With keen observation and an open mind, you can learn from anything you see or experience. My dog, Gemma – an energetic little Vizsla, is no exception. To refine or try new business tactics, look around you.
Gemma likes chasing rabbits and birds, vacuuming up my daughter’s cheerios, sitting in the sun, and snoozing in her cozy cave.
She’s our first child and we treat her like any other quirky member of our family.
Here’s are the business tactics I’ve learned from her.
RELENTLESSLY COMMUNICATE YOUR MESSAGE
First, relentlessly communicate your message.
Gemma eats breakfast with me at 5:00am – which is when my alarm goes off every day.
Often, Gemma will be right there at the side of my bed, upright, alert, and looking me in the eye, at 4:57am – ready to prevent me from hitting snooze.
She knows my routine well enough to also know when and where to interrupt me. Gemma is also consistent with her message: “feed me,” which further reinforces the routine. As her target, I know exactly what to do and when.
As a new small business owner, you’re competing for your audiences’ time and attention.
Yes, you need messages that are sticky, but that’s not enough. Your messages also need to land when and where it’s most relevant to them. Otherwise, you’re just noise.
Your audience need to see the value you provide to them in their moment of need.
MAINTAIN LASER-LIKE FOCUS
Second, maintain a laser-like focus.
As a bird dog, vizslas typically point when they see wild birds and rabbits. What’s amazing to me is that Gemma, a dog who does absolutely zero hunting, still instinctively points.
And, when she points, she focuses like a laser on what’s in front of her and slowly walks toward her prey (and by prey, I mean a fuzzy friend who she’d like to play with).
She also blocks out distractions and won’t respond to being called until after she has the opportunity to pounce (don’t worry, they always get away).
Distractions are everywhere for a new entrepreneur.
There’s a million things you could be doing, but only a few things you probably should be doing.
We need to be able to block out the noise and stay on target. And, we also need to aim for the right target. Focus without prioritization is just wasted effort.
TAKE TIME TO REJUVENATE
Finally, take time to rejuvenate.
Vizslas are a high-energy breed – they run, and run, and run… until they crash. Every. Day.
Gemma and I typically walk about 4-5 miles every day – according to her Whistle fitness tracker she needs about 71 minutes of intense exercise every day.
And, sometimes that’s still not enough. It’s also considered lazy by Vizsla standards.
Still, she takes time to relax and recharge.
She’ll lounge in the sun, recharging her batteries like a solar cell. It’s kind of incredible – when she has time in the sun, she’s calmer and more patient. When it’s cloudy, she’s frenetic, undisciplined, and sloppy.
As a new entrepreneur, you need to be imaginative and innovative. That’s pretty difficult with no sleep or down-time. You’ll find that your flow of ideas and inspiration can dry up quickly if you don’t take care of yourself.
Your body is a system. For it to produce output – ideas, products, strategy – you need to constantly feed it input – nutrition, recharge time, sleep, or reading.
All the essential business tactics in the world are useless without self-care and rest.
LOOK AROUND YOU
Learning often hides in plain sight. What can you learn from what’s right in front of you?
ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.
It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.
It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.
And, that’s why it’s worth it.