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085 - The importance of quick wins

How to keep the momentum going in your business. We often think about our strategy for the next six months, but what can you do that will move your business forward in the next 24 hours?

Quick wins aren’t just a good way to keep you motivated, they are a good way to jump-start your company if you’ve hit a slump. We take a look at how you can make something happen that will have a real impact on your vegan business, maybe even before you even go to bed this evening!

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Episode transcript:

Hello and welcome to episode eighty-five of The Vegan Business Tribe Podcast with myself David Pannell, co-founder of Vegan Business Tribe. And if you have a vegan business, or are thinking of starting one, then Vegan Business Tribe is here to support and inspire you not just to build a vegan business, but to build a SUCCESSFUL vegan business.
 
And today we’re talking about quick wins and little victories: why you need them, how to make them happen and how you can use them to keep you motivated and move your business forwards. Because business isn’t always about the long-term strategies, it’s also about the here and now. And speaking about the here and now, I need to check if you are signed up with us over on veganbusinesstribe.com yet? And if not, then why not? If you want to grow your vegan business then come and get involved. If you just have an idea for a vegan business then come get involved. If you are looking for other people who understand WHY you have a vegan business in the first place. Come get involved.
 
If you want to learn, if you want to meet, if you want to grow then, yup, you got it – come and get involved. You can join us as a free member just to get our weekly email full of good stuff or you can join as a full member to get our full support and access to other people just like you. And if you’re listening to this and you are already a member, then we also have our newly-launched refer a friend scheme. So if you get referred to Vegan Business Tribe by someone who is already a member, then you BOTH get a free month. You can use your free month to try us out, and the member gets a free month added to their account as a thank you. So there has never been a better time to get involved with everything that’s going on at Vegan Business Tribe.
 
And do you know, setting up that referral scheme is something we’ve been meaning to do for ages. But because there were a few technical things we had to overcome to gift people a free month, we kept putting it off, or rather I kept putting it off. But last week we decided that we just needed to get it done and in the end, we had it all set up and emailed out to our members in just a few hours.
 
And since launching it last week we’re already in double-figures of how many members have invited friends to join us through the scheme. We are getting our champions to promote Vegan Business Tribe for us. And it was something that actually, with a little bit of focus we made happen really quickly. It was a quick win. And this brings us into today’s topic, because when we look at how we THINK we’re going to grow a successful business, we think that it’s going to be the result of something BIG happening. That there’s going to be a big change that brings success, like crossing a finishing line. Your company will continue along as it is, until you get that big client, until you meet that investor, until you get discovered or picked out of obscurity by that big retailer. And the reality is, it rarely happens like that. Success in business is usually the result of lots of little progressions. Yes, you will have some of those ‘big wins’ but the biggest changes in your business will come as the cumulative result of lots of small wins. There’s even a recognised business term for this, it’s called incremental continuous improvement – where you make lots of small improvements to your business or your product, none of them a breakthrough on its own, but each inching you closer towards your end goal. The same process is used in sport, where athletes are not looking at how they can get 50% better, they are constantly looking for those improvements that will make their performance just 1% better. And they know that if they constantly bring those 1% improvements into their training, that all those one per-cents, all those marginal gains, will eventually lead them to being the fastest, strongest or best in the world.
 
But the reason, to me, that making quick wins in your business is important is not just this cumulative benefit from lots of little progressions, but the momentum that each one gives you. I have said so many times on this podcast that building a business is hard, and it is. Most people quit before they find success because they completely underestimate how long it’s going to take to get a business off the ground. My first business probably took about 5 years until we felt some security about being able to pay ourselves every month. It was another 5 years after that, and lots of twists and turns, until I felt I had a business that I could describe as successful.
 
No matter how well or even how slowly your business is growing, one of the most important parts of that growth is creating momentum and motivation. And you might say that motivation is one of your biggest problems, that you listen to one of these podcasts to get you motivated, or you go to a conference, or you read a book, and that motivation is great for a day or two but it just doesn’t last. Well, neither does taking a shower – which is why you need to do it daily.
 
