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Beyond Flawlessness: Imperfection Makes Businesses Great (2024)




You work hard. You accomplish. You keep going every day. 


You’re even proud of yourself sometimes.


But there’s this feeling that gnaws inside you no matter how well things turn out—and especially when they don’t. It’s like a hidden inner battle


Questions roll around inside your brain like: “Is this good enough? Could it be better?”


“Should I change it?”


“Maybe if I tweek this or that, it will sound… look… seem more professional and attract more clients.”





Overall, of course, you’ll continually aim for improvements in your business. That’s how it grows.


The danger comes when these questions, like a strong wind gusting against you, hold you back from launching a new product, trying a new marketing approach, or even avoiding a conversation with a prospective client.


Introducing: “perfectionism”. You may have heard about it before? The pesky human condition shows up as striving for flawlessness, setting excessively high-performance standards, listening to critical self-evaluations, and worrying about what others think. 


Am I ringing any bells here?


Perfectionism is a silent struggle, echoing the fears and uncertainties that many entrepreneurs face daily. Every person on the planet with a brain experiences this.


I struggle with it, too.


The path to overcoming this idyllic picture of how you think something should be is easier than you think.


It’s a simple shift in your thinking. Instead of focusing on how you could do things better, think of how you could add more value.


Let me show you how.


1. Recognize How You Uniquely Impact Your Customers




Your business reflects your passion and commitment. You happily and enthusiastically solve a problem. 


This is your business in a nutshell.


You don’t have to be like anyone else. Trying to clone how another business does what you do won’t work. They’re building on their own foundation, pillars based on their specific values, personality, and creativity.


That’s why they’re succeeding. 


You can’t be who they are. Think about how outstanding your own values, personality and creativity are. Imagine relaxing into this every day as you plan your next move.



Example:


Let’s say you’re the proud owner of “Sara’s Eco-Cleaning Service”. At least five other cleaning businesses are thriving in your area. 


Although each may provide similar services, they’re not you because you believe in environmental sustainability. Your values, personality, and creativity attract a niche market of eco-conscious clients to your business. 


Voila! You suddenly have a different business from everyone else.


It’s a beautiful thing. It’s not about being better or perfect at what you do; it’s about doing it the best way you see it because your focus is on your customer, not your competition.



Take Action:

List out the unique qualities you bring to your business. Don’t be humble or shy. (seriously - leave that at the door) What do you have that someone else wouldn’t have because they’re not you?


  1. Define Your Values: Pinpoint what sets your business apart based on your values, passions, and strengths.

  2. Take a Look At Your Competition: Understand your market and competitors, identifying gaps your unique qualities can fill.

  3. Customize Offerings: Align your products or services with your unique traits and customer needs.

  4. Emphasize What You Do That Is Different: Clearly communicate this to your people - not once but repeatedly.

  5. Keep talking to your people: Listen to what they’re saying and use it to refine what you’re offering and to give them more of what they want.


Yes, you’ll still do things imperfectly. So what? Is imperfection a bad thing? 


For the answer, keep reading.



2. Make Everything An Opportunity For Growth




You won’t learn from the things you do right. You’ll learn from your mistakes.


So experiment. Each error is a lesson wrapped in a disguise, guiding you towards what works and what doesn’t. 

 

Shift your focus from fearing failure to learning from it. Keep your eyes on the Hero in your business story: Your Customer.


They have a problem. You have a solution. 



Example:


What if you were the owner of a bakery competing with larger chains? You decide to use your bakery to experiment with gluten-free recipes, a decision inspired by your own gluten intolerance, a common problem these days.


Many recipes initially fail, leading to unsold products and wasted ingredients. However, instead of seeing these failures as losses, say you treated them as lessons. 


You included your customers in the experiments and considered all their feedback. Eventually, you find a unique blend that is both delicious and distinct from anything your competitors offer. 


It's a win-win situation. You would fill a niche in your local market and build a loyal customer base that appreciates your dedication and innovation.


If you look inside yourself instead of worrying about what’s happening in your competitor’s backyard, you’ll see that you can do what you do in a way that puts a different spin on it, even if you’re selling the same product.



Take Action: 


  1. Adopt a Growth Mindset: View setbacks as learning opportunities and avoid fearing failure.

  2. Experiment Strategically: Test new ideas in small, measurable ways and learn from the outcomes.

  3. Focus on Solutions: Direct your efforts towards solving customer problems and creating something of value to them. You’ll get them talking.

  4. Analyze and Learn: Regularly review what worked and what didn’t, applying lessons learned.

  5. Share and Adapt: Again, keep talking to your people. Communicate what you learn and adapt based on their feedback.


Bring value - not perfection.  


Want to take it up a notch? Let the focus for validation go.


Like this…



3. Seek Feedback, Not Validation




The perfection trap has its jaws wide open when you are continually looking for validation


How many times do you check your “likes” on social media?


How much weight do you put on the ten positive comments you’ve received instead of obsessing about the one negative?


Think of this as focusing on what you’re not getting because that’s what it becomes. Instead, focus on what you can “give”. 


See criticism as a peek into what they need. It’s a clue for making things better, not perfect.



Example:


Imagine you’re the owner of Dynamic Builds, a small construction company that struggles with customer satisfaction. 


Initially, you search for positive testimonials and high ratings, often overlooking constructive criticism. However, after a series of projects with mixed reviews, you realize you’re not getting the business you need.


So, you shift your approach. Instead of ignoring your clients' honest feedback, you start paying attention, focusing mainly on negative or constructive comments.


With every completed project, you Implement a follow-up system, bravely gathering detailed client feedback. 


And what do you find? Clients wanted more communication during projects. 


Using this valuable insight, you implement regular update meetings and a dedicated communication channel for each project. 


Result: you improved customer satisfaction and reduced project errors and misunderstandings, leading to many smiles and more referrals.


Encourage feedback from customers and peers. Then, use it to refine your services or products.


Doing this helps in two ways. 

  • It gives you permission to be imperfect. 

  • It helps your people see you as a brand open to growing alongside them.



Action Steps:


  1. Establish a Feedback System: Set up a structured method to collect and analyze client feedback.

  2. Objectively Evaluate Feedback: Distinguish constructive criticism from mere opinions and focus on actionable insights.

  3. Prioritize Improvements: Identify and act on the most critical feedback that aligns with your business goals.

  4. Communicate Changes: Let your people know how you appreciate their feedback and how it has led to tangible improvements. They’ll feel like a co-creator in your business.

  5. Build a Feedback Culture: Encourage open, honest communication from within your company and with clients.




Embrace Your Journey, Imperfections and All




Remember, the road to success is paved with lessons, not just achievements. 


Open your arms and your mind to take in everything your journey brings you.


Believe that you make a difference. You are solving a problem that nags at your customer’s life. 

That means you have immense value to them. 


Your imperfections are not flaws; they're signposts guiding you toward growth and authenticity. 

As your coach, I urge you to embrace discomfort, celebrate your progress, and let go of perfection. 


Your courage to be imperfect truly sets you apart. It’s also a lot more relaxing. You're not just running a business; you're making a difference and you’re doing it by simply being who you are. 


Let’s all keep shining and changing the world, imperfections and all.



Next Steps


Your next step is to take one step at a time. Sign up for Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) Business Strategy delivered to your inbox every week. One thing to think about for your business. One simple thing to master at a time.  Sign up by clicking this link. 



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