What Might You Be Missing…? It’s Often the Little Things That Matter
On a recent Saturday morning I headed out to get a massage not far from where I live. Currently, there is so much construction along the street I live on due to an underground subway being built, it has caused this street and feeder streets to be partially shut down, or lanes closed for the last couple of years.
There I was standing at the corner about to cross when I heard a fire truck siren coming from the north. As I looked I noticed that the truck could not get down the street due to cars lined up at the red stoplight. Interestingly, people still chose to cross the street, which meant that the cars that blocked the lane could not move out of the way for the fire truck to move through.
The only choice was for the truck to go down the other lane where cars would be travelling shortly in the other direction. But for that moment they were at the stoplight. The truck couldn’t cross over into that lane because there were orange cones set up blocking their way because of the construction.
I imagined that if they had decided to plow through anyway, they would crush the cones and perhaps there might be dangerous debris that could hit a bystander or get stuck under the truck, thereby delaying them from reaching their intended destination.
So in a moment of asking myself what I could do to help, I ran to the middle of the street and started to move the cones out of the way, just as one of the firemen jumped out of the truck to do the same thing at his end. Between the two of us, we cleared the path so that the truck could get by.
Why do I share this with you? It is not so that I can make myself look like some type of hero here. No, it is because I am using this as an example of what I see business owners often do. They are missing an opportunity, have blinders on of what is going on around them, or they just don’t seem to care. And sometimes they just get in their own way, and stop their growth and subsequent success.
In the case of the pedestrians they had enough time to realize that they should stay put at the corner and not cross so that the cars could move out of the way. Plus if there had been no barrier to the truck going into the opposite lane, one or more of these people might have been hurt crossing the street.
Secondly, not one of them thought to run and remove the cones as I was doing. In fact, there was a construction worker right next to the cones, within feet of where the fire truck was sitting, waiting to be able to move once cars got out of the way, and yet he didn’t even attempt to assist the firefighter or I remove the cones so as to grant access to the truck to get to wherever they had to urgently go.
So how does this relate to a business, you might wonder?
Well, in my work consulting companies of all sizes, or even having a brief conversation at a networking event, I frequently see these business owners not realize something that might be right in front of them that they could be doing differently, so as to be more successful in their business. Instead they are putting up with mediocre results and sometimes not even realizing it.
It might also be something that they are doing that is, in fact, a total waste of time and they should stop doing. But because they see their competition doing it, or because ‘that is the way it has always been done’ they continue to do things that are perhaps impacting their bottom line, but not in a positive way.
I find it interesting in these conversations when I ask for instance how they get their customers, clients or patients. They will tell me things like they run Facebook ads, they get referrals, go to networking events, hire people to make sales calls for them, or just hope someone comes through the door etc. etc. etc.
Then when I ask them if they know how successful each of these activities is and how much business each tactic brings into their business they can’t tell me. Many for example are spending money on things like Facebook advertising, using up precious monies to advertise in a space where their prospects might not even be spending time. However, because they see their competition advertise there, they firmly believe that they should too.
I have nothing against advertising on Facebook or any other social media platform, but if you are not measuring the success of the dollars you are spending then why continue to do it?
Most are not noticing and therefore missing other more profitable opportunities. Then when I ask them if they know how successful each of these activities is and how much business each tactic brings into their business they can’t tell me.
Then when I ask them if they ever reach out to current and past clients to find out why they buy or bought their product or service, they often reveal that they are a bit ‘afraid’ of what they might find out!
That makes no sense to me, as I see that as a lost opportunity. Not only to possibly win back lost business, but to find out why past clients left may give some insight that will help the business owner makes changes, even if only some slight changes, to ensure that they do all possible not to lose any additional clients, or push away potential clients.
But like many of the people that stood around me this past weekend at that street corner, preoccupied on their cellphones, not paying attention to their surroundings, or simply didn’t care to help in even the smallest way, in the case of businesses, they are preoccupied in tasks that don’t bring in revenue, pay little attention to data or simply don’t care to take the time to do the research or the work to increase business.
Points to Ponder:
If you were to look around in your business today and consider the ways you spend your time, money and resources what might you find, and more importantly, what would you do differently?
Where in your organization do you know there need to be some changes, that while perhaps not easy to initially do, you prefer to ignore, just like the people on the street corner ignored a fire truck with its sirens blaring?
If you and I were to have a conversation, what would you share with me as to your strategy to stay on top of current and past clients?
Sharon Worsley, The Business Development Ninja™ is the creator of the R7 System™ to Flood Your Business With Clients Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, helping businesses to ‘Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up’. To learn more, contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org