Making Adjustments

As a sports fan, I’m always fascinated about what makes one team successful versus everyone else.

I mean think about: Pick a sport – baseball, football, hockey, basketball – and there are at least 25 other teams trying to do the exact thing that everyone else is…win a championship.

Literally hundreds and thousands of people all pulling together over a period of time, yet only one group can achieve that “success” each year.

What decisions allow one team to have a dramatically different outcome than all the rest?  Or maybe it’s just “luck of the draw,” and whoever wins that year was “due”?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Yes, there are things that come into play that are beyond your control…health of your star players, your schedule and how the other teams are playing when your team faces them (especially in the playoffs!) just to name a few.

But I also think there are some other things – what players to add or let go during the offseason, what specific play to call at critical points during the game, and the adjustments the coaching staff makes throughout the contest to give their team the best chance of winning – that you can control, and absolutely does have an impact your ability to win a championship.

And it’s that last part– adjustments throughout the game – that I think is equally important in sports as well as your overall business success.

Because let’s face it: While all business owners think they know a ton about their product and service (and most usually do), most of us Type A entrepreneurs have a tendency to get really excited, and really focused on our way of doing things.

In other words, it’s our business and we know best!

And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can be an inhibitor towards making the necessary changes or “adjustments” needed to keep your business on the road toward success.

Think of your business like a boat that’s headed towards the Caribbean or some other desirable destination.  Would you just jump in and head in the general direction of where you think the islands are?

Of course not.

You’d look at a map, chart a course and then set sail.

Almost everyone would agree with that.

But here’s where things get tricky.  Once out to sea, would you keep sailing the entire time, without checking the map and making some mid-trip adjustments?

For most people, the answer would be “of course not!”

Yet for most business owners, that’s EXACTLY what they do.

They don’t adjust.

In other words, they do the same things in the present that have worked in the past, simply because they haven’t considered the future of where they are going.  And the obvious problem with that is things are always changing!

Your customer base is changing.

Their buying preferences are changing.

The problems they have today (and what they want to solve tomorrow) are changing.

Your marketing platforms and the way you can reach those folks…are changing!

Yet most business owners keep on “tracking” with their original plan, and never adjust.  And predictably, they wonder why they wind up in the business equivalent of Iceland when they originally set sail for the Caribbean.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with the good people of Iceland of course.)

So what are some adjustments that you as a business owner can make to stay on track towards success?

  • Nail Down Your Buying Market & Ideal Client.  These are concepts I’ve discussed in the past, but essentially you want to make sure that the people you think are buying, actually are.  And if not, maybe it’s time to run a focus group, online survey, or better yet…pick up the phone and talk to some existing clients just to make sure.  Every time I do this I’m always surprised by a little tidbit that allows me to make a minor tweak (read: adjustment) to my service.
  • Review Your Website.  I know, I know…if you’re like most of my clients (including myself), you’ve already spent tons of time setting up your website and the last thing you want to do is review it.

    I totally get it.  

    But if you haven’t taken a good hard look at it within the past 12 months, I’d suggest making sure everything is still reflective of who you are as a company, as well as enticing to your buying market.  And you don’t have to go crazy, but maybe adding a blog component if it’s not there already, changing out a picture, or rearranging the existing navigation bar can make a big difference. At the very least, I make it a point to review and update my bio every six to twelve months.
  • Consider New Service Offerings.  Ask yourself, based on discussions with your staff, your clients or even your own thoughts, are there any other offerings that I can make which my perspective clients might find attractive?  And while you’re at it, ask yourself the opposite question: Is there some item, product or service that isn’t performing as well as you thought, and maybe is a candidate for taking a break? Both good questions to help keep your offerings fresh.

The Bottom Line

Success in business, as it is in sports, is based on a number of things.  Not the least of which is your ability to respond to outside conditions!

What are some things my competition is doing well?

What are some things that I could be doing better?

And what adjustments can I make that will give my business the best chance of being successful?

When you start asking more of those types of questions, you’ll find that the adjustments present themselves very readily, and all you have to do is get into action and make them happen.

Good luck!