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What Do You Do When The Well Runs Dry?

I recently read that a well’s lifespan is considered to be roughly 20 to 30 years. A water well, not a wishing well, that is! It’s a fact of life that wells can just dry up. Over time, and because of sediment or mineral scale build-up, the yield of the well may decline.

For me, a good business is like a well. It’s a resource that has impact and transforms the environment in which it is found. If the people who work in and for the business are all focussed on the impact that business can have, then the possibilities are truly infinite.

On that note, we currently have some amazing clients who are working hard to impact and transform their environment. We work with financial advisors who want to help their clients use their finances to fulfil their dream; property developers who want to help others find financial freedom through property; a green supermarket who care about their products just as much as the environment itself; a tech recruitment firm focussed on placing people in the right job long term, for everyone’s benefit; a training company who want to teach people to make  brave decisions and a networking company who want to create communities for global opportunities.

For us, our best clients, for whom we do our best work, want to make an impact as well as an income. If a company no longer wants to make a positive impact, and prioritises income over impact it won’t be long before that well dries up.

It reminds me of something that happened to me recently. During lockdown, our WH Smith’s remained open because they sell paracetamol, newspapers, drinks and stamps – essential items! I have to say that this was a smart business move on the part of WH Smiths as these items can’t make up too large a percentage of their total sales. Anyway, WH Smiths became a haven on our weekly shopping trip/Saturday walk and I would pop in and buy a great new business book each time. It was a resource that made a welcome impact on me and my family, all my kids were excited about the books they bought there. Our environment was transformed while it lasted. Then, having discovered all the decent business books, (I think we bought them all, since lockdown) and the kids’ comics stand wasn’t replenished regularly enough to meet their expectations… the well had served its purpose…

So if the people you work for, the company you lead or the business you’ve created loses sight of purpose you are in danger of seeing your well dry up. The impact you wanted to make has transferred its focus from cause to cash. Money pays the bills and keeps the lights on, but if you want your company to stand for more than that, you have to see it as a well. The wealth of insight and knowledge your company offers provides the value people need to become winners.

Continually focusing on how you can serve your clients, rather than always selling to them can turn a transactional relationship into a transformational one. 

I am proud to say that we have reawakened purpose at the heart of many businesses. It usually starts when the leader, owner or entrepreneur discovers that they have been making decisions based on circumstance and not the conviction they had in the first place.

Staying true to your mission helps you stay on track. In the midst of the storm you may have had to adjust your sails, but stay true to why you left the shore. There have been times when our brand marketing agency, Cre8ion has had to take a radical change of direction in the midst of storms, and start a new course of action simply because the road we were going down was not serving the mission any longer.  Others tried to redefine it, but the truth is that what you compromise on in mission, you lose. Our mission (purpose) is just that, using the media to create community impact, globally. When that was threatened, things had to change.

Timing can be difficult and that’s why its always good to have the right people in your corner when making purpose driven decisions. Sometimes it’s hard to follow through, but knowing you’re making a decision that will ensure you are a deep well for others helps. If you are making choices that extend your influence and impact then you know you are making the right choice. It’s hard having invested so much time in a particular course of action but don’t let that be your reason for sticking at something that will ultimately cause your well to dry up. 

If you can’t answer the why? Maybe it’s time to let it die. Those tasks that take you away from what matters will frustrate the level of impact you should be making. You can only get so far by walking, or even riding a bike, but there comes a time where the vehicle you need to get to your destination isn’t for the journey. You need to pull over and swap vehicles. That vehicle is the method that helps you get to the destination more quickly, smarter and ultimately leaving more impact.

A well is a resource that has impact and transforms the environment in which it is found. In our journey as a business we have always sought out wisdom within the creative sector and learnt  approaches from other sectors. Reading about successful businesses, cutting edge thought leaders and delving into the history books gives us insights and a flood of ideas to create lasting impact.

So, whether you need to top up an existing well, or you’re digging a new well to impact your environment, you will need to do the necessary research. Actual well diggers have to study the topography of the area to find the best place and understand the soils and rocks beneath their location as well as having to consider the quality of the water they expect to find.

Our sister company, Di9ital, was birthed out of the need to dig a new well. Seeing as business solutions were becoming increasingly tech driven (even more so with lockdown), we needed to provide tech driven solutions for our clients to accompany our brand offering.

We gave some things up and made room for the right things. Starting Di9ital allowed us to step things up a bit and not be distracted in our focus as a brand agency. We found that having a new well is refreshing, as it fuels you and gives momentum.

Don’t religiously do something out of habit or fear, do it because it makes sense to. Don’t compromise on what your heart has set out to do, even when there are a thousand experts telling you otherwise. Rather, listen to a trusted few that know your heart.

The simple way to keep your well full is to always be able to answer the question, ‘What’s next?’ and knowing what the next step is towards the bigger picture/purpose/mission helps you to flourish. So, if you need help to communicate your next step with your audience why not get in touch?

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