Have you ever asked yourself, why can’t I do this? Or how can I succeed when there are so many people out there who do what I do? Or, even, what’s wrong with me?
…only to find that the question led to an onslaught of negativity, anxiety and self-doubt?
The problem isn’t that you’re not good enough, smart enough, young enough, or [insert your biggest fear or doubt here]…
The problem is that you’re asking the wrong questions. Let me explain.
Tony Robbins says: “Change your questions, change your life.” Because our questions determine our focus, and our focus directly determines our results.
photo by CRASH:candy
So, what questions should you be asking yourself every day to open possibilities rather than problems? What questions should you be asking yourself if you want massive success in your business?
I can tell you it’s not the usual questions like, “what email marketing service should I use?”
The two most powerful questions in business are really quite simple. They are:
I’m serious, so stick with me while I explain why…
Peter Drucker famously said that all businesses have just two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Because it’s these two activities that produce results and everything else in your business create costs.
The question, So What? is the basis of marketing. You have to be able to answer this question in a way that instantaneously differentiates you, tells people why they should listen, and packs some emotional wallop. You have to engage, connect, inspire and influence people so they convince themselves that you have the best solution out there to either solve their problem or bring them a desired result. They need to believe that your products and services are what they need right now — bar none. Or they won’t opt-in or buy. The reality is your audience is too busy to care unless you make your message so compelling and relevant to them that you cut through the excuses, the chatter, the job, the kids, the mortgage.
…And the beautiful thing about the question, So What? is that you can always go deeper. Like peeling an onion. Answer the question once and you get to the first level, the obvious response. Answer it again and you go a little deeper. And again. Until you get to an answer that’s really juicy and meaningful to your audience. Until you discover why people really come to you.
What do they really want? What’s the reason behind the reason? What do you really do for them that no one else can? What are you the best in the world at?
Let’s practice for a moment. Say what you do. Now ask yourself, “So What?” And say what you do again. And again. And again.
The next question, What Next? is the basis of innovation. So What? showed us that people need a reason to do business with you. What Next? reminds us that they’ll also need a reason to do business with you tomorrow. These days, the market cycle for product innovation is just 6 months. That means, the top companies have to come out with updates and upgrades every 6 months just to compete. You’re no different.
What’s Next? is about closing the gap between where you are (whether that’s just starting out or at the peak of success) and where you want to be. And, in business, one of the best way to grow is to find more ways to provide value to your customers. Study what your customers want. Ask them the right questions. And listen beneath the surface for what they’re really asking for. Listen for what’s valuable to them — not to you — because they’re the ones pulling out their pocketbooks.
Always look for new ways to add value to your customers lives. If you innovate around meeting people’s needs, you’ll lead the market. It’s innovation that makes you a leader, that makes you the #1 authority in your field. Don’t be that one trick pony. If you rest on your laurels, the market will leave you behind. The most enduring celebrities, gurus and industry leaders evolve throughout their careers to new topics and opportunities. They change as the market changes.
Almost 50% of businesses are gone within the first year. 80% are gone within 5 years. And 96% are gone within 10 years. Out of the 500,000 new businesses that will be created this year, only 20,000 will still be around in ten years.
The secret to being one of those 20,000 is asking the right questions. Then acting on the answers.
I challenge you to start asking yourself new questions today… So What? What’s Next?
Imagine laying in bed at night obsessed with these questions — the questions that get you thinking about new possibilities — rather than the endless little details that often dominate our minds and run our days.
So what’s next for you?