One of my favorite authors is the late Dr. Robert Schuller, the pastor who envisioned the Crystal Cathedral in California. A formula for problem-solving I learned from Dr. Schuller is something he called “possibility thinking.” I’ve used it many times to solve business and personal dilemmas. Now, I want to teach it to you.
When trying to help people define how they can get out of their mess or achieve a goal or to accomplish something Dr. Schuller suggested creating a list of ten ideas or possibilities to break it down into possibilities and get your mind engaged seeking the solution.
An example of this would be if you decided tomorrow that you need $100,000 more in sales to get your business to the level it needs to be you could use this process to “break the problem down” into possible options.
I'm just using $10,000 as an example. It could be $500, $10,000 or it could be $1 million. It’s a just formula, so use your own numbers.
If you needed $100,000 here’s how you could make this list of ten:
1. I could get all $100,000 from one source.
2. I could get $50,000 each from two sources.
3. I could get $25,000 each from four sources.
4. I could get $20,000 from five sources.
5. I could get $10,000 from 10 sources.
6. I could get $5,000 from 20 sources.
7. I could get $2,500 from 40 sources.
8. I could get $2,000 from 50 sources.
9. I could get $1,000 from 100 sources.
10. I could get $500 from 200 sources.
You simply keep breaking that down and playing with the numbers. This is not just a mind game. What happens is suddenly you start to discover that there's a way out of your situation. There’s a solution. There's a way to fix this problem or to reach this goal.
I was mentoring the CEO of an information and training business. He shared with me the sales target he wanted to hit next. I discovered in talking to him that he had a little over 3,000 existing buyers, people who had already purchased products and programs from his company. In other words, this was not simply an email opt-in list, a list he had bought, a mailing list or anything like that. It was people who had actually bought from him
So, I laid out a plan for the company to grow by utilizing that list. Once I had worked through a list of 10 possibilities, the solution seemed clear.
We projected that perhaps only 20% of his list are good buyers who might be leveraged for additional revenue. That would be 600 buyers. He agreed. So what if we took those 600 people and focused on them with a systematic, consistent, and strategic campaign over a 12-month period? And what if we just sold each of those 600 people $500 of new materials, coaching, training, etc. -- which is very doable in his particular industry. If we just sold them $500 that would be $300,000.
In his business, cost of goods are very low making his margins very good. That also means that since he already had his base cost of operations covered, almost all of this new income dropped straight to the bottom line. Doing this would literally triple his net income for the year. It gave him a very specific path of growth to pursue because took time to think of the list of “possibilities”, and that opened our minds up to solutions.
It really comes back to asking the right questions. What would it take? Do I need to make a list of ten? I need $100,000 or $1 million or $5 million or whatever it is. Let's break that down. How many customers or clients would it take buying from me? How many times would they have to buy? How much would they have to buy?
As we finish up, ask yourself: “What all would it take to get me to the level that I need to be at and get me out of challenges I'm in right now?” Those are very revealing questions and I hope you'll spend some time and energy going through them.