RECENTLY I HAD THE CHANCE to speak with several people who are struggling with direction in their business.  They’re each working hard to deliver great products and services, but at the end of the day … it’s a lot of work with no forward movement.

Many can relate to this.  And if you’re feeling lost, how do you think those around you feel?

Employees are just turning the crank.

Partners are uninspired and not feelin’ the love.

When you get into this state, there’s two major areas to focus your energy on.

Your goals.  There’s a good chance that your passion, mission and goals are no longer relevant.  Or you’ve wandered away from them.

Your customers.  Without customers, your business has no reason to exist.  And I’m not just talking about the money they give you.  That’s necessary, but not sufficient.  It’s more about the degree to which you actually serve those people.

A good example was someone in professional services who is trying to serve all customers.  Fortunately, he’s learned when it’s wise to decline pro-bono work.  But he also has such a broad definition of “customer” that he has no strength in his marketing.

People don’t know why he’s any different from the competition.

People are confused about whether his services apply to their particular situation.

What’s fascinating is that he actually does have deep and unique expertise.  He just struggles to pick particular customers and situations that he wants to prioritize as top priority.  So his marketing ends up just listing anything he could possibly do.

It’s factually correct, but it’s not compelling to anybody in particular.

This fuzziness around his customers is strongly connected with being unclear about his business and personal goals.  Yes, he needs to make enough money for the business to survive and grow.  But I’m not yet hearing the deep passion for why he created his business in the first place.

It’s there, but still hidden underneath layers of worries.

But we’ll work on that.  And he’ll find the spark again.