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« Planet of the Apps | Main | Planned prosperity Vs lucky breaks »
Tuesday
Jun172014

The upside of your limitations

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Focus is as important as effort.

There are infinite ways to improve your life. Trying to do them all is a recipe for underperformance. Success often comes down to doing a small number of things extremely well.

Business is no different. Quality rather than quantity makes customers come back for more. What you do is what they want.

A unique brand of humour is behind the success of the television comedy, Seinfeld. The humour is not black, rom/com, ribald or intellectual. The show is about extremely ordinary things. It never pretends to address anything commonly described as meaningful. Audiences know what to expect. They come back for the extraordinary execution of the ordinary.

The power of consistency

At the core of your personal or business brand is consistency. If people know what to expect of you, then, if they like it, they’ll choose you because it’s the most convenient decision.

I don’t like hamburgers, but if the car is full of hungry children, I know Macdonalds will be cheap, quick and popular. Parking won’t be a problem. There’ll be a playground and I can steal some fries. Dubious parenting, I know, but there are times when convenience trumps diet.

When assessing ways to improve your business, avoid diluting your core competency. Seinfeld wouldn’t work if it imported other styles of humour. You watch Monty Python for something completely different. Sit through a comedy festival and it’s clear every performer has their trademark style. Whatever it is, it’s something they are best at doing. If they mix in unexpected styles, they dilute their impact.

You can still embrace change

Shifting consumer preferences create opportunities to do what you do even better. You may be known to reliably deliver a product or service via a website that’s convenient to use. Offering all that through an app is not a change in what you are good at. It just means you will still deliver reliably, possibly on an even more convenient basis and into another sector of your market.

Focus on growth runs off the rails when a new strategy either fails to draw on the inherent strengths of the business, or shifts resources away from what has driven success. The market gets mixed signals.

Its the simple things

As compared with big strategic concepts, inherent strengths are often very ordinary, which is why we sometimes fail to recognize them. They include things like on-time delivery, affordability, look and feel, being the easiest to use, location, compliance, or just the quality of your people.

The latter can be crucial. We regularly hire on the basis of qualifications or titles, yet it’s often natural abilities that make the difference. Regardless of occupational training, employees who are self-starters, good collaborators or have a flair for customer relations often define how seamlessly your operations translate into a consistent brand in the marketplace.

Research suggests that growing your own people produces a better result than depending on imported talent, which can erode the cohesiveness of your business culture.

It doesn’t so much matter if your culture is extraordinary or ordinary. Your platform for success is built on the consistency of your core, but simple, messages.

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