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9 Strategies to Grow Your Agency with a Positive Mindset – Part 2

Mindset
 

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In part 1 of this series on mindset we explored how a business can thrive with a positive winning mindset. It can make or break your agency. Having said that, a positive mindset is not something that we all naturally have. It’s something that we have to consciously cultivate over time.

In part 2 of this blog series,  I want to share with you my 9 best strategies to ensure you develop and retain that winning mindset and then my best resources to help you implement the ideas outlined.

9 strategies to grow your agency with a positive mindset

1. Keep learning

We exist in a rapidly changing market - with new channels of communications, new technologies and new techniques emerging every day.  So it’s vital we keep learning. Agencies around the globe are experiencing sweeping, rapid changes in what they do, why they do it and most importantly how they do it. New technologies demand a new set of skills, talent and diverse modes of working. Business leaders must keep learning new skills. If you maintain a learning mindset and dedicate a little time to continuous learning (both for yourself and your team) then in all likelihood you will outperform your competition. 

Learning from our mistakes

 A growth mindset has a different relationship with how we receive and process criticism and the ability to learn from our mistakes.  As opposed to a fixed mindset which will lead you to believe that your learning potential is predetermined by other factors like genes, socioeconomic background, and opportunities at your disposal. You will invite thoughts like “I am not good at it, so I should avoid it.”  Today, relevant skills and knowledge have become currency in the workplace. 

2. Get someone to coach you who has "been there, done that"

Surrounding yourself with a supportive and honest network is crucial to maintaining a positive mindset.  Add to this a business coach or mentor who can help you by sharing their wisdom on an ongoing basis and in a manner that will have a positive, direct impact on the growth of your agency. 

This is the one piece of advice I would give myself if I could back in time 20 years. Finding a coach or mentor who has ‘been there and done it’ - who can honestly share with you the mistakes they made (and ensure you don’t make them) and provide advice and guidance to ensure you maintain a positive mindset and ultimately deliver your vision.

3. See failure as an opportunity to learn

We often experience failure early in life. Not winning tends to have a stigma attached to it and it invites us to consider that we “failed’. Often these external views tend to define your self-worth and through societal policing, you are taught to not be a risk-taker. But failure is not a personality characteristic, it is an external event that happens.  Successful entrepreneurs know how to build on failure and use it as a strategic tool to accomplish their goals and ultimately to lead. Fear of failure will limit your possibilities and keeps you in your comfort zone. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn and gain the experience you need to thrive in an ever-changing business environment. 

Mistakes are only stepping stones to your mission, they push you to aspire to greater things. They offer you life lessons on things that work and things that do not. It is imperative to carefully study your mistakes and failures to learn from them.

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Failure can be painful, hence it is likely to receive a lot more personal introspection than success. Objectively review the situation, self-evaluate, and go for a different approach next time.”

Henry Ford

4. Hire the best talent you can afford

The importance of an effective employee (or freelance) recruitment process cannot be understated. If you don’t hire the best talent, your agency simply won’t be able to deliver the quality products or services your customers expect. Before recruiting take into consideration modern workforce expectations. It is important to have a well structured comprehensive recruiting and selection process (read last month’s blog on recruitment & retention to learn more). Employee performance is critical to the overall success of the agency hence business owners need staff who can get the job done. Don’t be scared of hiring that superstar who will be nipping at your heels. And keep them motivated. Good employees are positive, productive and this can be contagious (as can the opposite!). It will also create a positive working environment. 

5. Get a good work-life balance

You need to strike the right balance when it comes to work and other aspects of life. Meaningful time spent in other areas of your life (like family, friends and with yourself) is imperative if you want to be successful. Being a workaholic is detrimental to your mental and physical well being. If you find this difficult, make an effort to incorporate some efficient time management techniques into your life. It will make a considerable improvement in your work-life balance. 

Work-life balance may translate into different things for different people. But you should have enough time to pursue both personal interests and other social activities you enjoy. If work is using up too much of your time and energy, you will become exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed.  Your productivity will drop and your personal relationships will suffer. Above all, find time for yourself. The people around you and the work you love deserve your best. And you can only give that when you are looking after yourself and staying healthy. Join a gym, meditate, walk the dog (or whatever works for you) - build it into your schedule.