So having quick wins in your business is really important to keep your motivation going. That quick win might be getting a new campaign going, it might be solving a niggling problem that has been taking up your time, it even might be getting some really great feedback from someone you’ve helped. All these things give you those little indicators of success and movement so that you feel like you’re actually getting somewhere with your business.
 
It’s a bit like losing weight or going on a diet. Like business, losing weight can be hard, getting fit can be hard – but at what point are you the most motivated? When you see those first results, when you lose that first couple of kilograms. Lisa has been following the ‘Couch to 5k’ running programme, which aims to take you from sitting on your sofa to being able to run 5k. This week she’s just completed her first 20-minute run, something she was adamant she’d never ever be able to do. Can she run 5k yet – not yet. But let me tell you, she’s been out three times this week to run that 20 minute run again to prove to herself it wasn’t a fluke!
 
And this is because you are at your most motivated, and your most confident, when you have just had some success. The easiest sale is the one that comes just after you’ve made a successful sale to someone else, because that’s when you have the most confidence in yourself. So these small wins and little victories might not seem that big on their own, but just like the practice of incremental continuous improvement that you might employ elsewhere, cumulatively, each gives you the momentum you need to reach the next one.
 
So keep track of them. At the end of every day, write down what you have achieved – no matter how little those wins. Have you managed to answer that email that was sat in your inbox all week because you knew it was going to take a lot of time to deal with but it was important that you did? Celebrate the victory! Have you finally got your new packaging supplier sorted out? Realise that’s just moved your business forward! Did you manage to connect with someone today that might turn out to be a good contact for your company? File that away as a win too. Lisa has a little dance she does every time someone new signs up as a member of Vegan Business Tribe, no matter what else we’re doing she’ll break off to do the dance because it’s our way to acknowledge that our community has just grown that little bit more. It makes you feel that momentum, it makes you realise that you are moving forwards – and when you feel you are moving forwards, that’s what gives you the motivation to do more too.
 
But quick wins are not just a tool to create momentum and make the daily grind of business more bearable. Setting your own quick wins is a really easy way to move your business forward with a short burst of activity. It’s something I do whenever I work with a company, we might spend time looking at the marketing strategy for the next six months, or even the next couple of years, but I will then drag the business owner back to then look at what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks. Or even what you can achieve in the next 24 hours!
 
For example, everyone knows that they are undercharging in their business. You know you could charge more for what you offer – in fact you’ve probably seen other people charging a lot more than you do but you’ve just never got around to looking at your pricing and you’re a bit daunted about the idea of changing it. But you don’t need to make it into this big thing. You can just put your price up by 10%, and you can probably do it before the end of the day. When I ran an agency, we had a policy that each time we won work, the next quote we did we put our prices up by 10%. I wanted to do this so that we could find out how much people were willing to pay, and the plan was we’d keep doing it until price became an obvious barrier to winning business. The thing is, it never became a barrier, we kept putting our price up by 10% after every new project we won and in a year we were charging twice as much for our services as we had 12 months ago. Those small, quick changes over time massively increased our revenue.
 
So look for what you can do in your business right now that will have a positive impact and can be achieved this week, or even in the next 24 hours. Perhaps you’re waiting on getting your new website built, so that’s stopping you from marketing yourself. Well, how long would it take you to simply build a single landing page with a product on it, and send out an email to your mailing list telling them about that product? If you’ve already got a little bit of experience then that’s something you could probably get set up and have ready to go before you go to bed tonight. You will have made significant activity happen, you will have done something that tangibly moves your business forward and might even get you a couple of new customers. You will have had a quick win. And that’s just one simple example, put aside a few minutes and I guarantee that you will come up with half a dozen or so ‘quick wins’ that will have a positive impact on your business. You could put your prices up, you could put together a quick new offer or campaign and get it sent out before the end of the week, you could book a stall at that market or tradeshow, you could sign-up to that new bit of software that’s going to save you a load of admin time, you could reach out to those people who you have been wanting to connect with but you’ve just been waiting for the ‘right time’ to do it.
 
Because a lot of the time, we put barriers in front of our own progress. We wait until we’ve designed a logo and got our website and business cards printed before we try to make our first sale. Why? Make your first sale first, and then when you’ve proven people want to buy what you are selling THEN spend the time and effort making a website and brand. Doing it the other way around is just a delaying tactic, it’s about not being confident. Quick wins can cut through all this.
 
