My grandmother was born in 1927. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. Every now and then, she’ll throw out an old saying in a situation that makes me do a double-take. When she’s encouraging me to promote myself and my accomplishments more, she’ll say “It’s a mighty poor dog that can’t wag his own tail.” If nothing else, these old sayings absolutely stop me in my tracks and make me think, and sometimes laugh out loud. Another one she uses is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You’ve probably heard that one before. With great respect and love for my dear grandmother, though, I disagree. In times like these, my “old” saying would be updated to, “Just because it ain’t broke, don’t mean you shouldn’t fix it.” Here’s why.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying, “Change is the only constant in life.” Let’s say we drive the same car and take the same route to the same destination every day. We know the path like the back of our hands–the same gas mileage, the same streets, the same freeways, the same streetlights, stop signs, and crosswalks day in and day out for years (obviously, we don’t live in Southern California). We know how long it will take us to arrive at our destination, what we’ll see along the way, where the traffic slows down, and where it speeds up. We’ve got this.
Then, one day, unexpectedly, a major road along the path is closed permanently to make way for new development (it happened); or overtime, all our co-commuters who share the road have upgraded their vehicles and now enjoy a smoother, faster ride using less gas while I’m driving the same car I always did (my mother); or my destination has relocated 20 miles down the road with almost no notice (rude). The path was perfectly fine until it wasn’t. The car isn’t broken, but it can no longer get me to my destination on time. With my aim now out of reach, I must hurriedly find a new route, or raise funds for a new car, or figure out how in the heck I’m going to manage my gas and the life of my car and my timelines to arrive at my destination when I need to.
The problem is, there were signposts all along my route warning me of impending changes, but I didn’t see them. There were industry magazines with new cars on sale that I ignored or didn’t subscribe to. I didn’t attend the public meeting where they announced the relocation of my destination as well as the reasoning and timeline for it. I was literally coasting along, doing well with my unbroken route in my unbroken car, relying on my destination never changing when change is always guaranteed.
To maintain a healthy business, we need to stop, drop and SWOTt at least annually, and after major changes in our operating environment. Our what? The places, people and trends that impact how we operate—could be changes in the political realm, the industry, the economy, the workforce, the vendor community we tap, the raw materials and resources we use, the technology we or our clients use, or even the intellectual property we rely on. It could be occurring in a particular country, state, locality, or demographic group. It could be a change in mood, mindset, or financial outlook for past, present or potential customers. The list could go on. Depending on whether it’s a mere blip or seismic change will determine whether you need to analyze their impacts on your business..
An important piece of any situational or SWOTT analysis is rethinking your brand in this new context. A brand is much more than a logo. It broadcasts your identity and capabilities. Are you recognized for the right thing? Are customers aware of the value you bring to an emerging situation at a particular time, or does much of your value go unrecognized? Are you overlooked as a possible solution, resource, or collaborative partner because the right message isn’t out there? Is everything from your business’ website, vision, and value statements, to your social media content in alignment with your brand identity? For that matter, is your LinkedIn profile in sync with what you say you’re about?Jordan Mantel, a partner in the FRESH START campaign by CSD Marketing and Consulting, runs CareerCap. Speaking about a resume or curriculum vitae, he says, “The importance of a GREAT resume should NEVER be overlooked when seeking to refresh your professional brand!” I will be interviewing Jordan as part of my Phoenix Project, where we will discuss the importance of conveying a consistent brand across platforms and experiences, including your personal brand. A consistent brand does not mean a constant brand. It means that as you shift and adjust in one place, making sure that you’ve adjusted your message the same way in all the places where you communicate about your business.
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant, or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms.” – Colin Powell
At a time when the world is preparing to turn the corner and mount a comeback after the pandemic, it’s so important that you look at the signposts along the way, the changes that your industry—both collaborative partners and competitors—are experiencing and contemplating, to decide whether the way you’ve always done it will get you to the next level. Refocusing the direction, you’re taking and the messages you’re communicating about your business and your brand are just some of the supports that CSD Marketing and Consulting can offer you as part of our Fresh Start campaign.
Making a FRESH START could mean rethinking your strategies for SEO/content, branding/product launch, social media, email marketing, marketing automation, operations, or web optimization. CSD Marketing and Consulting can help you customize a plan that aligns with your vision and suits your business goals as you begin Refocusing in 2021. [Stay with me. Next week, I will explain why I highlighted those 7 strategies.]
In the end, you want former, current and future customers to know the value that you can bring into their worlds. You need to wag your own tail. On behalf of my grandmother, here’s a little-known gem by Little Richard to encourage you…https://youtu.be/BnG25Gi0y3o