Trust the Soup - the business hack that will keep you in the black
I looked over at the clock. 3:46am. I was up again and finding it difficult to a) fall asleep and b) stay asleep. Further, I wanted to throw up.
What was keeping me awake (and making me nauseated)?
That nemesis of every business owner on the planet that was like a bully who showed up every two weeks to kick my ass again. And again. And again.
The snot-nosed little prick who wouldn't go away and leave me alone. He showed up every two weeks, month in and month out, like clock work.
What do you do with a bully to get him to back down?
You push back. Hard.
Trust the Soup
Any entrepreneur will tell you that one of the keys to success is to create processes and systems for making their company run smoothly. The issue of managing payroll is no different. To make payroll you need dough. To generate dough you need a marketing and sales system.
This marketing and sales process is one of the most important ones that can be implemented. Revenue is the life-blood of any business. It's also one of the most unpredictable systems in your company, regardless of what marketing gurus and sales "experts" tell you.
The fact is, there is no magic marketing bullet that will force people to buy from you, respond to you, or give you money. What you can do is put processes in place that give you a greater probability of those things happening.
When and how sales happen within that process, however, is anyone's guess.
This is when you just have to trust the soup. What that means is to just keep working the process that you have in place, even when you aren't seeing results. Even when you think no one is listening. Even when - maybe especially when - you want to give up.
It means publishing that blog post even when you only have 5 readers. It's making that 99th sales call when you've gotten 98 no's. It's continuing to share your content on social media when you get 1 like (from your mom) on your posts.
It's doing all the things you know you need to be doing to move the sales needle EVEN WHEN NO ONE GIVES A SHIT.
Because eventually it will pay off. Your effort, your time, your resources, your grind...it will pay off. That's trusting the soup.
Hard Work vs. Right Work
A little caveat here...
A lot is made of these days about working hard, grinding, and putting in the time that success requires. What isn't talked about as much, however, is doing the right work.
There's a key difference between those two things. Hard work is important and grinding it out beneficial. Doing the right work while working hard is just as critical if not more so.
Early in my career I was a terrible salesperson. I've improved quite a bit over the years, but in the early days I sucked. I couldn't close worth a damn.
I was self-aware enough at least to recognize this flaw and get the right people on board who could sell and then leverage their talents to take my company to the next level.
That freed me up to do the work I was good at like strategic planning and crafting a vision for moving forward. I was putting in the time - grinding - but it was grinding on the right work that made all the difference.
You have to take an honest self-assessment and understand that although you are a hard worker, real success will only ever come by doing the right work. This might mean outsourcing your taxes to a professional. Hiring that web design company to build your site. Revamping a key product that the market isn't buying. Buying that automation equipment that will make your operations more efficient instead of doing things manually. On so on.
Start by identifying the work that you shouldn't be doing and then work on putting systems in place that will get them done so you can focus on not just working hard, but also doing the right work.
Conquering the Bully
Even as the looming payroll haunted my dreams and kept me up at night, I also had an easy calm that lulled me back to sleep.
I didn't know how, I didn't know when, but I knew - in my heart of hearts - that things would work out. I knew that because I knew that I was unfailingly working the processes I had put in place. I was trusting my own soup.
When I woke up the next morning I went right back to work, doing the things I knew I needed to do. And you know what? The sales came through, the invoices were paid, and we covered our payroll. Some of the sales came through unexpected sources. Some came the day before pay day. But they came. They came because we each played our part in working the system.
The lesson? Above all, when things get hard (and they will, often) don't let the bully beat you. Push back. Hard.