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How to Steer Clear of the Quick Fix Paradox

business performance strategy Apr 14, 2022
strategic thinking in small business

So much messaging for small businesses is focused on selling what your tired and overworked brain wants – 
a quick fix, a magic bullet, a shortcut to success.

How do we sort the helpful information from the noise?

Recently I saw these exact phrases on Instagram:

"How to shortcut your way to success!"

"I went from zero to 5K/month in 3 months, and I will show you how too" 

"Done for your coaching consulting business."

It's easy for us to get duped into believing that maybe this one will be different, especially when we don't have any better options and don't know what else to do.

It's not your fault these tactics work.

They're designed to tap into your biggest desire – more money with less effort and a clear set of steps to get there.

They are selling you the easiest solution because who doesn't want that?

I call this the Quick Fix Paradox - what we want is not what our business needs.

Whether it's a quick fix, copycat solution, or cookie-cutter methods that "everyone should follow," these can easily create more problems in your business than they solve.

When you get caught in the Quick Fix Paradox you:

  • Waste time on solutions that aren't sustainable.   
  • Get directed into a way of working that you don't want.
  • Build an offer that doesn't work for your target audience.
  • Get boxed into one solution vs. looking for the best solution for your business.
  • Begin to doubt yourself when this "no-fail" solution doesn't work for you.
  • Have the illusion of productivity but later find it was all a waste of time because it didn't solve your problem.
  • Use this quick fix as an excuse not to do the real work.
  • Avoid doing what's necessary – digging deep to discover the right solutions for your unique business. 

If these quick fixes are so bad, why are they everywhere?

These quick fixes are everywhere because you're not a business expert.

You're an expert at what you do (life coaching, photography, teaching, copywriting, entertaining, creating, etc.). 

So in a world where anyone can decide to start a business, we've created a vast market for people to deliver business solutions to fill in the gap of our lack of expertise.

And they close the gap with simple, straightforward solutions because that's what we want. 

Another reason these quick fixes are so prevalent is that you're too busy to try anything else.

You're constantly working just to keep money coming in. You don't have time for anything but a quick and easy solution.

What should you do instead?

Your primary job as an entrepreneur is to:

a) solve the right problems and

b) solve problems the right way.

How you solve problems matters.

This is where we can get into trouble when we go for a cookie-cutter solution.

For example, let's say you need more money. So you buy a program that promises just that.

Then you discover the program is about building a membership site.

You're already maxed out running three online programs, so you either pivot from these or add new work.

If this adds work to your already busy day, it's a lousy way to solve your money problem.

Instead of adopting a new solution, focus on identifying the core problems and devise solutions that work WITH your business. 

In the previous example needing more money is not the core problem.

The core problem likely lies in your marketing, messaging, products, or services. 

When you understand the core problems in your business, you can begin the real work of how to solve them.

And this is where strategy comes in.

Strategy is how you achieve your goals.

A good strategy looks at your business as a system where all the different parts work together to achieve the desired outcome.

First, you need to know your target audience.

What do they need? What can they afford, or what are they willing to pay for what you have to offer? And how will you marry these things together into an offer for them?

Second, you need to know your own needs of the business.

Do you want to build a large audience with small price points? Or do you prefer a smaller audience and bigger price points? Do you want to work passively behind the scenes or be out front and connect with your customers?

These are just a few of the decisions you need to make to design your business strategically.

And the best part is that there are no right or wrong answers. These are just decisions that you make as an entrepreneur.

How to start thinking more strategically.

 If you're not used to thinking strategically, here's a way to get started.

Focus on understanding the problem you need to solve or the gap you need to close to achieve your business goals.

 Five Steps to Strategic Thinking:

1. What's the problem?

For example, you want more clients.

2. Frame the problem as a gap instead of a want.

For example, I need one additional client per month.

3. What's causing that problem?

For example, is it marketing, messaging, or a mismatch of your offer?

4. How would I know?

Gather data, get metrics, and talk to clients (past, current, and future).

5. What experiments can I try?

Change one thing at a time or make small moves. You don't know if it will work, so don't invest too much in a significant change unless confidence is high that it will work.

It's also beneficial to get another pair of eyes to give you a different perspective on your business.

Partner with other business owners or get expert guidance from a coach or consultant.

Avoid the temptation of the quick fix.

Next time you're tempted to search for a quick answer or see a post you're drawn to and get tempted to buy, stop and ask yourself, what problem am I solving? Do I know what the root cause is of this problem?   

Most of all, remember that this is a shift in mindset.

We're hard-wired to want the easy path because we're busy and overwhelmed.

Instead of telling yourself that you don't have time, remember that you are the owner of this company.  

You get to decide how you spend your time. 

And when you re-direct your focus to this more strategic way of thinking, you'll set yourself up for sustainable success. 

The "quick fix" path is just a guessing game.

And the cards are stacked against you.

But with this new strategic focus, you can turn the odds in your favor.

Don't go it alone.

If you need help figuring out the gaps in your business and want to take a more strategic approach, I have an excellent solution.

It's called the Clarity Business Assessment.

This isn't just an online form you complete. This is an authentic assessment where you and I have a conversation about your business. 

To learn more, click here.

This assessment will give you more confidence in your business decisions than ever before.

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