6. Start/end your day in a consistent manner

The most successful people have daily routines.  The idea is simple - to reduce friction in your life so that you can concentrate on what you do best. When you're focused on growing your agency, you will realise time is the most valued commodity. Rituals, routines, and habits ultimately save you time and simplify your life. They may be vastly different for different people. But one thing is universal - the need to reduce interference, distraction and friction as much as you can. 

You want to begin and end your day in a consistent manner so that you can easily slip into a rhythm and focus on your work. Your daily rituals also are quite the opposite of boring or a waste of valuable time - they are focusing and calming because they give you control. Make sure you check out the resources section of this post to learn more about this.

7. Learn to listen to your instincts. Don’t block them out.

There is no denying the fact that our world is data-driven and there is a very recognisable cultural bias toward quantifiable data. In the business world, it seems like number-crunching algorithms are making all the major decisions. But at some point, you must go with the decisions made on the basis of your own instincts.  Intuition is perhaps the best business tool at your disposal today. So listen to your instincts even if you have access to troves of empirical data. 

Our instincts are our body’s way of signalling a dicey situation or the lack thereof. Recognise the value of your body’s feedback loop and don’t let quantifiable metrics always rule. The consequences of blocking these out can be too great. If you are feeling uneasy about a transaction do not go ahead with it. Use instincts as part of the decision-making process and give yourself time and space to think clearly and make an informed choice. 

8. Keep reinventing/evolving yourself to avoid boredom and stagnation

We are naturally inquisitive and we demand constant mental stimulation (ever heard of shiny new object syndrome?). Lack of learning often brings with it boredom and stagnation. To avoid career stagnation, you need to reinvent yourself constantly. Maintaining a healthy curiosity about new technologies and taking the time out to constantly experiment with things can be a start. A mundane work routine can easily trap you into obsolescence (but dont confuse daily routines with mundane!). Continually expanding your knowledge is one way of staying relevant. It is important to stretch out beyond your comfort zone to do things that are challenging and stimulating. 

A process of reinventing yourself will allow you to adapt to setbacks and adversity in more optimal ways. You are not only avoiding boredom but effectively building a better version of yourself and your agency. It’s no secret that effort and practice create expertise and not intelligence. If you want to be successful, you must devote enough time to deliberate practice, combat tasks beyond your current level of comfort and competence, observe results and make adjustments. Be agile enough to incorporate changes. Don’t let your curiosity reach stagnation. 

9. Frequently revisit your vision that keeps you motivated

It is very important to stay motivated and focused. You will achieve this by having a clearly documented vision that outlines where you want your business to be at some point in the future based on your goals and aspirations. Visions often fail for 2 reasons:

  1. They are written once a year and cast in stone rather than being agile, dynamic documents
  2. The business leaders don’t frequently review & amend them, and use them as the basis for quarterly, monthly and weekly plans

So ensure you don't fall into these two traps and use your vision, strategy and action plan as a dynamic agile document that you revist every month.


Recommended resources to help you achieve the winning mindset

Free to focus

Free To Focus

by Michael Hyatt

Learn how to boost your productivity and create your daily routines

Deep Work

Deep Work

by Cal Newport

Rules for success in a distrated world - learn how to become more focused and thus enhance your productivity

Mindset

Everything is figureoutable

by Mario Forleo

How to train your brain for growth.  Help you become the creative force of your own life. 

Off The clock

Off The Clock

by Laura Vanderkam

Your ultimate guide to effective time management.  In this book, Vanderkam reveals the seven counterintuitive principles the most time-free people have adopted. She teaches mindset shifts to help you feel calm on the busiest days and tools to help you get more done without feeling overwhelmed.

Mindset

Mindset

by Carol Dweck

In decades of research on achievement and success, Carol Dweck has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it's not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. 

TedTalk

TedTalk: Linking positive brains to performance

Shawn Anchor’s Ted talk that describes how to find happiness and meaning to increase profitability and create positive transformations. He talks about how changing our mindset will change our reality.

Power of Mindset

TedTalk: The Power of belief - mindset & success

Eduardo Briceno

The way we understand our intelligence and abilities deeply impacts our success. Eduardo Briceño articulates how mindset, or the understanding of intelligence and abilities, is key. 

Conclusion

Successful leaders and entrepreneurs understand that the journey is the destination. You almost never arrive (and just focusing on the destination is a great way to have an unhappy life and business!). To ensure you focus and enjoy the journey starts with your mindset. A winning mindset, like profits and success in business, is not a given or natural. It is in fact, developed. You have to constantly and consistently work at it over time. You cannot sit in complacent inaction and expect to succeed. At some point, you will have to make a move. Why not start by incorporating these 9 steps in your life?

