Be the One Who Fails the Least
As a huge sports fan I’ve been anxiously watching this whole drama of the “who, how, when, let’s do it… maybe…” debate play out to decide if professional and college sports would resume this year. So many factors are involved like boatloads of money weighed against politics and serious health risks, with hundreds of thousands of Americans’ standards of living being impacted. There are no easy decisions here, but such is life, right?
Maybe not on as grand a scale, but as a business owner you’re always making decisions that have huge implications on more people than you realize. Even the seemingly trivial daily decisions you make affect you, then your family, your employees and their families and your extended customer base. That could touch thousands, and the thought gets humbling in a hurry. And times of crisis or uncertainty make many people go into a shell and do nothing, which often has the worst effects.
Back in April, the sport of baseball lost a true legend named Fred Gallo. I believe one of his most famous quotes is truly fitting for times like these. He said “Baseball is a game of failure. He who fails least wins,” and he’s absolutely right. The game of baseball is all about statistics, and even the best career batters in major league history failed to reach first base almost two-thirds of the time. The average professional baseball player strikes out almost 50% of the time and fails to get on base 7 out of 10 at bats. What Fred Gallo understood is there will always be MANY more misses than hits in the game, but averaging just one less mistake can separate the last place team from the one hoisting the trophy.
Coach Gallo famously used this angle with his players, telling them not to be scared to swing because everyone misses. If you’re so scared to miss that you never swing, failure is guaranteed. Just simply be wise about what you swing for, and you’ll fail less than most. That translates to more than just baseball as well.
How do you, as a business leader, know what’s worth swinging for and when to let an opportunity pass you by? How do you improve your chances of success over your competition? Here are some tips to help you develop a plan to “fail less.”
Do something, even if it’s small: As stated above, fear of any type of action is the fastest way to failure. With so many options and choices that come across your desk, it’s easy for your default answer to be “NO TO ALL.” But your market is changing constantly, and if you’re not making the necessary tweaks to stay in the game you’ll soon be passed by. Decisions are tougher right now than many have ever experienced, but there’s no time to hide in the corner. Harry Truman said, “Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time.” It may not always be a homerun, but if you’ll take a swing and learn from the results, you’re closer to success than you were before.
Trust the trusted advice: Not everything has to be complete trial and error, putting your own neck out there on a whim. Others have taken a lot of the lumps for you already and you can simply learn from their experience. Also, no one is expecting you to be a first-rate accountant, CEO, marketer, and software engineer either, but people who specialize in those roles are often more than willing to share their expertise with you…. if you’ll ask.
Sure, every salesperson will tell you what they’re selling is the best and some consultation calls turn into hard sales pitches, but there are many experts in this industry who are willing to offer advice worth its weight in gold. The first step is admitting you need help sometimes, and the second step is even harder: taking it.
Develop a plan and stick to it: Let’s be real. A large portion of in-home contracting businesses are run by the seats of their pants. Your success (or lack there of) is driven by the weather, by the hiring situation in your area, and just by pure luck in some cases. But the truth is, healthy growth and sustained market dominance won’t be achieved without a plan. Do you think further than just your next season? Do you have a plan in place to keep the customers you gained during your last busy season engaged and buying from you? Think less about singular sales promos or marketing pushes and think more about systems you can put in place for the long haul. Success is built over time, and a long-term marketing plan helps keep you on track.
Always have isn’t always best: One of the scariest phrases in business is, “Well, we’ve never done it that way before…” And the idea of different terrifies people. But I’ll counter with this. Are you completely happy with the results you’ve always received from the way you’ve been doing things? If the answer is yes, then I’m not sure why you’re still reading this - but for the rest of us normal people, there comes a time when a shake-up is necessary. Some things are tried and true and shouldn’t be messed with, but even if a system is producing decent results, a small tweak could be all that’s needed to kick it into overdrive. You never know until you try.
For some of you it might be time to step out and try some new things like investing in your business and customer base like never before. WARNING: The more active you are and more swings you take the more chance you have for failure, but also the more chance you have to find the winning formula to knock it out of the park. Don’t be scared to swing. Smart business owners use the resources, tools and advice they have at their disposal to fail a few less times than their competition.
If you’d like some expert advice on your next smart marketing move or help developing a long-term plan, I’m here to help. We’ve got plenty of case studies, reviews, and market data to help improve your odds of success. Reach out to me at (800) 489-9099 or email me directly at [email protected] to book a free marketing consultation.