How to Make Progress With Your Start-up Business When It Seems Impossible
You have a business idea. An idea that you believe in. You have already started working on it. You have some traction but it seems impossible to make good progress. Well, you are not alone. I have been in the same situation years ago and the feeling is mutual. It sucks! Making progress that counts towards a greater goal is difficult and challenging. When I started my first business, it looked impossible to build traction. There were a ton of things I wanted to do but everything was important.
Cut cookies like the Macarons
You have a business idea. An idea that you believe in. You have already started working on it. You have some traction but it seems impossible to make good progress.
Well, you are not alone.
I have been in the same situation years ago and the feeling is mutual.
Making progress that counts towards a greater goal is difficult and challenging. When I started my first business, it looked impossible to build traction. There were a ton of things I wanted to do but everything was important. I was lost, and didn’t know “what matters the most”.
With time, I was forced to find out ways to invest money, time, and the efforts in what is important. It was painful.
This article is a result of this painful journey. It intends to teach how you can get started and make progress when it seems impossible
The cookie cutter approach
Do you know how a cookie cutter works?
A cookie cutter is a template to cut cookies into a certain shape. It cuts the same shape, every time, all the time. It’s known to work, and the end result is 100% guaranteed. A nicely cut cookie.
There are cookie cutters in business as well. That one thing which works just fine, and yields expected results every single time.
Often, we fail to see its importance and that it works. We miss it mainly because, we are busy fixing what doesn’t work.
You might not know what your cookie cutter is, yet they exist, waiting to be discovered.
What is the one thing that works in your business and builds traction right now? Take a minute and think about it. It’s something that;
- Just works and you know it,
- You know the result it yields,
- You also know that the results it yield add value to your big picture goals.
Stop for a minute and think.
Think honestly and deeply. Write things down if needed.
If yes, you are almost done making progress that will move the needle.
If not, read here, how to find your cookie cutter.
It’s a simple yet a powerful concept. Focus on what “works right now”. And keeps doing it. Do a lot of it.
Do a lot of it.
Do it until it becomes a piece of cake, and suddenly making progress that counts towards achieving big picture goals becomes a piece of cake. Sounds too good to be true, right? Yes, but it’s easier said than done!
Identifying our cookie cutter is the first and the easier step. On the other hand, putting it into good use requires consistency and discipline.
Consistency and Discipline
We could have the best cookie cutter in the world.
It cuts so sharp that customers just love the cookies. It cuts effortlessly that employees and teammates love the cookie cutter.
However, if you do not use it with discipline and consistently, the output it will produce will be below its potential.
If you are not disciplined to sharpen it regularly, it won’t cut the sharpest cookies. If you do not cut consistently, it will become rusty.
You get the idea right?
Consistency to learn
Keep cutting cookies. Don’t stop.
When we keep doing what works, we start to see the curves and the edges it has.
The curves — the characteristics which supports the sharpest cut. Keep doing them!
The edges — the minor things that build friction. If not smoothen, they can build up to break the cookies. Stop doing them, or change them for good!
Before too long, it’s gonna wear off. It looses its shine. It looses its sharpness.
There are new cookie cutters in the market for the same price or even cheaper. Shinny, sharp, new cookie cutters.
Good news is, they are new. They haven’t cut cookies like we have, have they? They don’t know the curves and the edges yet, but we do.
Discipline to progress
To make a lasting cookie cutter, we should sharpen it regularly. When a cookie broke because the cutter was not sharp enough, we stop cutting cookies. If we continue, all the cookies will be broken. We stop to sharpen the cookie cutter.
To have something that works, yields expected results over and over again, and lasts, we should maintain and keep improving it. Not just once or twice, but as many times as it takes.
Every time something doesn’t go as expected, we take a step back, find out what went wrong, fix it, improve it, and put it back to work.
It’s the discipline to take a step back, will move us forward.
It’s the discipline not to ignore the edges, will move us forward.
It’s the discipline to sharpen the edges, will move us forward.
It’s the discipline to be consistent, will move us forward.
We have to find our cookie cutter first.
We put our cookie cutter into good work. A lot of work. While it does its magic, we further fine-tune it. Goal is to yield the expected result over and over again, for a long period of time.
We don’t want broken cookies. Customers don’t like broken cookies. So, If we see it needs sharpening, we stop to sharpen our cookie cutter. We just don’t wait for a broken cookie, instead we proactively take a break to sharpen it.
If we keep doing this for long enough, the cookie cutter we have, could become the best cookie cutter. EVERY! Else, it will be just another cookie cutter which goes down the garbage bin in a few months, weeks or even days.
Consistently cutting cookies AND being disciplined to sharpen it proactively, will take us a long way.
Call to action
- Find your cookie cutter NOW.
- Start cutting cookies right away.
- Put up a plan to cut cookies for the next 3 months.
- Take a step back weekly to find out curves and edges.
- Capitalize curves.
- Smoothen edges.
- Keep cutting cookies, and cut a lot of it!