“Fix it and forget it” might be a motto you can apply to some tasks in your personal life. Don’t make the mistake of using this philosophy to run your business. Too many execs come into an organization, take care of the business problem they were hired to fix and then settle in for a comfortable tenure. In today’s economy, that attitude will lead you down the road to disaster.
When sales are strong and your company is growing, it’s easy to assume those conditions will continue. Helen Lee Bouygues, in a column for Harvard Business Review, suggests that you regularly question your assumptions. Doing so can help you improve your critical thinking and remain agile. During economic boom times, leaders have the resources to expand or development partnership. Using a cautionary approach as you make a big change will increase the chances of success.
Asking the Right Questions
If you’re looking to take your company to the next growth level, you might be considering an acquisition or new product launch. Ask yourself a few questions. Don’t blindly believe that sales will grow at the same level as for your existing project. Is this a brand new service or produce line in the marketplace? If so, sales won’t ramp up right away. You’ll need to educate your target audience about why they should make a purchase. That will take time. Think about your pitch from your prospect’s perspective. After learning about how a new product can help them improve their business, they’ll also need time. They may lengthen their standard purchase cycle before committing to doing business with you.
Take a hard look at potential competitors in the marketplace. Don’t just check out the product features. Find out how well are they funded. Study who is running these companies. This research will keep you from making incorrect assumptions.
Using the Right Team Members
When’s the last time you took a hard look at the team you rely on to make key business decisions? Your CFO is always present, and so is your CMO. And don’t forget your chief of sales and your product development people. Chances are these people know each other well. They can also predict each other’s responses to proposed changes and investments. This arrangement is precisely why some new initiatives fail.
If you’re setting out to do something a little different, don’t rely only on your trusted go-to-team members. Check in with the younger members of your staff if your new product is targeting that age group. Their perspectives can help you look at a topic from a different angle.
When you question your long-held assumptions and infuse new voices into your decision-making process, your ROI on new initiatives will improve.