20/20: See Your
Business with Fresh Eyes
By Ray Silverstein for
When business is tough, like it is right now, you
can’t afford to hold onto your old ways. The world around us is changing, and if
you don’t want to be left behind, you need to change your point of view.
Right now, we all can benefit from an open mind and
a fresh perspective. If you don’t like what you see right now, ask yourself:
what can I do to change this picture?
That means approaching problems differently. It
means considering opportunities you’d never entertain in the past. And it means
venturing outside your comfort zone and taking some carefully-weighed risks. In
other words, it means exchanging our tunnel vision for a wide-angle lens.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done. With
that in mind, here are some ideas to help you start thinking.
Has Your Customer Changed?
Think back over the last year or so. Is there
anything different about your customer?
For example, one entrepreneur I know owns a martial
arts studio. In the past, he’d require that students register for six months of
classes at a time. Back in the good old days, customers signed-up without
thinking twice. Today, registrations are plummeting.
Yet he’s still sticking to his six-month rule,
because, he says, “I have to pay my rent.”
The problem is, customers are increasingly
unwilling to commit to six-month programs. What if their kids lose interest?
What if the parent loses his or her job?
His classes haven’t changed, but his customers
have. Because of the tight economy, they’ve become commitment-shy. And if he
wants their business, he’ll find a way to accommodate them. For example, he
could offer month-to-month memberships. Or, he could take a cue from the auto
industry and guarantee tuition refunds if someone loses their job.
Yes, he has to pay the rent. But getting the rent
money one month at a time beats not getting it at all. He’s operating by an
Now, what about you? Are you operating by obsolete
“rules” that discourage customers from buying?
What AREN’T You Selling?
Let’s take it a step further. Think of all the
recent sales you failed to close on. What were the reasons your would-be
customers gave you?
What Do You Like Best About Your Business?
I often preach that during tough times,
entrepreneurs have to steel themselves to do things they find unpleasant. This
However, if you’re brainstorming ways to strengthen
your business, it helps to focus on those aspects you most enjoy. Chances are,
these are your strengths, and if you like what you’re doing, you’re more likely
to stick with it.
With this in mind, are there areas you can build
on? Are there related services you’ve thought about offering, but never made
happen? Perhaps now is the time to act.
As Dorothy said to Toto…we’re not in Kansas
anymore. It’s time to question our old assumptions and rules. It’s a whole new
world, and if we want to prosper in it, we need to view it with a fresh
P.S. Need help getting started? Email me at
rspropres.com for a free copy of my “Expanding Your Vision” worksheet.