We’d all like to have a growth curve that looks like a hockey stick, but that kind of sustainable growth is just not real. There are always going to be hills and valleys. Here are some of the practices that have helped me to stay focused on moving forward whether things are currently rolling on a high or a low.
1/ Imagination – Allow yourself to take in ideas from other people and brainstorm. One of my mentors recently shared the concept of a hack-a-think with me. Bring together 5 people who care about you and your business for two hours. As a mastermind group, together you white board out solutions for next steps to reach your current goals and move beyond your challenges. They’ll see opportunities you can’t see on your own.
A similar practice to imagine new growth is to research best practices from other industries. You’ll be amazed at how studying the operations of healthcare, finance or airlines can provide insights for your tech company.
2/ Inspiration – We’re blessed to live in the PNW – surrounded by water, giant trees and beautiful mountains. We Seattleites have a bonus of being in the most scenic city in the U.S., and maybe the world. Let these surroundings get you out of your rut or open new innovative ideas. Take a walk, try walking meetings, hike, kayak, bike, rollerblade (is that still a thing?) – get on your skateboard then; whatever gets you moving outdoors. Change your venue to open your mind to inspiration. You might be surprised at the business value of time spent enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise.
For me, getting up at 5 or 6 am to meditate, write, read and exercise has taken me, my energy levels, my productivity and my daily inspiration levels to new heights. As a former night owl, I invite you to read Miracle Morning if you don’t think you can create more joyful and productive hours in your day by becoming an early bird. Trust me. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
3/ Innovations – There are always new, better and different ways to live and work. The best way to innovate is to listen. Listen to your internal dialogue (is it positive and inspiring?), your family, your friends, your peers, your employees or employer, your customers, your competition, your elders; everyone. The business decisions may rest with you, but you just never know where innovation will come from. Great ideas can come from anywhere. You just have to know how to apply them to your business or life when you hear/read them.
At New Tech we’re always soliciting feedback to get better. One of the most powerful practices we have is to interview our attendees and sponsors. That’s our best source of innovating how we continue to be valuable and relevant to our community. Interview your customers about why they do business with you, what was going on when they hired you, what problems you’ve helped them to solve, and you’ll be amazed by what you learn and how it will improve how you do business. But you have to be able to weather criticisms with appreciation. Feedback is crucial.
A third suggestion here is to pay attention to obtainable analytics. Whatever you can track and measure, whether it’s with Google analytics or your FitBit; will give you insights on what’s happening in your business – or whether you’ve taken your all important 10,000 steps. Track everything you can track, evaluate it regularly, and then improve upon it daily.
5/ Creativity – Thinking about a problem in a new way as a business owner, employee, friend or partner will unlock new jewels in your life. And it’s fun. Even introverts, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians have creative interests. Just the same, there are extroverted creatives who excel in STEM careers. Don’t ignore your creative mind. It can help unlock solutions to a persistent problem.
6/ Technology – Be looking out for new technology to help you save steps, track & analyze data and save or make you and your company time and money. There’s Scrumand Agile, marketing software, productivity software, CRM systems, Cloud-based software, search engine optimization, and tons of tools, processes and systems for freelancing, small businesses, enterprise and personal growth.