vermont entrepreneur

Playing Solitaire with Your Business

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The Click Retreat happens this September.  Details at FindTheClick.com
Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.

I’m getting ready for the retreat I’m teaching called The Click in mid-September.  Someone private messaged me on Facebook and it took me awhile to respond back to her.  Here’s what she asked:

“I’ve been in business for 7 years now and it’s been rough.  The recession, banks not lending and my credit score taking a nosedive have made me think I need to get a job, but no one will hire me.  Okay, they’ll hire me, but not at a living wage.  So I’ve been dealt a bad hand and I’m trying to make the best of it.  Will The Click help?”

Wow.  I wish I knew the answer to that one.  I can guide, set up a marketing plan, build a website and e-commerce stuff, but no one knows how to deal with a bad hand… or do we?

I put my cell phone down and picked up a deck of cards.  I played the only game I know next to “Go Fish,” and that’s “Solitaire.”

So I dealt a hand.  And I lost.

I dealt a second.  And I lost.

I dealt a third.  And I won.

So what did I do once I had won?  I dealt again.  And I had one of those “aha” moments.  Whether I win or lose, the result was the same:  I dealt again.  Why?

“Hey Vin, what do you do when you lose a game of solitaire?”

“I deal again.”

“And what if you win?”

“I deal again.  But I don’t play it like you do.”  This gave me pause.

“How do you play?”  I pushed my cards aside and he showed me the solitaire game on his phone.  “Each time I play, I accrue points, so it gives me more incentive to keep playing.”  Accrue points; experience.  Each time you play, you learn, right?

Keep playing… So no matter whether you win or lose at Solitaire, we fold up the cards, shuffle, and play again.  Just like in business.  I remember when I had my corporate handcuffs and how people discouraged me from starting my own business.

“Business is risky – work in the cable industry.”  So I worked for Adelphia.  And they folded.

Deal the cards.  Shuffle.  Play again.

And I created (and re-created) Got Clicks along with many other companies.  Some did very well, some not so well.  But I kept playing and learning and accruing not points, but knowledge and experience on how to do it right more quickly.

Ready to Play?

Here are some tips on getting it right in your business:

Stop Putting Cats in Dresses:  My last blog post talks at length about this and it’s the number one reason businesses fail – lack of customer research.  Do your customers want what you have to offer?  Ask the RIGHT questions and learn what your clients are hungry for.

Simplify Your Messaging:  Stop talking over your audience’s head.  How do you describe your business?  “I do Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management and build websites and landing pages,” was how I used to lead my elevator pitch and I found people would nod and politely walk to the cash bar.  I now say “I help businesses get noticed online.”  Much less scary, more engaging and memorable.

Make it Easy:  Make it easy for a customer to buy from you.  Think about how you want your customer to receive your product or services.  Is your website concise?  Is it easy to understand what you have to offer?  Do you engage with the right people on your social media?  Are you on social media with a purpose or on there because somebody told you to be there?

Success is not defined by how much money you make, the money you make is directly related to how much success you accrue.  If it doesn’t work? Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.