If a strong competitor turned up next week, targeting your clients and prospective clients with great marketing and a compelling service, what would you do?
Raising your own bar
The honest answer for most small business owners, is that you would very quickly up your game. Faced with this significant new threat, you would look to do everything possible to retain your existing clients and also, set to work on a more effective strategy for winning new clients. The game would have changed and your instinct would be to step up to the mark and rise to the new challenge.
So, here’s another question for you: Why not raise the bar right now, rather than wait for the competition to force you into it?
In my experience, having worked with thousands of small business owners, the vast majority will wait for some kind of external event, before they raise the bar. For example, they will wait until they lose a major contract or business slows down, before doing something proactive about improving their marketing. The most successful business owners don’t need that external motivation, to continuously look for ways to improve their business. They are always looking for ways to improve.
Raising the bar: Steve Jobs style
There’s a wonderful example of how Steve Jobs caused the initial Apple iPod’s development team, to raise the bar. The story may or may not be true, but it’s said that the iPod development team presented Jobs with the first build of the new device, which they had worked on, around the clock, for months.
Jobs took one look at it and said; “It’s too big!”
The team leader said; “It’s as small as possible.”
Legend has it that Steve Jobs then dropped it into a fish tank. The design team gasped in horror.
Jobs then said to the team; “You see those bubbles coming out? That’s air. Make it smaller!”
The team responded by making another version, which was significantly smaller, even though they had originally believed the previous version was as small as possible, until Steve Jobs caused them to raise the bar on what was possible. Without the external influence of Jobs, the development team would have shipped a chunkier, less attractive iPod and the resurgence of Apple may have been very different.
Taking control of your business development
Don’t wait for external influences, before you decide to up your game and redefine what’s possible for you and your business. Take time out today to review at least one element of your business and look for an opportunity to improve it in some way. Do the same tomorrow and the day after and the day after, until it becomes a habitual element of your business.
Start doing this today, taking action to put the improvements into place, and your business will be almost unrecognisable in 12 months!