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The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

It doesn't matter if you run a marketing business a law firm or a fence company, it's important to focus on the care and feeding of your business everyday.

There is an old saying that the cobbler's children have no shoes. It's easy to prioritize external demands at the cost of the needs closest to you. And what needs are closer to your business than those internal to your business?

We're not high on TED talks but this one resonated. When you run a business, you have to stop and take a quick, reasoned, and deliberate look at what works and what doesn't in your business. Ryan Rumsey's reflection on his personal journey could be applied to any organization but we like it for companies. Why? Companies are groups of people organized to make decisions. Making the decision to focus on the website narrative around your company's core offerings by generating search optimized content is one of the best business decisions you can make. (link to the full video at the bottom of the post).

He recommends a five step process for quick, reasoned, and deliberate reflection.

  1. Determine a focus statement

  2. Answer four questions

  3. Organize answers into natural groups

  4. Develop a ranking system

  5. Rank your answers

1. Determine a focus statement

This can be any reflection you have on the state of your business. An example would be, "My company is not growing the way I want it to"

2. Answer four questions (limit yourself to 10 minutes)

  • "What are the problems are we currently having?"

  • "Are there any missed opportunities right now?"

  • "What is going right with our business?

  • "What is just 'plain important' to get right?"

3. Organize your answers into natural groups

The exercise transforms for your focus statement into words on paper that you can see, use, crumple up, throw away, whatever you need to do with them to affect your situation. Group the words you see in your answers and give names to the groups.

4. Develop a ranking system

Rumsey recommends two ranking criteria. (1) Desire to have, meaning, "Do I want this to happen and how much?" (2) Attempts to resolve, meaning, "What have I done to fix or change this situation?" If the answers to question (2) is, "not much," then the issue probably doesn't matter that much.

5. Rank your answers

The way your rank your answers is different for everyone. Take your groups of answers and give them each a rank ordered number. Because he recommends thisexercise for personal reflection, he weights desire heavier than attempts to change a situation -- (2 x Desire) + Attempts = Ideal Outcome. You could just as easily change this equation for your business to see how much what you have attempted has affected your outcomes, (2 x Attempts) + Desire = Ideal Outcome.

Business, at its essence, is about identifying core purpose, solving problems, and great outcomes.

If you have spent hours developing content to improve your organic search rankings and you're not seeing the results you expect, it's worth stopping to consider how valuable your business's website content is for your prospective customers (and current customers).

Full video is here:

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