How We've Thrived in Five
Updated: Feb 22
It’s hard to believe H2O Strategies is five years old! Full disclosure, we’ve learned a lot more than five lessons in five years since launching. But for the sake of conciseness, here are the five most important lessons we’ve learned along the way.
I’ve been working with CEOs, non-profit leaders, and members of Congress for over two decades now. But even with a communication plan in place, I’m always learning how to better deliver clarity, structure, and guidance. After all, there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to help cause-driven leaders and we don’t hand out magic wands!
Telling an organization’s story requires a unique approach. Organizations want to drive change and inspire action. That’s what brings their vision to life. We’ve learned to adjust our strategy not only for the amazing leaders we work with but for ourselves as well. Here are our main takeaways:
1. Time is Your Most Valuable Asset
One of the first personal development pioneers, Jim Rohn once said, “Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.” Of course, we all need the proper amount of sleep, downtime, and time with family and friends to live a healthy life. But it’s in those moments of procrastination and indecision that we could be bettering our careers and helping others.
We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet each person uses their time so differently. Think of time as our biggest currency that we’re exchanging, except that the time we get every day doesn’t accumulate like money in a bank account. Instead, whatever you don’t use, you lose after each day. So the question is, would you rather binge Netflix instead of spending time with friends or building your business?
When we look at time in terms of an investment, it becomes easier to prioritize our time. With 86,400 seconds in a day, I want to get the maximum return by concentrating on activities that I’m passionate about.
2. Aim for Brand and Client Synergy
Over the years, we’ve learned to be intentional about the clients we want to serve. While everyone might need help, not everyone is the perfect fit to work with our company. Being selective allows you to learn which type of clients can really benefit from working with you. By pursuing something that may not be the right fit, you’re wasting your time and the clients, which is a situation you want to avoid.
For most people, there comes the point when doing business with good clients becomes their top priority. If an organization and its leader seems like a perfect fit and falls in line with what we do well, that’s more important than landing a bigger fish. Having a healthy working relationship usually translates to delivering the best results. Even more, it’s easy to maintain relationships with clients that are a good fit.
3. Create a Village
These are the resources, builders, and people that believe in you and your vision. Without them, you’re on an island in a bubble where it’s impossible to learn, grow, and achieve. In our deepest, darkest moments, these are the people that also encourage us to push through the difficulties.
Your road to success will always rely on the people you meet along the way. Roads often need to be constructed, repaired, and maintained. The type of people you build your village with will help your road/business become stronger. So surround yourself with people who have different perspectives, stories, and skill sets to ensure your village is made up of people that collectively offer you the optimal perspective.
The people in your village aren’t just the people you hire or work with. They can be anyone in your life that helps you make better decisions and encourages you to keep pushing yourself. You may have lawyers that make legal less scary, someone who is good with numbers to understand your finances, or someone who has been in business longer who can share pitfalls. Your success will depend on the village you create for yourself.
4. Plan for Feast and Famine
Businesses often find themselves in a feast or famine recurring plateau, meaning they either have too little or too much work. In this cycle, it can often feel like history is constantly repeating itself. You’re slammed with lots of work from several clients for months on end, and then you have nothing and you’re starting all over.
By planning for feast and famine, you can almost avoid it completely. It’s a delicate balance, but figuring out how to manage current work while searching for new business is an important skill to learn. If you can’t plan for the famine, you can never generate momentum and trust your cash flow.
By concentrating on business development while focusing on our current clients, we’re able to level off outgoing and incoming work. This eliminates the stress of having to deal with famine, and in turn, allows us to make wiser decisions to grow our business.
5. Embrace Non-Stop Growth
That brings me to my next and final lesson, embracing non-stop growth. The goal of any business is to constantly be growing (at least for most). As a consequence, you might never feel like your business has arrived, and there is always something you didn’t plan for or expect . But if you have a strong foundation of partners, intellectual capital, and demand for your product/service, sustainable growth is possible.
To embrace non-stop growth, you need a sound plan. When you plan, you can take calculated risks. Sometimes, that means playing the long game even when everyone else is moving on impulse. Only then can growth become a part of your business’s DNA.
I can't wait to see what the next five years has in store!