I have made an interesting observation. There are many business professionals in the marketplace that are going along, every day, with the same problems doing the same things over and over and getting the same results. I believe, however, that the expectation that they have is that the results will one day be different. My understanding is that doing the same things over, repeatedly, and expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.
Of course, there is the other extreme: there are other professionals that try to do a number of different things to solve a problem, however, without having particular aim or direction or followthrough, they never put enough energy into one area to make a difference anywhere. It is like preparing a pot of spaghetti, and checking to see if it is done by taking handfuls of pasta out of the pot and throwing at the wall, the goal being that the ones that are done will stick. Sthat seems like there is a lot of energy is being dispensed for what will ultimately be minimal results.
I’ve heard other people say that the business owner should have planned for the incumbent siutaion, no matter what the situation was. First of all, should haves don’t fix anything. Secondly, no one really wants to hear that. So it is said, yes, that would be ideal. However, given the (lack of) success rate of new businesses in the country, it is very likely that isn’t the norm. In fact, I would bet that many entrepreneurs are likened to people wnho would jump off a bridge with a rope tied around their back hoping for the best. It’s the nature of what they do – they look at an opportunity, scan the environment, do some level of research and jump, sometimes without even knowing the target.
Of course, there are those who come to the rescue and say things along the line of having a single solution that works for every business and every business owner. I think we are all pretty certain that there is no fix-all solution for every situation and that you get out of anything what you put into it. It’s like competitive sports- you’ve got to move and shift and observe and aim and shoot. Someone said to me, once, that as soon as you fully understand the situation, the situation changes – a quip that shold appeal to every business owner and professional.
So the question becomes, How DO we get through the struggles of ANY change in the marketplace or environment? How do we remain agile to be able to adapt to upcoming changes? Well, like I’ve said, there is no quick, easy, follow these five-steps-and-you-will-have-guaranteed-overnight-success answer. I suggest that there is direction you will want to take.
1) Find someone to help you evaluate what you are doing – looking at your business from the inside out, then from the outside in. This might be a mentor, a consultant, some clients (using surveys), a panel or a board of some sort. DO NOT USE PEOPLE THAT HAVE SOMETHING TO GAIN OR LOSE BY HELPING YOU OUT.
2) Identify areas that you can strengthen and others that you can shed. Consider the 80/20 rule, suggesting that your organization’s time is best spent doing the things that it does best. If your not an accounting firm, it may be in your best interest to drop about $225 per month for tax, payroll, bill pay and bookkeeping services.
3) Evaluate your products and services versus marketplace needs. If you are a consultant, for example, it might be good to look at business valuations or mergers & acquisitions. Show your client how they cannot be without your product or service (easier said then done!) and determine what types of changes you can make that will make your client feel that you are that much more interested in their personal success or happiness. Yes – this is packaged into your goods and services and transparent through the culture and operations of your business.
4) What is your sales process? How are you generating leads? Are you having your sales team search through websites, industry books, etc., or are you going directly to the Hoovers and infoUSA’s of the world? Tell me, if you could bring 1,000 new leads into your office per week and manage to manage them all, versus bringing in 200 by using your sales team to do your research for you, which is more cost effective? Consider sales automation to keep your sales process moving forward.
5) What is your marketing process? How many new contacts do you intend to make per week? How many hands do you intend to shake? What do you do with those folks once you’ve done this? In your one-on-one with these people, what is your goal? What type of follow-up process do you participate in? How do you know how well you are doing in any particular area and how do you track it?
Business takes work – a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t take the same type of work for everyone and every business. (I was actually chastised by some wonderful marketers the other day for suggesting that there was a grassroots-marketing tool I could put together and use for all of my grassroots small business clients with a little tweaking here and there.) What it takes, in every case, is knowing yourself, knowing your market, matching your products to your market needs and having a systematic way of telling people about it in a clear, concise manner.
So, here is my one-step plan to getting it done.
1) Don’t complain. DO SOMETHING!
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].