Do You Suffer From SOS?

Posted by markdevincentis on June 2, 2018

There isn’t a week that goes by, that I do not talk to a business owner who suffers from what is commonly known as the “Shiny Object Syndrome” (Or SOS for short).

Now before I get a slew of messages telling me that there is no known syndrome with this name recognized by psychiatrists, I am sure that is true. However, this is a real condition that does affect business people to the point where it hurts their business.

In an effort to show some transparency here, I too have suffered from SOS. As I look around my office at the various programs I have bought, or email newsletters I have subscribed to, I have my own personal “oh bleep” moment for wasting time and mostly money.

SOS in some cases is such a detriment to a business, that it can be the single reason a business just survives (Or not) vs THRIVES in their marketplace.

Here is an example of an owner I spoke to a few weeks ago that perfectly exemplifies what I am writing about…

Her business was struggling, and she was having a hard time making traction. She had been in business for a few years but was frustrated with her lack of growing revenues and profits. She could not understand why her marketing was not driving huge sales into her business.

In our conversation she told me she had purchased 4 different marketing “Systems” from 4 different marketing “Gurus” (She asked me if I was a marketing “guru”, I informed her I wasn’t and who calls themselves a “guru” anyways?)

Now these systems cost her around $20,000 and they were all purchased over a 2-year period approximately. But they weren’t working for her and she felt she got “ripped off”.

I did not ask what programs she purchased or even what she did not like about them. It was irrelevant to her situation. The issue was not that she had purchased the wrong programs, the primary issue was simply a lack of focus, patience and clarity. And that is an internal issue, not an external issue.

We all get distracted. It is easy to listen to the noise, especially if we are working from a place of “scarcity”. All business people who want to excel are open to new ideas and thoughts.

So how do you know you have SOS?

1. Sometimes it is as easy to see as looking around your office or going into your email box and looking at all the emails + newsletters from “experts” you don’t even have time to open (and forget why you even signed up for them). Yes, I speak from personal experience here.
2. Are you finishing your projects you start? (Again, personal experience)
3. Do you start multiple projects that compete for the same result?
4. Is your “to do” list manageable? (Yup, I own this one too)
5. Do you have a plan for your business regarding marketing, sales and growth? I am talking long term (1 year plus) vs what you want for the next 7 days.

How to control SOS? Here are suggestions I give my clients:

1. Be patient. Have an idea, thought or service you want to try? I suggest waiting a bit. Being impulsive can hurt your business and if you have a staff, it can confuse the heck out of them.
2. Control the number of projects you start and delegate when you can.
3. Before starting a project, buying a service or investing in a new product, ask yourself how this will move your business forward?
4. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your business. Forgive yourself when you go off track…but then get back on track.
5. Plan. Short term / long term. Project based. Just plan. And when you are done planning, give it a chance to work (minimum 90 days for a marketing strategy).
6. Be consistent in your activities and make your activities supportive of your plan.
7. Find a mentor, coach or consultant you can trust. As business people we can get lost in our own business and not see solutions to what ails the business, because we are too busy working the business.

While I coach people, I also have mentors and those that coach me. It helps me better at everything I do, which helps me be a better coach to my clients.

When I sit down with business owners, the majority suffer from some sort of a degree of SOS. We are human and we all can get distracted. But if you want your business to THRIVE, then just being self – aware when it comes to the signs of SOS, will help move your business forward.

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Thanks for reading.


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