In Part I: We focused why asking the "How Can I?" question is the key to getting unstuck and achieving your objectives. Part II continues with more examples.
Creating an Entirely New Revenue Stream
Several years ago, I lost my two bread-and-butter clients when the investment community demanded better financial results. Both these firms immediately suspended all "extraneous" projects - which included all my work with them.
While in the process of rebuilding my business, I did some free consulting for a small magazine serving the entrepreneurial community. I became enamored with the vitality of these firms as well as their contribution to the economy.
But the failure rate was sky high. Good businesses being run by well-intentioned people were closing down because the founders didn't understand how to sell. It about drove me crazy.
For months, I kept asking myself, "How can I share my expertise with these people and make some money doing it?"
It was a real conundrum. Entrepreneurs don't have deep pockets. When they hire consultants, they want to squeeze as much advice from them in the shortest possible time. In short, despite the apparent need, I couldn't figure out how to make a living.
But I kept the question open, choosing not to say 'no' yet. Instead, I kept researching and asking the question repeatedly - in multiple variations.
One day, the answer came to me: I'd create a website called Selling to Big Companies where I could give away lots of good sales advice for free. Plus, I could offer some premium content such as ebooks, emanuals and teleseminars. While doing this, I could still serve my corporate clients.
I knew I'd finally hit on a viable business model, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Trust the Questions
Over the years, I've come to trust this "How can I" strategy implicitly. Whenever I pose these questions to myself, the answers always come.
They're better ideas than I could have ever thought of myself. While that sounds strange to say, it's really true.
Right now, I trust the question again with the Sales SheBang - my online resource, conference and community for women in sales. I'm asking myself questions such as:
- How can I attract savvy saleswomen to the 2008 Sales Shebang Conference ?
- How can I fund this project so that I can make it bigger & better?
- How can I make it an incredible value for the women who come?
The good news is that the ideas are already streaming in. The bad news is that I appear to be a bottleneck in my own system. Too much is on my plate right now, so I'm adding resources to help out. In truth, it's really not a bad problem to have.
But it all starts with that "How Can I...?" question. Without a doubt, it's the best strategy in the whole world for reaching your unreachable goals.
Invite others to help you answer your questions. Track down a top salesperson and ask for their insights: How can I be more successful? How can I close more business?
Ask an entrepreneur: How can I create the company of my dreams? How can I get more done in the same amount of time?
The answers are already out there. You just need to ask the questions!