Read this before giving up on your Strategy.
We all have been through moments of uncertainty, or moments when we doubt our decisions as business managers. But here’s what I would do when facing those feelings.
Whenever feelings of doubt of insecurity blossom in your mind when thinking about the strategy of your business, I’d take a moment to breathe. Those feelings are quite normal, and you might be right about them. Your gut might be pressing an inside alarm button. But it’s also very much likely that your mind could be playing tricks on you, based on anxiety.
The decision to decrease the risk of sticking to something unfruitful, urging you to change course of action as soon as possible, it’s something provided by our dear reptilian brain, who’s bringing fear into the equation. Don’t blame him, he’s just looking after your survival by making those old instincts pump. It’s important to listen to them. But don’t forget to also ask yourself this:
But what if I’m giving it all up too soon?
There’s always a price to be a risk taker, to bring bold ideas to the game. As we know, some of them might work, some of them won’t. In all cases of success though, the ideas that actually worked have one single thing in common: Resilience.
Whoever thought about that strategy, waited long enough to see it flourish.
How did they know that waiting would pay off? — that’s the inevitable question. The answer to that lies on a few factors, that if you work around them correctly, it will also give you a safety ground to make decisions on when to push, or when to quit.
FIRST OF ALL, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS ANYWAY?
I always like to touch the Purpose topic. You have to know that in order to succeed. Your business needs a Purpose that goes beyond your product or service. The notion that you’re feeling people’s specific needs with unique talents of your business (your Brand), it’s what will guide your strategy decisions.
Every strategy begins with something to believe in. You won’t convince nobody else to follow you, and to believe in your Brand, if you don’t believe your offer is meaningful to a group of people. So, the first thing to check on your list before quitting, is to know if your Brand, aka, your business, has something relevant and meaningful to offer.
SECOND, MAKE SURE YOUR MESSAGE IS CLEAR AND FLOWING WELL.
Alright, so you have a Purpose. Maybe you don’t know how to verbalize it, but there is a distinguished feeling inside you, pushing you forward, making sure you wake up everyday, injecting you the right energy.
Your gut might be doubting a few things, but not this. Now it’s time to get some perspective from others. I’ll give an example: Let’s say a book store is giving coffee for free to everyone who buys a book with them. It’s a strategy to sell more books and bring people to the store. In order to communicate this event, the store posts on social media a picture of a book and a coffee, that says “Buy one, get one.”
After managing for so long, it’s easy to go into automatic pilot, thus missing a few details. It’s called Brand Myopia. To you, it all might seem very clear. To the audience, however, it’s a bit blurry… Taking the book store example again, customers might be thinking: Do I get any book for free if I get a coffee? That’s not possible, it’s a trick. — And just like that, your strategy can be tossed, because not many people came to the store. Not because your strategy is no good, but because you didn’t make it super clear to your targets.
The lesson is to do something practical, and ask people you trust if what your Brand is saying is well understood. Not only in your communications, but in every touch point with potential clients.
THIRD, HOW ARE YOUR COMPETITORS DOING?
Is everyone struggling, no matter the strategy? That’s a clear sign your strategy might not be the thing who’s wrong here. This is good in one hand, because your strategy depends if you can keep on pushing - even if it’s with less intensity and financial means. Times of crises are cruel to everyone. Having a Purpose helps you keep optimist, and focus on the things to help you surpass the period, hopefully. It’s a matter of endurance.
On the other hand, if all players are suffering, but there is no crisis around you: Could this mean the market is shifting to a different kind of demand? Remember when people used to buy VCR’s? If your target is finding a substitution to your offer, not another one of your competitors, perhaps your are putting all your cards on laggards. What are those? Check below.
FINALLY, CONSIDER THE BELL CURVE.
Simon Sinek is right when he says that the world is a bell curve. From how many people liked the Avengers movie, to how can you evaluate the performance of a team. The results of analysis can be placed in a bell curve. This system can be also applied to your business strategy.
You’ll always have a distribution that resembles a lot like the one above. The Innovators are the risk takers, bold people who bring the new and unexpected. Picture Leonardo da Vinci, or Elon Musk. The Early Adopters are the first ones to fall in love with the innovation, and will dedicate money and time to that passion. They are the door to the rest of the world. Because the Majority will be practical about what’s being offered, only taking things that are already tested, approved, and perceived as safe. Finally, Laggards are the last ones to take in an innovation, because there is no other way around it. No running from it. Picture your grampa holding a smartphone.
When thinking about the strategy of your business, the first people who will connect to your Brand are, in most cases, Innovators and Early Adopters. If you are communicating well and offering clear touch points of your Purpose, they will simply get you. But that’s 16% of your target. What to do?
YOU FOCUS NARROW.
Remember this. If you focus narrow, you will catch wide. This means you must focus on that 16%. The majority will not consider you before those Early Adopters test and approve you.
So what do you need to do to reach a majority and prove your strategy right? You have to wait.
Resilience. Is to be resistant. If you believe in your Brand, and that your Strategy has what it takes to connect to audiences, than do as the chickens do with their eggs. You sit on it. Let it play out. You might discover to be sitting on a golden egg.
So, when considering giving up your strategy after a short period of attempt, don’t be a chicken. Instead, be a chicken.