How Believing in Evolution Can Bolster Your Business in a Bitter Economy

During the Q & A portion of a recent workshop, one of my participants asked a question that TOTALLY stumped me:

“Scott, in the past few years, I’ve watched the way you’ve evolved your business as a writer, speaker and coach …

…Can you share some insight into how you’ve done that so well?”

And I believe my exact words were, “Um … uh … well, you see, what happened was … I mean … I think that I…”


After about thirty seconds of stalling, circling and stammering, I finally came up with a coherent answer. The questioner was satisfied. My butt was saved. And yet, I still wasn’t happy with my response.

So, I took three immediate actions…

FIRST, I gave the guy an autographed copy of my new book as a thank-you for stumping me. As a recovering know-it-all, I admit this (does) happen from time to time. And as a Thought Leader, I’m always indebted to those who challenge my brain.

SECOND, went out to lunch at Culpepper’s to ponder that question over an order of wings. I’m not sure why, but there’s something about hot sauce that really gets my hamster wheel spinning. Must be a St. Louis thing.

THIRD, wrote out a master list of lessons learned that other entrepreneurs could apply to their own businesses. I asked myself questions like, “How did I evolve?” “What questions did I ask myself?” “What steps did I take?” “What mistakes did I make?” and “What epiphanies paved the way?”

I’d like to share (part of) that list with you now. Also, along with each example, I’ve offered a “Sticky Note Suggestion.” Use these to remind yourself of your entrepreneurial evolution. Post them on your desk, computer, car or, if you’re so inclined, forehead.

So, as you read these strategies, I’m going to challenge you to plug yourself into the same equation. I’m going to challenge you to ask the crucial entrepreneurial equation: “How are you evolving YOUR business?”

Because in a tough economy, growth isn’t an option – it’s an obligation.

1. Be on a constant search for new ideas. They’re everywhere, as long as you (1) Actively seek them out, (2) Listen closely, (3) Learn to freeze situations, (4) Look for parallels, and (5) Write them down.

And probably the best source of these new ideas is your existing customers. When asked the right question in a respectful, curious way, the innovations your customers initiate will blow your hair back.

For example, ask your customers, “What would you LOVE to have from us next?” But only ask if you’re willing listen. Why are you waiting to be inspired?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Inspiration is available. Inspiration is free. Inspiration is lightning.

2. Decide if you should be charging for this. Although I don’t know what your specific situation is, my guess is going to be, “Yes, you should be charging for this.”

Here’s why: (1) You’re worth it, (2) You need money and (3) When people don’t pay you, people don’t hear you. Now all you have to do is decide how much. What (aren’t) you charging for that you probably should be?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Sell price before value.

3. Duplicate YOU. Forget the sheep; I’m an advocate for HUMAN cloning. Especially for entrepreneurs, who can do so through teaching others. I suggest giving your fans a portable, junior, take-home, or alternate version of you.

Now, sure. That might mean giving up (some) control in exchange for being able to grow and expand more quickly. And as entrepreneurs, this is one of the hardest things in the world. Because we’re all a bunch of control freaks who HAVE to do everything ourselves, right? Is there anybody else who could deliver your information?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Blogging works brilliantly. Video work awesomely. Seminars work fantastically. Whitepapers work perfectly.

4. Engage in assignments, projects or clients that ENABLE you. To command higher fees than before. To learn new skills. To leverage more than in the past. To expose you to an important future opportunity. To increase (not just sustain) an existing relationship.

To do future work with the same organization. To lead you into a new industry. To grow in new directions. To work with new, cool clients that represent long-term business potential. What is your current work enabling you to do and be?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Enable gentle revolutions. Enable shared power. Enable the process. Enable yourself daily.

5. Engage in regular, private time with a coach or consultant. Ideally, someone who has (actually) DONE something and (actually) grown in the way you hope to grow.

Not someone who’s listened to a bunch of Nightingale Connant audiotapes and (actually) thinks that makes them some kind of expert. SO annoying. Look. Expertise comes from DOING. Find someone who’s DONE stuff. Who’s helping you evolve toward your true self?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Action changes everything. Action conquers fear. Action develops courage. Action solidifies credibility. Action builds confidence. Action strengthens reputation.

6. Find out if anybody else is doing this right now. If not, that might be a great reason to plunge forward. That way you can be the first. The Only. The One. The Guy. And the best part is, if you do it first, you get to name it.

Then: When you name something, you gain power over that something. And you can do something about that something. And you can talk interact with that something. And you can begin exploration and working with that something. And eventually, you can get people to start talking about that something. If you do this, will you become the best?


7. Honestly assess in what ways you are currently obsolete. Still using a landline? Still advertising in The Yellow Pages? Still using AOL for your email account? Still using a PC? Still listening to a CD player?

Still using that Glamour Shots picture you got taken 1993 as your professional headshot? Zoinks. What are you thinking? It’s 2009. Get with the program. What year are you still trapped in?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Upgrade your life. Upgrade your technology. Upgrade your approach. Upgrade your style. Upgrade your attitude.

8. Honestly confront the ideas you’re in love with that are preventing you from seeing clearly. I know you love your new company name and tagline. I know it’s cute and funny and makes your husband happy.

But it doesn’t matter what YOU like; it matters what CUSTOMERS remember. Premature cognitive commitment isn’t only dangerous; it’s also expensive. What ideas are you dangerously in love with?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: The Beatles were wrong. Love isn’t enough. Ideas aren’t enough. Preference isn’t enough.

