The power of thinking out loud for your small business
When you hear the words “thinking out loud” what do you think? Sometimes, I talk to myself and I count that as thinking out loud. But it’s so much more than that.
It’s the process of talking about the issues and challenges that affect your business. And not to yourself either! It’s about talking through where your business is now and where you want it to be in the future with someone you know you can rely on for advice. Someone who will look at your business from a fresh perspective and talk through ways in which you can improve it.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I know that I don’t have all the answers. I know that working with someone who has different experience to me will help me grow my business. And whilst I’ve been thinking of a more formal advisor for my business, I’ve also been thinking about what the benefits might be. Here’s what I came up with. Hopefully, they’ll resonate with you too!
Play to your strengths
Do you know what you’re good at when it comes to running a business? I do. But, I also know what I’m not so good at. Cards on the table moment here. I’m still feeling my way around running a business and getting used to all the different hats I have to wear. The ones that feel most uncomfortable? The sales and business development ones. This is where the power of thinking out loud comes in. I think out loud with people I know wear these hats with flair. That is, they have an abundance of these skills and can help me by guiding me. And do you know what that lets me do? It lets me play to my strengths – the things I’m good at – and helps me worry less about the things I’m not so good at.
Working on your business with a trusted adviser allows you to play to your strengths.
Focus on what will help to grow your business
I don’t know about you, but I can be a bit of an idea magpie. I see something that someone else is doing and think “I should be doing that!” Having learned to spot the signs, I can now stop myself. Because what’s the point of doing a thing someone else is doing if it doesn’t help your business to grow? Having someone to bounce ideas off and talk things through with will help you to focus in on the things that will help your business grow and help you resist adding new things to your to-do list.
Open your eyes to gaps in your business
I’m very protective of my business. I bet you are too. I’ve made a huge amount of effort to get to where I am with it today. That means that I’m really close to it. Sometimes too close. Running and working in your business can give you blinkered vision. It can stop you from seeing the gaps you have that are stopping you from succeeding. Working with someone, or thinking out loud with someone, will help you spot what’s missing. It’s an objective eye on what’s, let’s be honest here, your baby.
Do you know where the gaps in your business are? Working with an adviser will help you to see what’s missing.
Discover new opportunities
Just as you’re immune (most of the time) to seeing gaps in your business, you might also be missing opportunities. Thinking out loud with someone helps you to see your business from a different perspective. I had lunch with a friend recently and she asked me how things were with my business. I explained where I was headed with it and what I wanted to achieve. We had a lovely lunch and said our goodbyes. Later, I got a text from her with an idea for a different service offering. It was so obvious as I read her text, but I just hadn’t thought about it. Needless to say, I’m working on it and will soon have something ready to offer to a very specific audience!
Get a better perspective on what’s important to your growth
The same friend I talked about above didn’t just come up with one idea about how to develop my business. A series of texts provided a number of ideas.
But, here’s the thing…
It also gave me perspective on what’s important to me when it comes to growing my business. My friend is very creative, but not all the ideas she came up with felt like they fitted in with how I want my business to develop. But, if I’d never had the conversation with her, I wouldn’t have the clarity I have now. And who knows, those additional ideas are not a never, they’re not right just now. Because as a business grows, it develops and adapts to what its customers need.
Learn how to deal with change
Change is inevitable. It’s a hard lesson I’ve had to learn. OK, I admit it. I’m not very good with change. There, I said it! But, as a business owner, you have to be prepared to deal with changes, not just in your business, but in the world around you. What’s happening in your town, your region, the country all affect your business and its potential. Having someone to discuss these changes with gives you perspective on how the changes might affect your business. And it gives you the headspace to learn how you’re going to deal with them.
Find alternative solutions to your challenges
We don’t all think in the same way. If we did, the world would be a decidedly boring place! The fact that we all have different approaches to thinking and, in particular, solving challenges is a good thing for your business! Thinking out loud with someone who has a different view to you will help you to see alternative solutions to the challenges you face. After all, doing things the same way and expecting different results is madness! So, be brave, think out loud with someone else and try the solution that you would never dream of trying!
I love thinking out loud. I take every opportunity I can to seek wisdom from people whose strengths are different to my own. It helps me to see my business from someone else’s viewpoint and also gives me ideas to try that I might never have thought of. In fact, I’m so keen to take it further that I’m working with a business mentor to help me shape the future of Marketing by Minal.