Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of consistency for growing a business, especially when it comes to thought leadership. But, when consistency isn't paired with continuous improvement, you're often left with a stagnant business.
Continuous improvement is also known as Kaizen - a Japanese concept that is one of the four pillars of the Lean Out Method. In this episode, Crista Grasso explains why consistency on its own is the same as Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. She argues that for businesses to stay relevant and achieve longevity, they need to be both consistent and driven towards constant improvement.
Listen in to learn how the seemingly contrary concepts of consistency and Kaizen work together beautifully to create a time-tested formula for sustainable success.
In this episode, I share:
- The concept of Kaizen
- How to combine consistency and Kaizen
- Where consistency is most important in your business
- How to be consistent with your team
- Recipe for success when it comes to growing your business in a sustainable way
- How to incorporate Kaizen when it comes to your offers
- Crista’s experience building traction in her business using consistency + Kaizen
- How to shift from urgency to patience
- The root causes to struggling with consistency
- How to successfully navigate your struggles with consistency
- How I can help you combine consistency and Kaizen for business growth
Tune into Episode 10 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast or keep reading below.
Consistency Isn't Enough – You Also Need Kaizen
We often hear that consistency is key to business growth, and while I completely agree, I believe consistency alone is simply not enough. What often gets overlooked is the importance of combining Kaizen – a Lean concept that means changing for the better or continuous improvement – with consistency. Kaizen is one of the four pillars of the Lean Out Method and is a concept that separates the good entrepreneurs from the great entrepreneurs when put to use.
Einstein’s definition of insanity
Consistency on its own is the same as Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Leveraging the practice of Kaizen to continuously reflect and improve is the most effective way to grow and stay relevant. Consider this – everything you do in your business will eventually stop growing without continuous improvement. Think: Market shift, customer demands, or even social media algorithms. It’s important to always be on the lookout for Kaizen opportunities so that the things you’re doing in your business don’t lose their effectiveness.
Where consistency is most important in your business
Customer facing activities:
First, it’s important to understand where in your business consistency is most important. It’s important to incorporate consistency both in your customer-facing activities, as well as in your behind-the-scenes or more back-office activities. When it comes to customer-facing activities, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing up in front of your customer’s consistently – whether that’s through social media, sending newsletters on a regular cadence, publishing a podcast or delivering on your programs and offers. Showing up consistently for your audience builds the trust and rapport that your business needs to thrive.
Branding and messaging:
Consistency in your branding and messaging positions you as a thought leader, or also known as the informed leader and trusted expert in your field of expertise. When you are consistently sharing your brand’s unique point of view, you naturally become a magnet for your audience and will eventually be seen as the trusted source of information in your field. This also applies to your brand identity – the look, feel and tone of your messaging and brand. Once consistency is established in your customer’s experience, you’ll be able to quickly analyze and measure what’s working vs not working so that you can apply Kaizen, or continuously reflect and improve.
Behind the scenes:
It’s just as important to be consistent behind the scenes as it is to be consistent in front of customers. If you have a team, it’s critical to make sure your team communications and expectations are consistent. For example, having a regular cadence for team planning meetings can not only help keep things organized behind the scenes, but can also create an eco-system where communication and expectations are always clear, therefore making success much more achievable.
Systems and processes:
Scaling your business can’t happen without systems and processes. I’m a huge believer in having systems and processes in place because not only does it give you the ability to measure what’s working vs not working, but it also gives you time back in your day. If you're doing things consistently, you can look and find out what’s currently ineffective in the way you operate your business and how to improve going forward.
In my opinion, the very best and simplest recipe for success is sometimes not the sexiest one, but it’s the one that gives you longevity, sustainable success, and works in your business. When it comes to consistency in your offers, I believe having a few core offers that you consistently market, sell and deliver is the way to build a strong customer foundation and thought leadership. Applying Kaizen, or continuously improving your offers, helps you stay relevant so that your current clients and potential clients remain interested and engaged in your brand. This might look like positioning your offers differently or even improving the actual program, course or offer itself to provide more value for your clients as their needs shift, grow and evolve over time.
When it comes to offers, I unfortunately see many business owners get sucked into the temptation of jumping from one thing to the next hoping to receive quick injections of cash. Instead of carving out space in the market to be a thought leader, they’re usually left with a false sense of stability. Consistency in your offers is especially important for removing the unpredictable nature of business and creating a clear path forward for scaling successfully.
I learned this the hard way
In addition to my coaching and consulting business, I run a jewelry business called Criscara, which I’ve had for several years now. Before Criscara, I had another jewelry business since the early 2000s. I used to do what a lot of fashion-oriented businesses do – I’d release new products and quickly jump to designing and releasing a brand-new jewelry collection.
Over time, I realized that my older pieces were getting a lot more traction. People would reach out to me to ask if I still had my older pieces in stock, and it was clear to me that the SEO I had been working on for years was finally working. We had a lot of content on our blog and it took time for that area of my business to gain traction.
Eventually, I completely shifted my business model. Instead of creating many pieces that I turn over quickly, I focused on creating products for the long haul – products that would be around for a while. For example, during 2020 amidst COVID, I noticed that foot chains ended up being ‘the thing’ to buy. I ended up selling at least one foot chain almost every single day in 2020. I’ve been selling foot chains since the early 2000s, whereas many other companies have sold foot chains intermittently. Interestingly enough, most of the businesses that would have been considered my competitors over the past several years no longer make foot chains. It’s important to me to have longevity with my pieces to build customer loyalty and brand consistency.
Typically, it takes time for things to get traction so you can build up the success you desire. Ask yourself, what’s the result you’re trying to get? Are the things you’re doing right now consistently actually getting you the outcome you desire? Do you see where you may lose the outcome or result if you don’t make changes? Once you consider these questions, apply Kaizen to figure out what changes you can make to keep things relevant, working effectively and continuously improving for better results.
Success comes with consistency and the drive to seize opportunities to make things better. Click to tweet
Struggling with consistency? There are two root causes.
- You are simply not passionate about what you’re doing so you have no real incentive to be consistent.
- You are doing too much or have way too much on your plate. It’s no surprise that being consistent is a challenge when you feel like you can barely keep your head above water.
Let’s say you are in the second scenario where you have way too much on your plate. This is where leaning out your business is critical for clarity around what actions will make a difference in your business. What things that are going to bring you closer to the vision and goals that you have in your business, both in the long-term and short-term? You’ll want to eliminate everything else from your to-do list, whether that means eliminating them entirely or putting them on hold in the short-term so you can stay laser-focused on the things that are most important and build consistency around those.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing – this is a good opportunity to apply Kaizen. Consider the question, is this something you should be doing at all? If not, put it on hold or cut it completely. If you do believe you should be doing those specific tasks, then you’ll want to look for Kaizen opportunities – how can you make it better? How can you improve or change it for the better so you can get better results and enjoyment from it? It’s also possible for you to delegate those tasks to someone else who can get the same results.
Want help leaning out your business?
If you’re ready to Lean out your business, head over to LeanOutMethod.com/simplify, and join me for a free multi-day Masterclass that I have coming where I’ll be sharing ways you can simplify your business and set yourself up to scale sustainably over time. You can register here: LeanOutMethod.com/simplify.
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast.