Albert Einstein tells us that the very definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Are you doing something over and over again in your business, and not realizing it when you don't get your desired results?
What can you change, tweak, revisit, pivot, or edit in your business plan to make sure you are still going to make your forecasted goals?
Today more than ever the pace of business is so fast, and the ability to get information is so widespread, that we all benefit from taking a good long look at what is working and can be supported, what is not working and needs to be changed, and research and development: what can we start to do differently?
What is Working
For many clients, it is easier to sell them on additional products and services than it is to find a new customer.
- What are you offering to your existing clients?
- What can be enhanced or improved for your existing clients?
- Can you come up with a product or service to help make their lives better, to entertain them, to help them reach additional objectives?
For green businesses, this may be as simple as you coming up with additional resources for your client, such as pointing them in the direction of certification services, vendor lists, or other opportunities to highlight their company. Or, you may be able to send them a sustainability checklist for their own use, to help them become more energy efficient, use more local vendors, use biodegradable materials, or change out their existing supplies for a greener option.
What is Not Working
Are you spending ineffective marketing dollars? Are you not sure if the latest site redesign is making a difference? Do you not have enough analytics, data, or reporting on your latest campaign? Find out where the "holes" are and start to fill them up.
Your business depends on you making educated decisions about policies, long-term goals, and short term campaigns. Get rid of nonperforming or underperforming streams of work: they detract from your core focus and take up time that could be better spent increasing your existing productive and profitable offerings. Don't know about a particular decision? Recruit advisors or helpers who can help you sort out the wheat from the chaff: it is better for you to make a good decision today than to wait and make a perfect decision later down the line. It also doesn't help to procrastinate, which is its own decision. Figure out what you need to cut and cut it.
What Can we do Differently?
Research and development is an important part of any business: this includes hatching new ideas, implementing pilot programs, and testing exploratory products and services to match your clients or targeted clients' needs. This part of "working on the business instead of in the business" is difficult for many, as it requires more big-picture thinking and planning; however, the incremental steps you take to create new ideas and new product lines results in additional opportunities later.
- If you and your team do not currently spend time doing R&D, consider allocating time to generate a report on current trends in your industry and identify emerging needs.
- If you and your team do spend time doing R&D, consider a prioritization ladder where you test new ideas against your internal matrix (is it possible? is it implementable? is it timely?) and assign a score and a timeframe to roll out new efforts.
Within a 6-month, 12-month, 18-month timeline, and 24-month timeline, you may have four additional product offerings or incubated new endeavors that can be launched, spun off, or sold.
Remember Einstein's warning that if you are doing the exact same thing, you'll probably get the exact same results. Don't expect things to change (much) if you're not willing to evolve, extend, and grow yourself and your business practices. If you want to change, change now. The world needs your ideas, energy, and enthusiasm.
Monica S. Flores, web developer at , believes in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. She creates effective, engaging websites for women-owned companies, green businesses, and progressive organizations: her focus is on organic, holistic, fair trade, and sustainable work. Follow her on Twitter as @monicadear. She runs The Greater Equator, a luxury online marketplace of eco-friendly products, and Green Business Women, a directory of green women in business.