For years I would run around my company like a crazy man talking about mastering what you do before you move onto something else. My employees would say, ‘What the heck is he talking about, what does that mean?’
Here is the problem. Entrepreneurs (and employees of entrepreneurs) love to jump around like bunny rabbits moving from one project or initiative to another without ever really completing anything or seeing it through to success. Does this sound familiar to you?
As entrepreneurs, we love to chase the shiny object and go from the one big thing, and then without ever completing it, jump onto the next big thing. We repeat this cycle over and over again, and it's really bad for us. We never seem to stay with one thing long enough to actually make it a success. You end up dedicating enough time and focus to what that project or initiative needs. Therefore, the likelihood of failure significantly goes up… or worse, you actually give up on your entire business! More than likely the idea fails because you give up on it too soon.
Have you ever experienced this in your business or personal? I know I have. I want to share with you my experience with “master and move on.”
At my old company, ‘Market Live’, we suffered from this syndrome. In fact, there was a period of time that we would start working on something. We'd work on it for one or two months, like it's a new sales or marketing initiative. And then shortly after that, we deem it not successful… it didn't work. We tried one campaign, we tried two campaigns. We move on to the next thing, and we keep trying something else. Know that I’m a big believer in continuing to try new things. But jumping around and not giving them enough time for a fair shake-out the problem.
Unfortunately, we repeated this cycle for several years. I woke up one day and said, ‘We've made zero progress. Why are we so challenged? We've made no progress on our company. We're not growing. We're kind of stuck in this rut.’ Well, it was because we didn't master what we were doing and we just kept moving on…see the point here?
So, it came to me, and I consciously said to the team; “we need to stop this behavior.” And, with that, I began to engrain into the culture the notion that we have to master something before we move on to something else.
The bigger your organization gets, the harder this is to actually affect quickly. But, when you're nice and small, or even be operating on your own, you can actually get this going pretty quickly. To make this tangible, I laid out a set of five key initiatives. We were a fairly big company, so we could handle five key initiatives. I managed the entire company to those five initiatives and didn't do anything else…relatively speaking.
Every week, I drove home those five key initiatives with each and every employee. Until we mastered those, we were not going to move on. I have got to tell you, it really worked. It worked so well that we sold the company within two years of starting this process that our valuation increased four-fold in our sale price. The lesson is that this actually can work, if you are willing to implement and live by it.
Now you might be asking; why does this happen? Just reading this, you're probably already spotting this in your own behavior. I guarantee you, if you're a true entrepreneur, you absolutely have experienced this where you're jumping around from one thing to another. It's just part of our DNA… and that's part of the problem. You know the same brain that creates your initial business idea is the brain that creates all these new ideas. I mean, it's the same brain and it will repeat the same process.
It's just part of our entrepreneurial DNA. Also, as entrepreneurs, we're impatient. We want to move on to the next thing and we kind of take everything to 50, 60, 70 percent and then we want to go somewhere else, right? We want to let somebody else deal with it after that. I am absolutely that type of entrepreneur. I’m an "80-percenter." I’ll get something to 80% and then I’m tired of it and want to move on to the next creative thing.
In business, you’ve got to master it, you’ve got to close in on 100% and then you can move on. As entrepreneurs we see opportunity everywhere, don’t we?. We're always chasing down that opportunity, again it's just part of who we are. The problem is that there's a good side of that, but there's also a bad side to that. And, that is; we don't lay a solid foundation for our company before we expand, and this is one of the main reasons why businesses fail. This is very, very important; master the idea, the project, or the initiative before moving on to the next thing…that is what I mean.
I want to make sure that you're going to allow enough time to actually build that solid foundation with mastering the first thing that you're doing. Then master the second thing, then master the third thing and you iterate over and over and over again. I guarantee you this is the way that you build a large company. Don't initially try to dominate all markets, as an example. Just focus on one market and then master that and move on to something else. Or maybe it might be to just focus on your first product and really make sure that's a success. This will give you a good foothold in the market and then go on to your second or third product.
Real Life Example
Let’s take a yoga studio. I could sit here and think of many products and services that you could pack into a yoga studio. In fact, let's say this entrepreneur doesn't want to just be a yoga studio, but they really want a wellness company. They want to create an entire wellness experience, both online and offline, nationwide or even worldwide. So, their vision is very big. But we’ve got to distill it back down to reality, they're just getting started.
I want to make sure that yours is the best yoga studio in your city or your town, it’s very important to start there. Gain that reputation for excellence and innovation as an example, or whatever you really want to focus on with your classes. Then, that should gain you a loyal customer following on your core business. This will help you to start to build up, and build momentum. Once you've mastered that, then you can move on to the next service offering and so on and so forth. You might offer the next product, perhaps a meditation class, a series of meditation classes, or maybe classes on nutrition.
Apply this to your life
Once you master that, you’ll achieve that excellent reputation for meditation, for nutrition, and then maybe you’ll take it to the third thing, like moving your classes online. And, then we start on the fourth thing as you begin to expand outside of your city into other cities. Do you see how it works? I want you to take that and apply that to your business. This is really where all this starts to come home.
What I’d like you to do is apply this to your business or your life. I want you to take one area and think about how you can Master and Move On. Ask yourself this thought-provoking question; are you guilty of jumping from one thing to another without mastering it first? You probably could find an example or two in your business life or your personal life, where that's the case. Then ask yourself; what in your business, or in your life, have you not dedicated enough time to, hence it's not been successful so far?
Think about what project or initiative could you take right now and apply the master and move on tactic too. Embed the behavior into your daily life where you're always self-checking on this. Or, in other words, make sure you are very conscious of this behavior in your own life in that you may be jumping from one thing to another. I want you to stop yourself and consider working on mastering what you are working on before moving to the next great idea.