things that you spend too much time on now were automated, if information were stored and available when you needed...if it was simple.
If the technology you set up supported your business and worked around your processes rather than the other way around.
What are some examples of things you can do? Here are some ideas:
Add a new task to your project management system anytime something is added to a spreadsheet
Add a new entry to a spreadsheet, with a file attached, anytime an email comes in
Send you a notice in Slack anytime you are mentioned in social media so you can respond and capture as testimonial if appropriate
Send emails to people based on specific behaviours they take so the messaging can be highly targeted
Send gifts to clients based on anniversaries or milestones accomplished
Email reports to you every morning with data on your email campaigns and related sales
Post new blog posts by sending an email
And so much more…
The list of things you can ask technology to do for you is literally endless.
But you have to ask. And the earlier you ask the better.
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee
I have worked with a lot of companies who end up scrapping a software program because they don’t believe it can do what they want.
In almost every instance it could have done what was required. The issue was not a lack of ability, it was a lack of understanding of the technology and of the needs.
In order to have a great outcome with technology, I recommend the following steps to get you closer to the outcome you are hoping for.
Understand your needs
Take the time to get really clear about what you want to have happen. Write out your outcomes. Draw out your workflow. The more you understand what you need to have happen the better you can explain it to vendors, contractors or anyone else who needs to help you execute it.
Also, set aside the time to dive into the details. I have worked with people who wanted different things done, said they would pull together the specifics, and other priorities always took over. Then they wanted their contractor or vendor to imagine what their outcome is.
That isn’t ever going to get you the result you are looking for.
Set aside the time, and respect that time, to figure out exactly what’s needed. Whether that’s the numbers for your reporting, the exact workflow you will need to follow to make things run smoothly, or the volume of email you will be sending, the details matter.
Talk to several colleagues
The next thing you will want to do talk to other people in your industry to find out what they are doing.
And just a warning. This can get a bit tricky.
What you want to get from your friends and mentors is a feel for what they have found that works, where they have already found things that don’t work, and people they have enjoyed working with.
What you don’t want to get from them are a bunch of limiting beliefs about certain products or abilities, a negative view of things because something they tried didn’t work, or discouraged about possibilities.
Again, with technology and preparation, anything is possible.
Decide what you want to start with and how you want to implement
Once you have a good idea of what you want to accomplish, it’s time to decide not only where to start but also how to start.
What I mean by that is do you want to figure it out and go it alone or do you want to hire people to help you. Both options work well, and yes, there is an in between.
You can find someone who can help you with the implementation and also train you on how to do it yourself in the future. One thing we do with our clients is make them videos of what we do so they can do it on their own.
We believe in empowering our clients to work with technology, and providing videos is a powerful way to do that. If you are nervous about doing it yourself, but want to own the process moving forward, or at least know how to do things, this is a good option for you.
So decide how you want to implement and where you want to start. Now it’s time to start having conversations.
Talk to vendors and contractors
Your team, vendors and contractors will be instrumental in bringing your vision to life. Since you’ve taken the time to get clear on your goals you can now begin explaining them to the people who will help you implement them.
Share your goals and your vision and find out what they think it will take? Is it possible? If it’s not natively possible, what would be required to get it done? Let them know, you aren’t asking if it’s hard. That’s for them to worry about.
You are simply asking if it’s possible and what time and money it will require. Armed with that information you can make the next decisions necessary.
setting deadlines increases the likelihood of success by as much as 11.5 times.
Set realistic deadlines
Now that you have talked to your vendors and contractors it’s time to make some decisions about what you will work on and when you want to have it done. Deciding the what is easy. The primary considerations are how much it will cost and how long it will take.
Once you know what you want to start with it’s time to look at your calendar and set some realistic dates for when you would like it done. If you are looking at more complex set ups then I definitely encourage you to add 10% on to the estimated completion time to allow for errors and surprises.
Much better to be ready early than to miss a deadline!
Get any contract work and vendor relationships nailed down in writing
Once you know your requirements it’s time to get started. Before doing anything make sure you get contracts for everything. If your vendor doesn’t supply one then I recommend you supply it. This will serve to clarify the pricing, scope of work, delivery timelines and confidentiality.
Ok, now you’re ready to make your technology work for you!
Remember, perhaps the most important part of this entire process is the imagining and visioning in the beginning. Be brutally honest about what would help you run your business the most effectively. Take an honest inventory of the tasks you are not good at but need to be done, and see if there’s a way to delegate that to technology.
It may take a little more time to do it right, but that will pay dividends to you in coming months and years.
Impatience is super common at this stage, and feeling like getting something going fast is better than taking the time to do it right. That could be the case. It is more likely that you and your company will be better served by doing it right the first time.
So take the time to envision what you want. Answer any and all questions asked by your vendors and experts, and share your goals and objectives openly. It is only through this kind of prioritization and transparency that you will get what you want.