One of my mentors and business partners, Rajesh Nagjee once taught me a powerful lesson he learned watching a street beggar from the window.
After being quizzed about it, Rajesh revealed what had kept him engrossed for so many hours.
The beggar went from car to car with his hand out, pleading for money. Drivers closed their windows or shooed him away. Some dismissed him rudely and insulted him.
Yet the beggar remained unphased.
Day after day, this continued at the same hot, dusty Mumbai traffic lights. Shuffling to the next car and repeating his request for help. Despite 90% turning him away, he carried on regardless.
The lesson Rajesh got from that experience was about resilience and “bouncebackability”.
The beggar didn’t feel rejected when turned him away. He moved onto the next opportunity without feeling bad or taking a time out.
Here’s why that’s important…
Extracting Wisdom From The Mundane
Rajesh’s lesson about extracting wisdom from the mundane stayed with me. I later realized it had been with me for years, I just hadn’t noticed it.
My first mentor, the mischievous Marc Winn, once told me his mentor was his dog, Henry, because he taught him about being present and living with joy.
Yesterday, I was thinking about the challenges my clients faced as I boiled a pan of water.
As the water started to simmer, I had an epiphany (why do I get all my good ideas around water?).
It was profound, yet obvious. In that simple act of bringing a pan to boil, I realized the reason these smart founders were struggling to grow from 7-figures to 8 and beyond.
The Boiling Pan Strategy
For a pan of water to reach boiling point, continuous heat needs to be applied.
You put the pan on the stove, turn the gas on and wait until it reaches 100 degrees. Simple physics does all the work, you only have to:
1) apply the heat and
2) leave it long enough
The formula to boil the pan of water is therefore:
Heat x Time = Boiling
In business, we could say that our strategies take time to boil too. If things aren’t boiling fast enough, we turn up the heat.
In business, we apply more force. We do more.
For business, the formula becomes:
Force x Time = Breakthrough Result
It makes sense that as long as the product or service meets a real need people want, it’s a matter of time and effort.
Everyone knows this. You know this. Yet in business, founders overcomplicate things and it causes a lot of their misery.
What Founders Are Getting Wrong
Every week I see this play out with my clients:
A fresh problem appears. The founder comes up with a solution quickly and they feel excited about implementing it.
They invest days (even weeks) perfecting the content and tweaking the funnel for conversions before launching. As with most new ideas, it doesn’t hit a home run right out the gate and the initial results are disheartening.
When they do a post-mortem, they often make enormous changes that require weeks of work. They change the copy, adjust the offer, redesign the landing page. In a lot of cases, the changes don’t make a significant difference.
Instead of making extensive changes that waste hours, consider this solution that my clients have found powerful.
“Are we applying enough heat and have we left this to cook long enough?”
Or have we applied enough force? Have we given enough time to see the results of our efforts?
A basic concept to grasp, but many founders get stuck here. They underestimate the force required to achieve the goal. They also interfere and prevent time from doing its thing.
If either of those things are happening, here’s the two cures:
Fix #1 – Apply Overwhelming Force
Overwhelming force is a concept borrowed from the military. It’s about over-committing resources to guarantee the desired outcome.
There are two ways to add force: volume of force and quality of force:
Volume of Force
Volume of force is like the 10X rule: whatever level of activity you’re thinking of throwing at the goal, 10X it.
Doing this has two benefits. Firstly, you virtually guarantee hitting (and surpassing) your goal. Secondly, you’re forced to think at a higher level given that you can’t do everything yourself.
Whilst you could write 50 blog posts in 3 months, it’s doubtful they be your finest, and you’d not get much else done. Instead, record voice notes outlining the 50 posts. Then hire someone to write them for you.
Quality of Force
Quality of force is about tapping into resources you have already developed (or have access to) and deploying them:
Resources can be your:
In most cases, you’ll want to combine both. Tap into your quality of force resources and execute on them with massive action to create breakthroughs.
Fix #2 – Permission To Be Lazy
As entrepreneurs, we’re infatuated with doing.
We’re obsessed with productivity.
We believe we need to do more to get better results.
In most cases, the opposite is true.
Founders get itchy feet when they’re not doing something new. They pull the pan off the stove before it’s reached boiling point. I’ve gone as far as having clients make signs for their offices with “Be Lazy” as visual reminders not to overdo it.
Plagued by “new shiny object syndrome”, they charge toward the latest strategy that’s hit their inbox, convinced “THIS will change everything”.
It doesn’t, but the thrill of the new thing is far more alluring than the discomfort of standing by until the old one comes good.
They pull the pan of water off the stove too soon. Then they throw a different pan onto the heat. The new pan can’t boil either and the cycle repeats in perpetuity.
How To Know If You Need More Time or More Force
Check your numbers.
For example: if your sales page isn’t receiving enough traffic you can:
Add volume of force by boosting your marketing budget to get more traffic.
Apply quality of force by tapping into your network. Partner with someone you know who is has an engaged, relevant audience. Set up a deal to get them to promote your offer to their audience.
You could allow time if the volume of the traffic to the sales page is enough and the initial conversion rates and quality of the leads are promising.
When you’re not hitting your goal or your strategy isn’t working, there are only two factors for you to employ:
1) Are you applying enough force? Do you have enough heat that it would boil eventually? If so, just wait. Don’t start something new, don’t pull your team off the project. Be lazy and do less.
2) If you’re not applying enough force, apply more, both quality and quantity. Ask, how can I 10x the level of force being applied? How can I 10x the quality of the force being applied?
Asking your team these questions, and acting on your answers leads to much better results than switching to the next new idea.
Don’t fall into the trap of the next thing, don’t take the pan off the heat before it’s boiled.