So have a brainstorming session and get your team involved if you have one. What can you do, that you already have the resources for, that you already have the skills for, that will get you new customers in the next 24 to 48 hours? Can you design some flyers in Canva and get them printed on next day, and then put them through the letterboxes of all those big houses in that posh neighbourhood just down the road? Can you hire that student friend or family member who’s looking to earn a bit of extra cash to stand outside your shop THIS WEEKEND and give out free samples to people passing by? Can you put an hour aside every evening this week to go through those hundreds of connections on LinkedIn you have and really take a look at who they are? Send messages to the ones that you think you should actually really get to know better and see if you can set up some one-to-ones with them. What’s going to give you a win quickly? Can you export a list of past customers who haven’t bought from you in the last six months and come up with a special offer to tempt them back? You could have that set-up and sent before you sit down to dinner! We could keep going, but you get the idea. There are so many things that you could do right now, that takes almost no planning, probably something that you’ve been planning to do for ages anyway, that will give you a quick win right away.
 
So if you’re in a bit of a slump at the moment, if you seem to be endlessly waiting for other things to be finished before you can take the next step in growing your business, then take a step away from your longer-term plans and focus on doing something in just the next few days to move you forward. What can we do that’s going to bring some new enquiries and customers in not next week, but tomorrow? What can we do that’s going to solve a problem that’s been a thorn in your side for ages? What can you do that’s going to improve the workplace for your employees? What can we do to get rid of that task that keeps draining your energy and positivity? And what can we do that will have been implemented and already giving you a result before you join me for next week’s podcast?
 
OK, so let’s have a recap of why quick wins are important in your business, and what you can do to make more of them happen.
 
  1. We wait for BIG things to happen in our businesses – getting that big new client, getting that investment – but in reality, your business grows through a series of small steps that cumulatively lead to success.
  2. Athletes don’t look for changes in their technique that will make them 50% stronger or faster, they look for those 1% incremental improvements that will eventually lead to them being the best in the world.
  3. Quick wins and little victories give your business momentum. And momentum gives you motivation. Just like when you first start a diet, you are at your most motivated when you see you’ve lost those first few kilograms. So track these wins to show yourself progress – use each quick win to propel you to the next.
  4. But it’s not just motivation, quick wins are a great way to jumpstart your growth. I guarantee that you can implement something, straight away after listening to this podcast, that will have a significant positive impact on your business. Just putting your prices up by 10% for example, you could have that in place before you go to bed tonight!
  5. Take some time, with your team if you have one, to set a quick win that will move your business forward and you can achieve in the next 24 to 48 hours. It might be a bit of marketing, it might be launching a new product or it might be sorting out a system in your business. You might even consider making it a regular exercise or challenge.
 
And that is it – OK, so this is one of those episodes where I don’t want you to now just think to yourself, ‘well that was interesting’, I want you to actually go and do something about it – whilst you’re motivated.
 
I want you to identify that thing that you can do in the next 24 to 48 hours which will move your business forward, even if only by a step. Then I want you to do it! And then I want you to get in touch with me and what impact it had. I know what it’s like to build a business, Vegan Business Tribe is something like my sixth, maybe even seventh business depending on how you’re counting; it’s the third that Lisa and I have run together. And you need these jolts in the arm, you need these quick wins, you need to feel like you’re moving forward to give you the motivation you need to maintain. Too many people either give up because they underestimated how long it was going to take or they just plateau in their business and stop trying to move it forwards. For most people I wouldn’t care, well, I would because that’s just the kind of person I am, but for you – you have a vegan business so we need to make sure you succeed. The only way we are going to move the vegan scene forward is if we can get more vegan businesses, just like yours, to make an impact. So get in touch with me on hello@veganbusinesstribe.com and let me know what impact implementing quick wins made for you.
 
So thank you so much for listening, and if you’re not yet properly connected with us then do come sign up with us at veganbusinesstribe.com – if you think you get a lot of value from listening to these podcast episodes then imagine how much you’ll get when you actually come and properly get involved – and I will see you, on the next one!

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