First there was the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Then the Little Engine That Could. The lesson learned is to persist, never quit and keep moving forward if you want to win the race. We strive for success in our business and professional lives as well as our personal endeavors, and persistence is the key.
Then there’s the other saying – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” WHOAAAA, wait a minute. Didn’t we just say persistence wins? Something doesn’t jive here. If both of these principles hold true, then when does persistence cross the line into insanity?
Whether it’s your marketing efforts or any other business practice, jumping from idea to idea like a frog on a lily pad, will never yield a successful outcome. But then the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality doesn’t lend itself to the ever-changing landscape of business today, either. Stay the course or roll with the punches? Do you feel like a spectator at a tennis match yet?
Maybe we can get a glimpse into the answer to our dilemma from NASCAR? Before every race, NASCAR drivers take lots of practice laps before the day of the race. Their pit crew analyzes the results of each lap. They don’t rebuild the car after each, but rather make adjustments to dial in the perfect combination of settings for the track.
You should treat your business the same way. Here are 5 things you can do to determine if you should persist or move on.
1. Make small changes within your marketing plan or adjusting operational procedures, then monitoring the results. This will give you a barometer of what works and what doesn’t.
2. Allow adequate time for honest results – Depending on the change, results may not be readily available (or accurate). If it’s a new marketing medium, give it 90 days before analyzing the results.
3. Don’t jump on the trendy bandwagon – Just because the media is a buzz about something, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Case in point, social media. Maybe you’ve heard people talking about Twitter or Facebook. Before you jump in, first determine if your audience is there. If they aren’t there, why should you be?
4. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor – Determine, before making any changes, what the desired outcome would be, i.e., increasing sales by x%, growing your audience, number of new inquires, etc. It’s impossible to analyze your efforts if you can’t measure them.
5. Failure IS an Option – We don’t like to admit we’re wrong, but not every change will work for the good. And that’s okay. As Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail 10,000 times to make a light bulb, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” Maybe the idea was a good one and can be tweaked enough to make it work.
How do you handle change? Are you changing with the tide of popular wisdom or are you hanging on to time honored traditions? Whatever works for you. And if that’s now enought, here’s one last thought, “You can be on the right track and still get run over if you aren’t moving forward.”
Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.