Stop Worrying About Your Output


So, you have had some success with your business model. Maybe you had some good breakthroughs and even made some money. Possibly, you did this through a marketing campaign, selling a product, or providing a service, and all of that worked really well.

30 input output

What’s Your Comfortable Temperature?

When you experience this success, your public begins to rave about you and everything sails along great. At this time, your tendency may be to relax for a while, because you are feeling comfortable. However, within a few weeks or possibly months, you will notice your bank account beginning to recede; you find you are no longer the subject of conversation, and your flow has significantly decreased.

This motivates you to start the whole process again and before you know it, you have placed yourself into a pattern of up and down profits, due to the up and down investments from you.

Falling into this rut is something that happens to many entrepreneurs. However, it can be corrected by understanding what is happening and why. Think of a thermostat with the measurements in dollars, rather than degrees. Every entrepreneur has a certain thermostat setting which he or she prefers. Their preferred setting might be €10,000 ($11,233) a month, it could be €20,000 ($22,466), or could be lower at €5,000 ($5,616) but often for years the amount of money that is invested and earned will stay the same. There is no growth.

Instead of building on success, this type of entrepreneur creates small successes repeatedly in short cycles of a month here, a month there. That is okay if you are comfortable there, but there is no steady growth potential present.

On top of the stagnated growth in revenue, there is also a constant drain on financial assets. We will call this drain, the Cash Monster. A little Cash Monster is in every company eating up anything that is available. If not caught in time, the it will eat through everything, and generating new revenue becomes a race against the Cash Monster’s appetite.

The only way to stave off this demon is through experience and patience. As business coach Dan Sullivan said, “don’t become the entrepreneur that tests your experience 25 times per year; instead, be the entrepreneur with 25 years worth of experiences.” In other words, don’t be satisfied with repeated small successes based on plans and projects that come and go. Instead, invest your collective experience into long-term projects with stable investment and return.

The input is your productivity — what you put into business in the form of hours, money, and actions…

Change Your Thermostat

To bring about change, the entrepreneur needs to concentrate on their input, and stop worrying about their output. As properly managed input, will produce the desired output.

The input is your productivity — what you put into business in the form of hours, money, and actions – without regard for the output. This seems counter-intuitive and, to be honest, most business coaches would say this is a ridiculous premise.

It works because you have limited control of the output. Market forces and social trends — the old reliable supply and demand model — have the majority of control over the output. Moreover, if you don’t sell your product or service, you do not earn any money.

To invest fully in the input process, you need to decide what your investment target is going to be. Forget about setting a target of say earning, €10,000 ($11,233) a month – that is an output goal — instead, set an input target of whatever number of cold calls, webinars, and face to face meetings you are going to invest (and as a result, earn €10,000 ($11,233) a month.)

Learning to do this gives you the feeling of greater control and eventually creates better output. This greater output eventually adjusts your thermostat’s comfort setting, which will over time change your standards, and make you more money.

Bar Raisers are Raising the Bar

This is what we do with our Bar Raisers. They might, for example, start off earning around €20,000 a month. This is a comfortable number that allows for a good lifestyle and provides a good life for their families. These entrepreneurs could be doing better though, and we can bring about those changes by simply challenging their thermostat settings and motivating them to greater input control.

We might challenge them to have a €50,000 ($56,165) month because they are all easily able to do €50,000 a month by investing in their input. For some entrepreneurs, it could be as simple as conducting three small webinars in one month at €16,000 ($17,973) each. Increasing participation also helps greatly. Instead of having 300 people on a webinar, have 1,000 people on a webinar. Do this through social media advertising (Facebook, Twitter), and for good measure add one promotion and ask two partners to help get the word out.

Once the entrepreneurs see exactly how easy it is to increase output by concentrating on input, we up the challenge to €70,000 ($78,631) repeating the cycle and increasing the challenge on average, quarterly.

In time, our Bar Raisers begin to notice that it is not about their output, it is not about their thermostat setting, but it is about the input and the fact that if they increase the input, they become more the architect of their business, instead of the construction worker.

“The secret is in adding and changing the input, and that is what we should focus on as entrepreneurs anyway.”

We should focus on our input all the time, and on what we can put into our businesses, instead of how much money we need to make to be comfortable.

While business is ever changing, making the decision to concentrate on all areas of input will increase output and instill a new, higher, standard for your business model. Putting hours into effective actions, means forgetting about the output; this simple change, will ensure that your business will never be the same again.

If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send me a Tweet @EelcoDeBoer. 


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  • 23 April 2015
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