We have all been told over and over that, when you are building a business, you need to pick a goal. You need to make it big and clear, and then relentlessly move toward it. I agree. Hell, I preach it! But I preach one added part, which most others seem to miss. This is what it is – sometimes the goal you set sucks!
Sure, your goal may sound sexy. It may even get you revved up, at first. Your friends and family members may even be dumfounded by the pure genius of your idea. But, alas, it is a quiet start.
I know this may come as a surprise, and something you are not used to people saying, but I’m hear to tell you that the quiet start may just be the “calm before the … calm.” Seriously, it may never get past the quiet calm, no matter how great an idea you or your spouse think it is.
After all, our initial idea is rarely perfect. Rarely does all of our planning come true. I mean, if it did, you would be Nostradamus. And even that amazing seer was wrong 90 percent of the time!
Does all this mean you shouldn’t try, or that your business will never make it? Not at all! But it does mean you need to understand that if you want to build a successful business there are some truths you need to know. For starters, things will change. And you will not know what is coming your way. Also, know that you will – without a doubt – have predicted things incorrectly. In short, almost nothing will go as planned.
So if you want to know an honest approach to growing, do this:
• Set a goal. Do what you have always been told and make it big and clear. Open the door for your business and start marching right toward it.
• Evaluate progress. Then, and this is the part nobody tells you, stop your business after 90 days. I don’t mean close it down, but stop the business aspect for a day and honestly evaluate your progress.
• Question everything. During your evaluation, you simply need to ask yourself two questions – 1. What is working? 2. What is not working?
• Don’t assume. Often, what you thought would be bringing in a stream of money for you doesn’t, and what does is not what you expected.
• Identify customers. Whatever type of customer you thought you would have, you may find that you don’t. He is really a she, and the target is not 35 years old, it is 70 years old. The unexpected stuff like this goes on and on.
• Readjust. So, at this 90-day point, you find out what kind of people are really buying, and you start focusing on serving them better and better. The other big thing which so many people fail to do is to recognize the people who are not buying. Don’t try pushing it down their throat. If they aren’t buying, they are telling you something – they don’t want it. So, your job is to stop serving them.
• Repeat. Now here is the deal: every 90 days, for the life of your company, you need to evaluate what is working and what isn’t working. It is not just your customers – you must evaluate your marketing, your technology, your service, your product, etc. So, every quarter, stop and look at things. Then, if it is not working, stop it quickly. Whatever is working, expand it. If nothing is working, simply make changes. The key is not to let a failing idea stay around.
You have a job now, bucko: every 90 days deliberately face the fork in the road. Instead of just going toward a point you set on the map, go for the one that will bear the most fruit. And you will know this because it has already proven itself to you (hint: it’s the stuff that is working). It’s like the old proverb says: “It is not enough to aim – you must hit!”