So, you ask—why the 17-second challenge?What does that mean?Glad you asked. First, I am tired of the term “elevator speech,” and second 17 seconds is about all the time you have to communicate something to another person before they lose interest. So here is the assignment:You have 17 seconds to make your point. By the way, you should time yourself when doing this, which you should do right after reading this post. That way, you’ll do it without preparing something and as if you had to do it on the spot—otherwise 17 seconds is too much time. Please act quickly…
After years of consulting with privately owned companies of all types/sizes, several things have become clear. There seems to be a logical way to group organizations into one of three types. The first group is the one that makes things happen. These guys are the ones acquiring other companies, diversifying, thinking about2016, make time for planning and are in growth mode. Based on my first-hand experience, this makes up a small number of the companies I observe.
The second group is the one that watches things happen. This type of company is cautious, yet will make a move once it sees other companies moving in a specific direction. An example of this is in the printing industry I consult in. Many companies waited until they saw others buying and having success with wide-format and/or digital presses and then decided they, too, should jump into that game. Thus, they went out—many without a plan—and bought such equipment. Again, this is the “watch things happen” group and, based on my experience, this segment makes up a large amount of privately owned organizations.
The third group is the one that wonders what happened. This group thinks social media and Facebook are the same thing. Note to reader: Facebook is one of countless parts of social media. Many in this group have been lapped. Some have given up. Some do not even realize they are not in the game. Many long for the way things used to be. There is a way for such companies to turn around, but some do not want to try, are not willing to invest time or money to do so, and they desire a return to the “glory days.” I call this pure insanity. One definition of insanity is: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. And, there are many companies that make up this group.
Here is my question as we are now in the second month of a new year. Do you want to get better? Do you want to grow? Do you desire to change? Do you want to strategically think about how you are going to grow the front end of your business? Please be honest with yourself; do you really want to change?
Companies in any industry that are growing are “outthinking” the competition. By the way, your competition is everyone and everywhere. You see, everyone can offer a competitive price, decent customer service, a reasonable turnaround time and good quality. These do not make your firm unique.
So, I challenge you to take time to think of what needs to improve within your business. How do you change your culture? Your strategy? Your brand? Your sales? Your talent? A changing world? A new workforce? Many say they desire to be a make things happen company, but few do it. Why? You have to ask yourself that. However, always remember it is easy to sit back and play it safe. I cover a lot of this in my upcoming book Would You Buy from You?
To remain relevant in 2015 and beyond you must review all parts of your organization from top to bottom, and side to side. Yes, you may need outside help to do this. From there, you can see what needs to improve. The question, then, is not if you need to do this, but if you are willing to do this. Trust me, all privately owned companies benefit from a fresh and objective perspective—no matter which group they fall into. I hope this post makes you reflect upon the group you fall in and that you move toward a make things happen type of year.