Is Your Business Suffering From Insanity?

I wrote a blog in January 2014 entitled What can Businesses Learn from Arsenal’s Striker Crisis. Little did I know that I would write a blog 2 and a half years later on a not too dissimilar theme.

Now, this blog is not about Arsenal, no matter how frustrated I am with our current plight following a disastrous opening day defeat against Liverpool. Nor is it a moan about the state of the transfer market. It’s more about insanity and how that relates to your business.

According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We see these patterns in every walk of society. It’s especially sad when we see repetitive behaviour from those suffering with addiction. But, this is not the blog to cover that particular topic.

We’re more concerned about business development, or more particularly, lack of it. That’s where businesses don’t make the changes necessary to make them successful and they fail to see what could be obvious if they were to take a big picture view. Now, as a lifelong Arsenal fan and season ticket holder, I’m frustrated. Like many fans, I’ve been frustrated for years. The club has the potential to be great once again. Yet the team experiences constant injuries (much more than the norm), the latest being Aaron Ramsey (yet again and after one game), Per Mertesacker and Gabriel. The last one of these injuries left the team playing two children at central defence against Liverpool. And guess what, we lost the game and conceded 4 goals.

I wrote, back in 2014, that Arsenal had a striker crisis in that the two strikers weren’t good enough. Where do we stand today? Two strikers that are not good enough! Not surprisingly therefore, last season Arsenal didn’t win The Premiership for the 10th consecutive year and failed to score sufficient goals to win the title.

Of course, I’m fully aware that there can only be one winner in any sport. However, the reality is that every Arsenal fan has been saying the same thing for years i.e. we get too many injuries and we need reinforcements in defence and attack. As a consequence, the club has gone backwards rather than moved forwards.

Now, there are no guarantees in football, or in business or in life in general. Buying new players and expensive transfer values don’t guarantee success in the same way as hiring a salesman on a super-salary won’t necessarily deliver your best client ever. But, it is fair to say that, inertia, lack of activity and constantly repeating the same errors certainly won’t deliver results.

The point is that this situation isn’t so dissimilar to when it comes to business development. Many organisations follow a well-trodden path. Some just exist and are happy like that, mid-table so to speak. Some try and fail. Sometimes, companies, especially smaller businesses, can be reluctant or afraid to try or do something different. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to ‘splash the cash’ and go wild by investing in every new marketing gimmick out there. Like in football, they need to analyse their strengths and weaknesses to work out what gaps exist. They need to look at their needs. They need to set viable goals based on their position in the market and their preparedness to invest for success. They also need to look at the opposition and see how they can succeed in an increasingly competitive  market.

And, every business needs to budget. Leeds United and Portsmouth are two good footballing examples where things can go drastically wrong if you don’t work within your means. They had short-term success but paid for their profligacy by relegation and both now languish in lower leagues.

Equally, you need to sensibly speculate to accumulate. You can be sure that your competitors will invest. They will target your customers. They will look to grow. And, if you rest on your laurels, you’ll risk going backwards, not standing still.

The question is what have you been lulled into that you repeat and repeat that doesn’t do what you need to make progress in your business? For example:

  • Are there staff issues you need to resolve, either with regard to management or recruitment?
  • Do you have unprofitable customers where you’d be better off divesting?
  • Have you allocated insufficient attention to key elements of your business?
  • Are there overdue areas for investment in either infrastructure or business development that you have put off for far too long and that could propel your business forward?
  • Have you been mistakenly reliant on certain areas of your business (people or marketing) to deliver results and growth?

Often, there are many areas where inertia reigns for too long. At GSA, we like change. We continuously look for new ways to improve, whether that’s in order to deliver better results from the lead generation activity we do for our clients or technology to improve our internal efficiency. Ultimately, looking at new ways to operate and confronting business issues, as opposed to burying your head in the sand, are key to ensuring that you hit your objectives.

So, if you’ve been sitting on your hands and procrastinating for too long and failing to take the decisions that could make all the difference, now is the time to change that approach. Don’t let your business development efforts fail through lack of ambition. Don’t let your team limp over the line. Don’t settle for scraps from the table of your stronger and more successful competitors. Don’t be like Arsenal at the beginning of the 2016/2017 season. And, let’s hope that by the end of August, the Arsenal board will have got off their hands, stuck them in their very wide pockets and plugged the gaps that will lead to their success.

GSA helps businesses become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns and also, with our experience, guide SME’s through the maze of marketing choices. We help them make the best choice and spend their budget wisely. If you’d like to know more, give us a call.

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