When Everything Works, It’s Time to Change

celebrate business success

Picture this: You’re in the zone, everything in your business is working perfectly. This is exactly what you’ve been working towards! Now you can finally rest and savor your success.

Or not.

Perfection is sweet, and fleeting.

The moment when everything about your business is going well is also precisely the moment you need to change things up.

[Tweet “The illusion of perfection is a powerful drug that can lull you into complacency.”]Why? Because the illusion of perfection is the drug that can lull you into complacency. You convince yourself you’ve concocted the perfect formula, and you stop trying so hard. Before you say, “I’d never do that,” consider these potential traps:

Marketing Inertia

You nailed the ideal marketing mix, with new customers streaming in. How long will that last before market dynamics change? If you don’t stay ahead, you’ll fall behind. Playing catch-up is costly. Imagine how hard it will be to completely reinvent your marketing strategy if you assume that what worked last year or the year before will work in the next years or two.

Today more than ever, marketing is evolving at warp speed. Methods you decided weren’t necessary for your business 6 months ago may be exactly what you need to capture a dynamic customer base.

The opportunity cost of regaining lost ground, when you could have stayed current instead?

Talent Balance

After careful attention to recruiting, team building and development, you’ve got an exceptional team. Everyone works well together, they’re innovative, collaborative and inspired. For 5 minutes. Then your sales star leaves for a more lucrative position or a key VP decides to spend more time with family. What now?

You can never assume your team won’t change. It’s always, always, going to be in flux. If your business is small, any staff change can have a dramatic impact you morale and culture, so you need to be proactive. Keep an active talent pool to draw candidates from when you need to add or replace an employee.

Don’t let changes disrupt your flow. Instead, focus on keeping things fresh and using new people to seed new ideas, innovative thinking, and keep your team nimble.

Demand Decay

Even the most perfect product won’t be in demand forever. Remember the Palm Pilot? It was pretty cool, for a while. Almost everything becomes obsolete as technology and tastes change. I’m fairly certain I won’t be carrying an iPhone in 5 years, because something better will come along.

You can (and should) milk your cash cows for a while, but not at the expense of future business growth. Assume that any business model that works today may be less valid tomorrow. If you wait for the moment when you have to make a hard decision about where the next dollar will come from, you’re already way behind.

Innovation and development must be a perpetual discipline in your business if you plan to be successful over the long term. Whether you sell physical products, software-as-a-service (SaaS) or professional services, evolution is essential. Consumers insist on new, fresh or improved offerings, and if your business doesn’t deliver, someone else will.

Make the Leap

In my book, Beyond the Launch, I write about the Resilience Model (below), which requires making the leap to something new before the downward slide begins. Knowing when to jump depends on your ability to sense what’s coming, which you can’t do if you’re spending too much time savoring the present.

Joellyn Ferguson's Business Resilience Model

If you’re enjoying a moment in your business when things are going great, you deserve to celebrate. Then get to work planning your next move. You’ll need it in no time. [Tweet “When business is great, celebrate. Then get to work on your next move. You’ll need it in no time.”]

Do you have a story of when you moved just in time…or should have? Share what your learned in the comment box below.

Photo by Shirley B. on FreeImages.com. Graphic: Copyright Claravon.com, 2013.

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