“We do that” can be a deadly phrase when uttered by a business owner. These three little words have been the downfall of many seemingly well-balanced individuals. Until you’ve actually said them, it’s difficult to understand how much turmoil they can inflict on a business.
“We do that” is usually expressed following a client enquiry about a product or service far outside the current offering or experience. It’s easily justified under the guise of not wanting to miss out on an opportunity. The two most common situations where this occurs are:
The “I can do anything” phase
This is when an owner has had some degree of success in their core business and assumes they now have the Midas touch and that everything they put their hand to will be a winner. Unfortunately, in many cases, the knowledge, experience and contacts that made them successful, aren’t applicable to this “new opportunity”. However, since they are invincible and full of self confidence they throw caution to the wind and quickly find themselves in a strange new land where they don’t speak the language or have a map. Only after spending way too much time, effort and money do they realize they shouldn’t have been so eager.
The “I’m so desperate” phase
In this situation, the owner is scrambling because their business is taking much longer than planned to unfold or it’s just not working. So out of desperation, the owner begins grasping at straws or chasing rainbows when they would be better off staying focused on their original idea or shutting it down and calling it a day.
There is a time and a place!
Many new services or products have been born from simple customer enquiries, but to increase the chance of success, they must be measured for fit against your existing business. The most profitable are those that leverage your organization’s core competencies in knowledge and human resources and can be looked upon as natural extensions of your core business. Any new offering should be able to integrate seamlessly into your existing business and current client base. This in itself is no guarantee that the new offering will be successful but you’ll quickly know if you have the needed customer support to forge ahead, or to cut bait and run.
Persistence has been known to pay off and incrementally adding new products or services to what you are already doing is an efficient means of organically growing and diversifying without jeopardizing your primary business.
The truth is, regardless of what we think or how we feel, very few of us have the ability to dive into industries where we have little or no experience and expect to be successful.
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2011
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