Archive for July, 2011
I am very competitive by nature. I think it came from being just one year younger than my big brother and never wanting to be left behind. But I have had to learn to tame that competitive streak to have a successful business. That is counterintuitive to most solopreneurs so stay with me as you explore what happens in competition.
You may know that the Solopreneur.Biz blog is in a contest for the Best Coaching Blog 2011. We have ranked around 6th or 7th pretty consistently over the past six weeks. In the last few days, there have been several emails from Julia Stewart, the contest organizer, about cheating in the contest and the ouster of one competitor because of it. It seems that someone voted down other blogs until some, Solopreneur.Biz included, registered 0 votes!
My initial reaction to this is a competitive one – to jump in and email everyone I know to go vote for the blog – to help me get rid of that embarrassing zero and to get “back in the competition”. Here’s where the business lesson for solopreneurs comes in. And it’s not the obvious “cheaters never win” because in the business world, sometimes they do.
First, let’s look at the idea of “winning”. Competition says there are winners and losers, that the world is black and white and that coming in first is most important. Any coach that entered this blog contest just to win is misguided. If the goal is winning, 97% of the 30 blog owners will fail. It’s the same if you are trying to be the best graphic designer in Topeka or the most popular therapist in Abilene. You are setting yourself up for failure. Imagine the difference for your business, if instead, you try to be creative in your graphic designs and really listen to your clients. Success is in the process, not the result.
Competition distracts us from strategic business thinking. We get caught in the emotion of striving to win and our business suffers because of it. Businesses success is built through strategy, planning and careful implementation. Why join a blog contest then? There are lots of great, strategic business benefits including exposure, traffic, new subscribers, developing community, visibility, celebrating the profession and even as incentive to become a more consistent blogger. The solopreneur whose business is thriving and healthy is the one who knows what the purpose is for a specific activity. Resist your competitive urge to come in first and instead win by following your plan.
The sweet ending to the blog contest misadventure is that the competitors now get to vote for each other to determine the winner. Turning competition on its head, I’m off to go explore the other blogs to see who is being strategic with his or her blog. Those are the ones that will be getting my votes!