Want to continue learning about mindset?

It's one of the components of the Agency Accelerator hybrid coaching programme.

Register your interest for the 2020 Programme and get early access when the doors open in May 2020

Hidden Content

The Ultimate Guide to Developing & Maintaining a Winning Mindset – Part 1

Mindset
 

Stuck for time?

Download this blog as an eBook and read & share it at your leisure


Behind every successful business is an entrepreneur with a winning positive mindset. The opposite of this is true too. Think you can’t be successful? Think you can’t grow? Think you can’t outperform your nearest competitor? Then I guarantee you won’t!.

I cannot tell you how important this topic is. It isn’t some wishy-washy trendy topic but a core discipline that separates the successful agency owners from those who are stuck or fail.  A seemingly small thing that makes a huge difference. 

Do you know what has the biggest impact on your behaviour?


It’s what you think about.  

You can have the right marketing strategies, the best products and interested, invested customers, but without the right mindset, none of it matters because you will stay stuck and frustrated.

We tend to have a cognitive bias towards negativity and focus on failure.  Negative thoughts limit your possibilities, undervalue achievements and breed more negative feelings.  This can pave the way to a serious lack of confidence and underperformance. Change the thoughts and you will change the feelings.  Change the feelings and you will change your behaviours.

Negative Thinking

Entrepreneurs with a positive mindset, however, tend to have a better outlook on life, they keep moving forward and pushing through even when setbacks arise (and they see a setback as a learning opportunity). They have learned the fundamentals and thus developed the correct mental attitude to achieve their goals. The right mindset can help you make the most of a bad situation, and move forward with confidence and clarity. Mindset training is vital when it comes to success. 

The Laws of Attraction

I am not trying to be too spiritual when I talk about the laws of attraction.  It simply asserts that positive thoughts attract positive outcomes while negativity begets negative outcomes. Whilst the ideas have been around for millennia, the laws of attraction have received a lot of attention in recent years with some people swearing by its effectiveness. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it, there are lessons entrepreneurs can learn from its core message. Focus on clear goals can create the kind of positive attitudes that motivates long-lasting business success. 

I have seen people who miss colossal opportunities by attracting the wrong things to their agency thanks to their persistent negative thinking. Their companies are now at risk of failing because their leaders have not incorporated the law of attraction into their everyday actions and thoughts. As a leader, you must envision yourself in the place you want to be and then work towards getting there. In practical terms, this is as simple as creating an exciting vision for your agency and hanging onto that vision no matter what curveballs come your way!

The Secret

The Secret is a great short read and fundamentally teaches about a positive mindset envisioning how you want the future of your agency (and life) to be. It can be empowering for those of you looking for some encouragement as it guides you to get into a better frame of mind in order to be thoroughly motivated to pursue desired goals. There is, after all, a lot you can do to alter your circumstances even if things seem bleak. You must visualise your goals first in order to attract what you want. Although you may not detect what lies ahead, perseverance and belief in oneself are key. 

Mindset and Growth

Stretching yourself out of comfort zone

One of the ways in which you can thrive and grow as an entrepreneur is to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Do you ever have big lofty goals but talk yourself down to something that is more “doable” or “practical” because you are not sure or too fearful to stretch outside your comfort zone? This mindset will keep you safe but will also stop you from achieving what you truly want in life.  And there are three zones that we can step into - a comfort zone, a learning zone and a fear zone. 

Comfort zone

Your comfort zone is an established pattern of thinking. This is where we have a heightened sense of security and control. Many people decide to stay in the comfort zone because they may be fearful of stepping out into the learning zone. But you will not develop if you are too comfortable. Once you leave your comfort zone, it will feel scary but you learn and develop and before you know it, what you feared becomes part of your comfort zone. Once you enter the learning zone i.e. the zone of awareness of the vast opportunities at your disposal, you will learn new skills and be better equipped to deal with whatever challenges come your way. In the end, you will realise the journey was not really about getting out of your comfort zone but expanding it. Between the comfort and the fear zone is space where optimal learning, development and progress take place. 

