The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
The goal of building a successful business is to be…well…successful. But what if you hit a stumbling block that you’re struggling with? Maybe it’s finding the right client base, getting in the right doors to talk to the right people, or solving a technical problem with a product. When do you say enough is enough, I need to make a change? (Hopefully before your business falls apart.) My general rule of thumb is that if you’ve tried something a dozen or so times (sometimes more or less depending on the specific problem), but you aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, then maybe it really is time to look at the problem from a different angle.
Talk to the Professionals
There are tons of business issues (most in fact) that there is a professional for. A consultant for just about anything can be found, which is great news if you’re having a hard time figuring out your problem. Let’s say that you’re having a hard time getting to the right client base and reaching the right people for your business. Finding someone who can connect you would be very helpful, right? What if that person could also help you refine, and possibly redefine, your pitch? What if that person could help you understand what your core client base is really looking for, what will grab their interest, and what will get them excited about you and your business? What if that person helps you become successful?
Take a Break
There are some business problems that you just need to take a break from. Sometimes walking away and clearing your head will help bring answers you didn’t know you had. This could be a technical issue with a product or even a personnel issue. Has an idea or solution ever come to you when you least expect it, like when you’re at the gym or watching TV? Many times the answers will come when you’re not actively thinking about the problem. Isn’t it great how our brains work?
Get Back to the Basics
Many times a solution can be found when you just get back to the basics. Maybe it’s a challenge with figuring out how to get buy-in on a business idea. Sometimes getting back to the basics of what you want to do can help clarify the best direction to go. Or, maybe it’s an employee challenge where they need extra guidance and coaching on how to capture and keep a sale. Getting back to the basics – Sales 101 – can help clarify concepts and ideas that may not have been set foundationally in the first place.
Research & Modeling
Research is key in making any business successful. Not just research on your product, service, or industry, but also on how others are successful in the same field. Finding someone who has already done what you’re trying to do (or something similar) and learn from their mistakes, model your behavior and practices after theirs, and understand their structure and how it applies to your business.
Be Willing to Change
Not all business models will work the first time you try them out. There is some finessing that usually needs to be done before most business models will work. A business plan is just that – a plan. Plans change. Plans evolve. And sometimes they need to change to meet the needs of business – internal and external customers, suppliers, financially, etc. Sometimes (most of the time) the plan is seen as bigger or worth more to the owner than to outside customers or suppliers, and it should because of the investment the owner has put in. That doesn’t mean that customers or lenders will pay more for the product/service or business just because the owner thinks they should. I once had a student who was attempting to open a mobile coffee shop. He went through the process of building out his business plan and everything looked great on paper. When he went to get financing, he was turned down left and right because the banks did not see the monetary value in his business. He was asking for too much up front. Changing the business plan and scaling the business as needed are ways owners must be flexible.
The bottom line is – don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to make changes to your business! If you don’t, you may not see the success you’re working so hard for. Don’t let your business or business idea become the definition of insanity!