9. Stop typecasting yourself. You’re not a one trick pony. You’re not a one-product company. You’re not a one-idea entrepreneur. You’re not a one-book author. You’re not a one-anything anyone. You’re a lotta. A bunch. A crap ton. A fountain of possibility.

Not a jack-of-all-trades. Just an evolving professional whose unique expertise slowly casts a wider net. Always out-doing and challenging yourself to break the veil of one-hit-wonderness for the sake of never going stale.

So, remember what the master of evolution, George Carlin, used to say, “Continue to call on yourself a little more. And keep kicking people in the crotch.” What are you doing to prepare for the next phase?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Update your brand. Upgrade your expertise. Reinvent yourself regularly.

10. Use writing to exponentially increase growth in this experience. Writing is the basis of all wealth. For several reasons.

First, writing is the great clarifier. Second, writing makes everything you do better and easier. Third, writing triples the learning of any experience, because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. What did you write today?

STICKY NOTE SUGGESTION: Writing changes everything. Writing “rights” things. Writing brings clarity. Writing intensifies impact. Writing metabolizes life. Writing teaches everyone. Writing transforms pain. Writing untangles threads.

Take that, Darwin!

What are you unwilling to change that’s preventing your business form evolving successfully?

For the (full) list called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entrepreneurial Evolution,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Ready for YOUR business to evolve?

Cool. Perhaps my 12-month coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Read This Post and I Guarantee You’ll Be Motivated to Take Some Kind of Action

1. Be not alarmed when you discover that nobody cares about you.
You simply aren’t #1 on their lists.
Are you speaking to people with meaningful concrete immediacy?

2. Be not anxious in proving your value too early.
You will not be listened to.
What is preventing people from taking you seriously?

3. Be not avoidant of personal growth experiences.
You need to make everyone – and everything – your mentor.
How did you add value to yourself yesterday?

4. Be not cajoled into conformity.
You need to deprogram your mind.
Are you prepared to swallow the Redpill, uproot self-destructive notions and weigh the truth?

5. Be not conditioned to respond predictably.
You need to eliminate old answers and rewrite your scripts.
What narrow definitions do you need to escape?

6. Be not conformed to some external template.
You must jettison accepted limits, leave familiar territory and override your defaults.
When was the last time you recast outworn assumptions?

7. Be not silenced by those who demand that you set aside your playfulness.
You need to practice being childlike (not childish.)
Have you read this book yet?

8. Be not dependent on advice from people who only got lucky once.
You need to hang with smarter people.
How many of your friends regularly inspire and challenging you?

9. Be not embarrassed about what you do well.
You need to make a name for yourself or else someone will make one for you.
Are you bragging enough?

10. Be not google-eyed by people who artificially inflate their value.
You know you can smell their bullshite.
Is the message preached by this person the dominant reality of her life?

11. Be not handcuffed to a job that makes you wonder, “What the hell am I DOING here?” all day.
You need to remove what robs you and embrace what excites you.
Have you fulfilled your quota of usefulness today?

12. Be not hindered by that which makes you crap your pants.
You have no business in your comfort zone.
When was the last time you did something that literally terrified you?

13. Be not limited by the rules of a game you don’t even need to play.
You should just go do your own thing.
What would happen if you changed the rules, or, better yet, changed the game?

14. Be not obliged to sacrifice the truth just so you look good.
You can’t be dishonest any longer.
How much money is untruthfulness costing you?

15. Be not obsessed with trying to impress yourself all the time.
You’re never going to make that stoplight.
Why are you rushing?

16. Be not obtrusive upon someone else’s dream.
You have no right.
How does it feel when people tell YOU that you can’t do it?

17. Be not preoccupied with pouring every moment of your being into other people’s lackluster expectations.
You will eventually experience a crisis of the soul.
Whose approval is suppressing your success?

18. Be not ordinary in a world where nobody notices normal.
You will never, ever get noticed.
How much money is being boring costing you?

19. Be not relegated to the realm of mediocrity.
You have more worlds to conquer.
What movement are you starting?

20. Be not scared of being booed.
You’re nobody until somebody hates you.
Are you willing to risk being unpopular?

21. Be not seduced into situations that do not welcome the soul.
You’ve got better things to do.
How many of your friends are losers?

22. Be not self-congratulatory for maintaining baseline integrity.
You aren’t remarkable.
When was the last time standing up for your values actually made you lose friends or money?

23. Be not sourced from anything other than passion and love.
You need more than just adrenaline and Red Bull to sustain yourself.
When was the last time you meditated?

24. Be not submissive to other people’s rigidity.
You will not comply.
Whom do you need to (finally) stand up to because you just can’t take it any more?

25. Be not sucked into the vortex of obsolescence.
You will not succeed by winking in the dark.
Why aren’t you blogging yet?

26. Be not swept into the undertow of self-indulgent workaholism.
You don’t impress anybody.
Why are you checking email at the dinner table when you should be listening to your kids?

27. Be not threatened by the success of others.
You should be inspired and excited.
Who makes you want to work harder?

28. Be not unclear of the work you’ve clearly been put on this Earth to do.
You were given a Divine Assignment, and have no right to dedicate your life to anything else.
How will you validate your existence today?

29. Be not worried with impressing people you don’t even like.
You have better things to do.
When will the moment occur when you realize you no longer needed to justify your value?

Well? Are you motivated yet?

If not, for the list called, “153 Quotations to Inspire Your Success,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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