[Note from Charlie: Ashley has been working with us since March and this is her first post on the blog. I happened to see her comment to a class participant about this and asked her to share more here.]
There’s something about the practice of abundance that never quite seems real until you see that you get more stuff done when you live with an abundance mindset.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs find themselves in the throes of managing cash-flow from a place of lack. There is a constant worry or fear that there will never be enough, and even when we do achieve that vague “enough” number, it still somehow is never quite enough.
Rather than operating from an abundance mindset – the idea that we already have everything we need; in fact, we have so much we’re willing to give what we have to others – many small business owners operate from a scarcity mindset. This breeds a certain kind of desperation that shows up in strategy, tactics, and last-minute execution.
Planning can help us curb desperation, but only a true mindset shift will help us plan effectively and execute with confidence. (Click to tweet – thanks!)
The Small Business Scarcity Cycle
The scarcity mindset breeds a vicious cycle: the more we worry about how much we don’t have, the more we try desperately to plan for ways to get more. Clouded by “scarcity-judgment” and unable to see clearly what it is we truly need and, more importantly, what our customers need, we create non-resonant solutions, spend too much time in push marketing and promotion, and lose credibility.
There’s a certain type of manic choke-hold that takes over when you operate from this place. You feel like it’s the end of the world if you don’t bring in that last sale. You may achieve your goals, but sometimes you don’t. It doesn’t matter either way, because you’ll still feel like you don’t have what you need.
So it’s back to the drawing board to strategize the next quick sales hit. Eventually you get frustrated and burnt out because something is obviously not working.
The time and energy spent worrying, complaining, and plotting how to get out of scarcity mode are much better spent basking in abundance.
Saving Time and Energy with the Abundance Mindset
Working from an abundance mindset, you no longer need to plan desperate sales strategy after desperate sales strategy. Instead, there is more time to take a long-term view of the business, you create meaningful, effective, and resonant solutions for customers, and the whole sales process takes less effort. This conservation of energy gives you more time to create value, which increases trust and brand awareness, which makes sales even easier. Abundance begets abundance, with a lot less worry, complaining, head scratching, and hair pulling.
I wish I could tell you that transitioning to and staying in the abundance mindset were easy, but the truth is that it’s much, much harder to operate from abundance all the time. There will absolutely be periods in your business when things are looking dire and times call for desperate measures. An abundant mindset might look at these times as risk adventures rather than as desperate sales attempts.
The Language We Use to Make Important Business Decisions
In a way, shifting into an abundance mindset is more about the internal and external language we use to justify our day-to-day decisions. The thank-you proffered to a dissatisfied customer and the energy put into receiving genuine feedback are much more efficiently employed than are ignoring the customer, complaining to your employees, making excuses as to why they’re wrong, and then letting it bother you for days on end because you never got any closure or the information you needed to correct course and create a stellar experience for future customers. The energy imbalance here is enough to make you understand why job pressure and money are the number-one and -two markers of stress in America and why 77% of Americans experience physical symptoms associated with it, according to statistics compiled from the American Institute of Psychology and the American Institute of Stress and released by StatisticBrain.
What’s the best way to bring abundance back to the forefront of business planning, strategizing, and sales? Remember what you already have. It doesn’t have to be material. Remind yourself that you already have everything you need. It’s less about needing and more about finding the right way to employ what you already have. This is the abundance business model. It’s a system, a process, and a position, and it’s all about people. All of a sudden, what you need starts to appear right in front of you. Practicing abundance propels quick growth in the Small Business Life Cycle because its foundation is moored in selfless service. True success isn’t about how much you gain, but about how much others gain because of what you have to offer.
How does the difference between the scarcity mindset and the abundance mindset show up for you? How do you shift from one to the other and what practices help you remain in the abundance mindset?
Donnie Law says
Outlook on life is a huge influence on success or failure!
Stephen Lahey says
Excellent advice, Ashley. Also – love The Small Business Lifecycle – the best biz book I’ve read in years.
Thanks Stephen! Glad you liked it and the SBL 🙂
For me, I can tell which side I’m on based on whether I’m feeling anxious and resistant to giving or not in my daily life. There’s a fine line sometimes between being an extravagant giver and giving away the shirt off your back. It could look exactly the same on the outside, but the motivation behind it makes all the difference in whether it will reap good things.
Awesome point Chrystal. Intention and motivation changes everything. Good on you for being so aware of how giving makes you feel.
Leah McClellan says
I enjoyed reading this because it’s so true. Just yesterday, I heard an ad on the radio about a food collection drive. A woman who had grown up in poverty told her story, and one thing she said stuck with me (paraphrase): “As a kid, when you’re constantly struggling every day just for food, it’s hard to plan for the future.”
I think that’s related to what you wrote here. Whether the struggle is for real and actual (as in truly going hungry) or whether it’s a relative struggle (when you’re at least warm, fed, and a secure roof is over your head), your mindset will affect how you run your business.
What helps me when things are rough is years in customer service and sales. And that means it’s all about the customer (or client) and good customer service no matter what. I’ve had days when things were tight and someone asks for a refund or a client is impossible or pays late or something, and I’ve thought some nasty things. But I put on my “customer care cap” and respond as graciously and as compassionately as I would any other time. Because it’s not about me, it’s about the customer. And outstanding customer service is a big part of my business value proposition. And yes, I have everything I need, and it will all work out (and it always does, amazingly so sometimes).
Wow Leah! Great points and great integration of how your experience in customer service helps you in your business today. Nothing like customer service to teach you how to be grateful 🙂
Mike Stankavich says
Lately I’ve been coming to realize that this is particularly true of time, perhaps even more than money. Rather than always stressing about not having time to do everything, focus on the fact that you have plenty of time to do the most important things.
Ashley Herzberger says
Great suggestion! I totally agree.
Theresa Grillo Laird says