Momentum and compounding: two of my favourite words in business. They sum up a whole lot of what business is all about, which is not stopping until you are satisfied – which is, most likely, never!
The boulder analogy
This is my analogy: you’re pushing a very large and heavy boulder up a very steep mountain side, and after a while, you’ve found your momentum. Things happen physically and mentally as you edge closer to the top of that mountain. There’s the knowledge that going down the other side should be much easier.
However, in reality, it’s not really – it simply comes with new challenges to ensure you don’t lose control and that boulder doesn’t get too far away from you.
But what happens if you stop on the way up? What happens if you give up? What happens if gravity does its thing, that boulder starts to roll back down the hill and all that blood, sweat and tears are wasted?
I believe exactly the same thing happens in business. Once you start pushing that boulder up the hill, you’ve got to keep going – because if you stop for any amount of time, that boulder’s going to start rolling back down the hill and you’re going to have to start all over again.
I love this metaphor – it’s a true representation of what it’s like building a business (or pushing a massive boulder up a mountain).
Now, I believe that momentum can develop with clients, other associates that you know and networking. You need to be having several conversations with people before they end up in what I call the ‘friendzone’. This is where they’re more likely to want to work with you and be an advocate for your business and what you do. This doesn’t happen overnight and certainly not at scale, but with momentum and the compounding effect, time and effort can become your best friends.
Let me use the boulder analogy again: you meet someone for the first time. You find them interesting and there’s some synergy between you both. Now, you can walk away from that conversation and forget about it – and you can do that for all the people you meet and circumstances you find yourself in. But that is far from momentum. Nothing’s going to move for the business now!
The first contact is the most important
However, that first contact is the single most important point of contact, whether it’s a website sales enquiry or meeting someone with mutual interest at a networking event. Now what you have to do is create momentum after that contact.
You need to be in conversation with that person continuously and regularly. Of course, there can be gaps of a few months or even a few years between the conversations – but the point is, you can’t just interact, disappear and not do anything ever again. The momentum has to start building from there.
Trust, respect and credibility
After a while, you end up in the ‘friendzone’ and they become – well, a ‘friend’, technically! You can be friends in business, and there’s nothing wrong with that – we’re human, we interact and we get to know people. Obviously, there are also people you won’t like and still interact with in business. What I mean by the ‘friendzone’ is that you’re at that place where there’s trust, respect and credibility.
What’s more, there’s momentum. You’ve built that relationship – it might have taken you months, but that relationship is there and whatever it’s like, something is going to evolve from it. Ten years down the line, they’re going to introduce you to a client that’s going to change your world. Alternatively, they might add something to your business that means you can offer a better service.
Whatever it is, momentum is so important – and that’s just one example out of thousands, if not millions, within a business. It’s that first point of contact, then it’s about keeping that momentum going. Eventually, you’ll build a team – and after that, the team is responsible for keeping the momentum going.
Regrets and lost opportunities
Very early on, I would have meetings with people that could have been massively influential for me and my business, and I just did nothing with them. I’d have a conversation with them and knew they’d be able to play a part in the growth of my business… but then I just wouldn’t do anything about it! I made no effort to make further contact and build momentum, and I regret it. I’m sure I’ve left a lot of doors closed that could have been potential opportunities for the business.
They need to discover what’s in it for them
However, I’ve also got contacts who have taken years to become paying customers. It took many conversations and moments in time for them. What’s more, during that time they were seeing other parts of my business that were gathering momentum and becoming more of an interest to them. They had to see my business develop before they finally saw the value that we could bring them.
Momentum happens all across the business, from systems and processes through to cashflow, sales and marketing. Absolutely every aspect of running a business is built on momentum. It’s also important to remember that momentum works both ways, whether it’s positive or negative. Some bad PR against your brand can skyrocket, and once that momentum builds it’s really difficult to slow that down – let alone stop it.
Thank you for reading this chapter of the Diary of an Entrepreneur. I must stress, I’m not trying to teach you anything. I’m just sharing my journey, and if it motivates you, then great – job done!
If you want to hear more about my entrepreneurial journey, check out the Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast on all available platforms – I talk all things business in terms of my OWN journey and experience. It’s not one to miss!