The Story Economy Blog

Plant Your Business in a Much Bigger Pot

This little Leather Leaf has been in its original pot all summer, and it probably wouldn’t kill it to stay here for another summer. It just wouldn’t grow. If I want it to thrive, I have to replant it in a container that represents the size I want it to be, not the size it is now. As I was getting ready to dump potting soil into the new pot, it occurred to me that I’ve been doing this with my business, too.

(By the way, this plant was actually a gift from a client. Let this be a lesson for anyone who is friends with a writer: you give a writer an inch, we’ll take a metaphor.)

Many of us are already really good at planning for (read: dreaming of) the future. But what we forget is that the future starts now. That means running your business as if it’s already the business you want for the future. It’s the same principle as dressing for the job you want. It’s the power of mindset, of acting the part, of stepping into the identity you want. Because when you do it convincingly, people recognize you as such. And before you know it, your roots are firmly planted in that giant pot, and you’ve grown into the thing you wanted to create all along. If you think this sounds a little bit like fake it ‚Äòtil you make it, you’re right. (Except you’re not really faking it.)

 Small Pot Syndrome

As a copywriter, I review a lot of companies’ web sites. And I see small pot syndrome all of the time. It’s not that their wording is poor. It’s just that their story is about the past. They’re very focused on what they’ve done, on problems they’ve solved, and on results they’ve delivered. I don’t mean case studies or client testimonials, because — when used correctly — those things are great tools. I’m talking about old language. I’m talking about copy that just rehashes and recaps instead of moving forward. I’m talking about language that belongs in a small pot. It will be okay there. It just won’t do anything.

But you can break out of the small pot. Focus your web site and marketing materials on what your business is becoming, on the brightness of the future, and on the problems you will solve. As forthe past: use it wisely, as the powerful reference it is — not as the thing to build your brand around.

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