“We must never judge humanity by ourselves. The things we want, the things we like, may appeal to a small minority.”
~ Claude Hopkins
Wishful Thinking does NOT Equal Results
As the USA heads towards the 2020 election, I’m reminded of the 2016 election… I have no idea who will actually be the President-Elect on, or soon after, November 4th, but I vividly remember driving home from a meeting around 5pm November 5th, listening to several Australian commentators recount:
- the number of votes counted,
- the number of states whose results were finalised, and
- their anticipation that Hillary Clinton would win despite the evidence.
When the first man read the numbers out then stated that Clinton was a clear winner, I thought I had misheard or misunderstood the numbers. As I heard successive commentators reiterate those numbers and that conviction, I started to wonder what they were drinking…
Politicians and polls can get away with that kind kind of illusionist thinking.
Business owners can’t.
At least, not if they want their business to survive!
So, here are 3 ways to murder your business…
Killer #1: Assumptions
If you assume that all your prospects and clients share your values, opinions, and world view, you’re stepping on dangerous ground and will fail to add the persuasive elements required to influence their decisions.
Many of them will share these things with you. Those people will accept your assertions without question or proof, but they have colleagues, friends, and family members who will demand explanations and justifications. Have you provided them with the solid ammunition they need to justify their decision or have you left them defenceless?
Other people will accept your expertise even if they disagree with your opinions. They need proof carefully woven into all of your interactions with them so they feel comfortable moving forward and are willing to allow your experience to overcome their questions.
Killer #2: Copycats
Copycatting is fine if you don’t want your business to last and don’t have a long-term view. However, if your goal is sustainable longevity, copycatting is lethal… Literally!
“Can you write my [INDUSTRY] website / brochure / article just like XYZ’s, but make it different enough that I don’t get penalised by Google?”
I used to hear this copycat request from prospective clients. A while ago, I had someone run a quick search on a few of these companies. They’re all dead and gone. If you try to copycat your competitors, you will quickly be dead and gone too.
Trying to ‘game the system’ is big business in many fields.
One of Amazon’s biggest challenges is keeping tabs on the many businesses who copycat existing products and use their reviews and reputation. These are global companies with a lot of money to spend on this exercise and it’s one of the reasons many legitimate businesses no longer sell their products on the platform.
A happier story is Google’s successful efforts to clamp down on people and companies who try to game their algorithms. Some of you will remember when Google’s updates threw many businesses off the front page because they had achieved their rank by gaming key words rather than delivering value. This drove many SEO companies out of business, because their results were based on cheat codes that were suddenly irrelevant.
Take the time and put in the effort to work out your own message and market, rather than copying someone else.
Killer #3: Illusions
Illusions are very dangerous because they stop us taking the action we need to take in order to create the future we desire.
What you would like to be true, does not affect the existing reality.
Think about any of the burning issues affecting our world… Or the reality you and your family are experiencing at present…
Probably, things do not look exactly the way you would like them to appear.
There may be things you would like to change.
Unless you plot a clear course of action from the way things are to the way you want them to be, you will not be able to create significant change.
In a sense, a roadmap is an illusion. It’s not until you start your journey that your destination actually comes any closer.
All’s Well That Ends Well
Sometimes we don’t know a good outcome until we see it. History teaches us that individuals, nations, and civilisations are in a constant state of flux. Your business is similarly resilient.
Even if you are currently committing all 3 of these murderous crimes, you still have time to change your behaviour, do the hard thinking and work required, and develop a sustainable business that can thrive in any economy.