Play small - stay small

If your mindset is to think small because you are one-man-band and believe your only option is to do all the work yourself then (a) you’ll never grow and keep perpetuating this thinking and (b) in the end you’ll become the bottleneck to your growth. Remember, thoughts lead to feelings lead to behaviours.  Change the thought to change the behaviour.

I always tell my clients to think about how much of an hour of their time is worth and then to question whether the task they are doing is at the hourly rate or lower? If it’s lower then they should consider delegating the task. Now delegating doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a member of staff, you could be outsourcing the work by hiring a VA or freelancer. 

Just remember that if you “play small you are gonna stay small”!  Your mindset needs to be “I want to delegate as much as possible - leaving me to do the things that I can only do - which are the strategic activities that move my agency forward. Everything else needs to be delegated, automated or ditched.”

Mindset and Your Market

Confidence in yourself and the service you offer is key. Do not underestimate the value of what you offer. If you do, it is going to be even more challenging to authentically convey the value to potential clients and ultimate sell a service or product that you believe in. If you have the mindset of being a small player in your marketplace or believing you can only target small clients to provide your service to, then that will all you will ever have. 

I see this time and again with agency leaders - when they have a narrow mindset, they end up targeting companies that keep them in the comfort zone which translates to small fees, small projects, and bashing your head against the brick wall!  If you believe you can provide a fantastic service to the top end of your market, (not necessarily large companies but customers who will value your service) and then have the confidence to target these clients in your sales and marketing efforts, you are going to be taking significant steps towards delivering your vision.

Mindset and Pricing

Knowing what to charge and then confidently asking for it can be challenging. But not with the right mindset. I often work with clients who have been undervaluing and therefore underpricing their services. It’s easy to put your head down and never properly consider the impact your product or service creates for your customer. This has, in part to do with the fact that often the agency is selling the wrong thing i.e. time or tasks rather than outcomes and impact.

The more aware you are of the value you deliver your clients (the unique and visible benefits you offer your customers), the greater your ability to charge what you are really worth and attract new ideal clients. If you ever doubt yourself, ask yourself this - “what are the core benefits my clients experience by working with me?” Value-based selling increases, not just the price the purchaser is willing to pay but also the likelihood of the sale in the first place. It assures customers they are making a worthwhile investment of their money. 

Value pricing offers a formula for a profitable stress-free agency. If we have a mindset of “I am not worth that much” or a mindset of worrying that “the client will think it’s too much” then, of course, we will undervalue what we do. Yet with a value-based mindset, we will be able to charge higher prices, focus on the value to the client and look that prospect in the eye and say “this is how much I charge because I know I am worth it”. 

Mindset and Team

A great leader with a winning mindset will recruit the best staff. The leader with a positive mindset isn’t threatened by top-notch, fantastic staff but delighted to be able to delegate as much as possible and have them chomping at the bit to take on more.  Yet I have seen people hiring the 2nd best candidate just because they will be easy to manage and they feel less threatened by them. You need to hire the best people you can who know how to get the work done, be responsible and accountable, meet deadlines and challenge you with their ideas. 

Mindset and Vision

Without a sense of purpose or vision, you wouldn’t be able to communicate a set of cohesive goals for your employees to work toward.  Your vision should be exciting and communicated with passion and belief. If you are not 100% confident your staff will pick this up. 

Mindset and Learning

Be agile enough to incorporate changing market needs and be open to listen to and act upon suggestions from your team or other trusted partners. You must be able to react quickly to changes and in turn, create a workforce who is willing to do the same. This world increasingly requires searchlight intelligence. Never let curiosity go to waste, always look for new knowledge, thinking patterns, innovative courses of action and skills from you and your team.

Continue developing your mindset - it never ends

As you have seen throughout this article, a positive mindset is vital to your success. Your mental toughness determines whether you can dig deep and work through numerous challenges or simply retreat and admit defeat. That’s what distinguishes a winning mindset from a losing one. Entrepreneurship starts in your head, and the winning mindset wins it all. Having the right entrepreneurial mindset will naturally encourage creativity. And your customers and team members will always trust those who seem to know what they are doing and are confident. Above all, a positive mindset means you are willing to make mistakes (& learn from them), take risks and hang on to your exciting vision, no matter what.

In part 2 of this blog, I am going to share with you 9 strategies to help you develop and sustain a positive mindset.

Want to continue learning about mindset?

It's one of the components of the Agency Accelerator hybrid coaching programme.

Register your interest for the 2020 Programme and get early access when the doors open in May 2020

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