The other day, I ordered a new desk for my office. I had long been contemplating the purchase, and its delivery brought on considerable excitement.
As soon as it arrived, I set about putting the desk together. To give myself more room to work, I decided to build the desk in my living room.
An hour later, the desk was complete. It looked spectacular. I could already picture it perfectly situated in my office.
Only one step was between me and a new era of productivity: moving the desk from the living room to the office.
This is where I’ll earn the scorn of more experienced furniture builders. When deciding to build the desk in the living room, I neglected to measure the width of the doorway to make sure the desk would fit.
To my luck, it was just slightly too narrow.
After spending a good ten minutes trying various angles to wiggle my desk through the doorway, I had to accept the inevitable.
The desk just wasn’t going to fit. No matter how creative I got, geometry was against me.
Another hour later, I had unbuilt the desk, moved it inside the office, and rebuilt it for a second time.
A frustrating situation? Absolutely. But I don’t regret it. It reminded me of an important lesson that applies to sales just as easily as it does to furniture building.
Nothing is going to change unless you try something new.
Sometimes, your business just gets stuck. No matter how hard you work, you just aren’t making any progress.
When this happens, the temptation is to double down on your efforts. Sometimes this works, but it makes things worse if it doesn’t.
Like a truck in the mud, spinning your wheels only worsens the problem. In the same way, business owners can exhaust and demoralize themselves and their team by trying to push the incorrect strategy forward.
If this is you, here’s how to break the cycle:
- Recognize the problem. It’s easy to attribute issues to external sources like the market, a competitor, or a bad year. You need to look at the root of your problems honestly. Sometimes it’s an unpleasant process, but it’s always worth it.
- Hit the brakes. Once you’ve identified a problem with your sales approach, stop. A day spent going down the wrong road is a day wasted. While the idea of slowing down business when you are already struggling may sound absurd, the last thing you want is to hurt morale by pursuing a flawed strategy.
- Don’t be afraid to walk away. Avoid the sunk cost fallacy. Abandoning the current path of your business is a tough decision. You might feel like you are back to square one with wasted effort. Remember though: truly wasted effort is pursuing a plan you KNOW doesn’t work.
- Go back to the drawing board. Now it’s time to create a new plan. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, an outside expert or your employees are an invaluable resource for new ideas.
- Full speed ahead. Once you have a new plan, it’s time to make up lost ground. If the business still isn’t moving forward, go back to step one!
Want advice about your specific situation? Let’s talk about your business today.
P.S. If you’re building a desk, make sure to measure the doorway first.