Getting started

Launch yourself, not your business

- March 24, 2015 2 MIN READ

When you’re starting a business venture it’s easy to get caught up in the service offering and forget it’s you people are wanting to do business with.

I’ve just spent the afternoon with someone starting a business (a creative consultancy.)

After looking at their website, business plan and LinkedIn page, I made a suggestion:

Instead of thinking you’re launching a business, focus on launching yourself.

What do I mean by “launch yourself”?

Well, this owner had a snappy site, a wonderful suite of services and a great story about why businesses needed them.

There was also a beautifully written, highly personal, biography on the site.

The problem was, there was no bridge between two; no link between what they’d done before, who they are now and what they’re offering.

For people seeking to reinvent themselves and create a unique offering based on what they know and believe, the ability to build this bridge is ever-important.

Here’s how you can make this happen:

1. Stay close to home

The person I mentioned above is a creative, yet they’d added business analysis and strategy work to their core offering. My advice? Stick to your core practice and experience. People need to know you for one thing, not everything.

2. Go deeper rather than wider

Now it may seem like I was trying to clip their wings by giving the advice above. But I prefer them to bring out more of who they are and what they were, rather than tagging on extra services they weren’t good at. Their desire to offer greater value to potential clients was admirable, but it was better to do this via a deeper creative offering. Follow your strengths to a better service.

3. Think about who you know already

When developing a new business, too often we create an imaginary client who is two arm’s length from reach. Our actual clients are usually much closer. Check your LinkedIn contacts and find five real people your service would work for.  Write and pitch for them, not strangers.

You might think, “I’ve moved on from that job or that company, those people aren’t relevant to my new journey.” Let me assure you, the people who already know and love you are your first and best cheer squad.

4. Be grounded and courageous when writing and speaking

We tend to undersell, understate and theorise. We speak as if the ideas and business are taking place elsewhere. Bring yourself into the present and punch your ideas out as knowingly and powerfully as you can. Today I even suggested my client use a soft Tai Chi like punch motion to activate that feeling and come into their body!

5. Speak and write from your gut not your mind or heart

Your mind will distract you, your heart will mislead you, but your gut will speak your truth. My motto is: plan strategically from your head, act courageously with heart but your gut is the true voice.

In summary

Don’t be afraid to bring more of yourself into the picture when starting a business – a process I call embodiment.

There is nothing more powerful than an embodied business owner. One who is in alignment, shows integrity, is authentic and in-service.

Add courage to this and it’s a recipe for strong presence and constant evolution.

Have you launched a business in the last few years? Would you have benefited from the approach above?