The other day I met with a friend of mine who is president of one of Vancouver's largest coffee chains. George is a serial entrepreneur who founded an innovative food franchise when he was twenty-one. The franchise expanded Canada-wide and he has been on the leading edge of business concepts and technology ever since.
George shared with me that over the past three years, coffee sales in their chain have flattened out. Apparently drinking coffee is not as fashionable as it once was. Meanwhile, sales of tea in their stores have increased hugely, especially the green teas which are touted for their antioxidant benefits. He believes the shift to teas is a rising trend and so he is implementing a sophisticated business plan to capitalize on this opportunity.
During our conversation I realized why George has pioneered so many leading-edge business ventures. He thinks completely differently than most business owners I have coached. In my experience, most of us view the future in a linear fashion. We look at what is happening now and project forward a number of months or years to visualize what is possible for us in the future. It is as if we stand at the base of a mountain and look up, calculating how to get from where we are to the top.
George's approach is exactly the opposite. He observes and studies emerging trends and then imagines the ultimate outcome of where they might lead - of what is possible when all of these trends and technologies combine. He then works backwards towards the present, as if he is already on top of the mountain of what is possible looking down. This thinking is what makes his business strategies revolutionary.
When was the last time you stopped to take note of the trends in your industry, in other businesses and geographic markets, in technology and in the situation and desires of your target market? Have you thought about where your customers are going to be ten years from now, and then projected a path back to the present? Have you imagined what is possible if you were to combine the leading-edge technologies available today (and those that are emerging) with other changes and trends?
Last year I read a book called "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman. With over 800 pages, it was a heavy read but also a huge eye-opener. Friedman discusses hundreds of trends and changes that are causing the flattening (globalization) of the world. If you want to stimulate your mind, this book can help.
There are two steps you can take that will give you a massive advantage over your competition and put you ahead of the pack. The first is to take time on a regular basis to identify, consider and explore new trends, innovations and concepts. This can be done on your own, or with a group of forward-thinking friends. The second step is to ask yourself and those you meet powerful questions. Not the simple, everyday questions the masses are asking, but breakthrough questions that lead to new and original ideas.
At first practicing these steps will require conscious effort on your part. But if you persist, your thought processes will evolve and you will begin to see the world the way my friend George does. When that happens, your life and your business will never be the same again.
Lately I've been working on this myself. Like most small business owners, I have a busy schedule and most of my bandwidth is consumed by tactical, day-to-day operations. I rarely take the time to reflect on trends or ponder the big-picture future. After my conversation with George, I made a promise to get away from my office on a regular basis so that I can contemplate, imagine, and implement exciting new possibilities in coaching and personal development.
While I have not achieved any breakthroughs yet, I have identified one change that I'm going to make immediately that will make my life more enjoyable. It will also affect you, my readers, because this is the last ProCoach newsletter you will receive in this format.
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing some of the greatest authors and speakers of our time including Michael Gerber (The E-Myth); Robert Allen (Multiple Streams of Income); Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior); Jay Abraham - renowned marketing guru; Jay Conrad Levinson (Guerrilla Marketing), Shakti Gawain (Creative Visualization) and over 30 others. Listeners loved my interviewing style and found the recordings engaging and filled with valuable content.
When I began reflecting on my business I realized that I read very few of the many newsletters I receive by email. My hunch is that I'm not alone. So, beginning next month, I will be conducting interviews with leading experts and visionaries in the business and personal development field. Instead of getting a written newsletter, you will receive a link you can use to listen to or download the interviews.
I am excited and invigorated by this change. I feel extremely blessed in my life and it brings me joy to give back by sharing my gift for interviewing. My passion is supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners to achieve their goals faster and with less effort. I know from experience how hard it can be to create a successful business and life. These interviews are intended to help you on your journey.
Master Certified Coach
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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