Are you paying the price for waiting for perfect?

“Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress” (Seth Godin)

Business is a moving target! The daily, weekly and monthly challenges that businesses face simply prove that change is inherent in business. Change is simply part of the business equation – very little we can do can stop it and if we try we too often disadvantage ourselves.

Yet at the same time to be successful we do aim for quality, excellence – the perfect product or service. We believe that we have to do this to set ourselves apart from the competition to stand out from the crowd – to be a success.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why so many businesses fail – they pay the ultimate price of ‘waiting for perfect’!

Perfect never comes because perfect, in the absolute and timeless sense of the word, is impossible. It is impossible to produce something (a product or a service) that is perfect for everyone all the time. The list of the most successful companies from 50 years ago, the fact that we all want to change our cars, our clothes, our cell-phones all the time simply serve to prove this point. Perfect never comes so waiting for perfect is a fruitless wait.

But then how can we be successful? Is there something else we can do to ensure success?

Most sports show us that the successful are not those who never fail but those who consistently aim to be just that little bit better than the competition. In a horse race it just takes a nose, in cricket a single run, in the 100 meters a fraction of a fraction of a second. Being successful in sport is not about being perfect it is about being substantial better than those you are competing against.

Business is similar. We certainly compete against others but perhaps the most achievable goal for any business is to ultimately compete against themselves by ensuring that each and every day they take the steps to be better than they were before – and in this way build a substantially good business.

A substantially good business is one in which more of the decisions of those in control yield a good result than a bad result. And those that yield a bad result are learnt from to ensure that better decisions are made into the future. A substantially good business is one with an ‘in-built’ self-correcting mechanism – something that is part of the organisational culture that harnesses the power of its people and encourages a solution mind-set because it is built on the belief that despite our failure or success today we can be better tomorrow. A substantially good business is also permeated with the desire to make progress no matter what.

Businesses that display these characteristics (yield good results, self-correcting and a passion for progress) are more likely to survive and thrive. The key elements of a substantially good business are also a good indicator of the long-term success of the business. These main elements include;

  • Understanding clearly how your business actually adds value – in the mind of a very specific customer
  • Being as clear about your customer segments as you are about your product and service
  • Telling the market about your product in a compelling (and truthful) way so that they are willing to buy it from you
  • Identifying the right channels to get your product to market – and not just the ones that seem ‘fashionable’ right now
  • Cultivating the right relationship with your specific customer segments
  • Building the right team – one that is both effective and a cultural fit
  • Ensuring that various partnerships and connections in the marketplace are structured to enhance the value you offer (and are mutually beneficial so that they are sustainable)
  • Delivering your product and service you have promised in your marketing consistently and exactly as intended/communicated
  • Making sure that all areas of risk are monitored and mitigated in a timely manner
  • Understanding the (ever-changing) compliance landscape we all operate in
  • Being able to harvest the financial fruit from the business, and
  • Continually working to enhance and improve the business into the future.

Getting these substantially right, not waiting around for them to be perfect is essential in achieving sustainable business success.

Contact me to make progress in any of these areas.

Till next time.

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