By Kirsten Macdonald – wordsmith and digital yoda at GSM.
Intuition- how relevant is it to the business world? A crystal ball would be handy sometimes!
Many years ago, my business partner and I met a lovely entrepreneur who sought our services. She was engaging, passionate about her new venture and used the words integrity and honesty a lot. The first time we spoke on the telephone, she told us had been to another company ( a well known and regarded one.) According to her, they were too expensive, and when we offered to meet at a local cafe for an informal introduction, she insisted on meeting at a free business center 20 minutes away because they had “free coffee.” Something very small inside me thought this was a little left of center. But I then discarded it. I did an internal trade-off because we can’t judge someone on two little sentences, can we? What if are wrong?
Six months in, and boy did I wish we had both trusted that internal squirm.
Was she lovely? Absolutely. Did the business have potential? Without a doubt! But underneath her surface, there was a storm of issues that held the exports operation back from being successful. One was a lack of reasonable capital, a whole lot of unreasonable expectation and a whole lot of “free.” Everyone else was wrong, all of the successful PR companies, the SEO specialists, even the accountant. In retrospect, someone driving 20 minutes for a free coffee- using $10 worth of fuel, $10 in parking and 40 minutes of time, might tell you something.
What did it cost us?
The uncomfortable yet gentle act of business uncoupling and a LOT of energy, stress and time- which equals money. It was a good lesson albeit a hard one.
So what did we learn?
It is all about being still, paying attention to the feelings that arise and then reading the feedback. Intuition is spending time with your instincts and learning to read them and rely on them. I learned to trust my intuition.
So how else can we be intuitive?
We can utilize the array of digital tools at our fingertips. Social Media for example. People think they have to be on social media to create pretty pictures and get likes, which might convert into sales when they get it right. But how do they get it right? Some people have convinced themselves it doesn’t work and is all a big ploy by social media magnates to make money. Ouch!
What do we know?
We know 80% of the country is using the computer to find out information and we know that close to that amount are using social media and it’s growing. So how does this help your intuition and decision making?
Let’s dig down another layer. Behind the front of social media and computer use, there is analytics. Digital platforms are observing and collecting habits, responses, and reactions from every user. So here is a prime opportunity to be intuitive with our clients, our audiences. We can observe their interaction with us, their likes and dislikes so we can better deliver content to them that makes us
Remember if something is remarkable it is because someone thought it was worthy of making a remark (able.) about it.
Data mining (ethically of course) is another way you can be intuitive with the help of digital tools. Data mining is the ability to extract insightful information about internet users. I am not talking about names and addresses or personal details based on identity, I am talking about their user habits, interests and the words they use to search for information online.
Google is the genie of answers to questions.
“I’ll google it” is often the catch cry. In fact, reports show that people google flu symptoms before they go to a doctor. This information alone has helped medical industries pre-empt flu season and track the influenza progression. I know right? Google analyses everything that is searched online by humanity. That information is available, and it can be used intuitively to future plan, test and succeed.
So how can we use this in the digital space?
Remember other people are intuitive too, are you real? Are you conveying passion and integrity? Trust your gut and infuse that into your digital content. What do you want people to know about what you do? Why did you start this business? How can you solve a problem for people? What are they searching for online around what you have to offer? What are the correlated words? Where are they located? Are you selling meditation classes to stressed-out people? Go to the corporates! Where do they live? What are they reading? You see where I am going?
Get right down into your emotional honesty about why you do what you do, then convey that in content that is of outstanding quality. If you get the smallest feeling and it triggers that squirm- pay attention to it. Spend a little time turning it over in your hand before agreeing to anything, or doing anything. When in doubt- hang about and sit with it.
It could be fear or it could be intuition, either one is worthy of your time and consideration.
If it is fear… well, that’s a whole other article! Stay tuned.
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