I’ve lost my shirt twice in business during a career that will span 46 years (blimey) on 1st September.
Both times it was because I and others refused to face a reality that was staring us in the face – that the business we were involved in was financially broken, past the point of recovery, ready to be taken to the knacker’s yard and shot to end the misery. Why? Because the “big idea” wasn’t taking off as quickly as predicted.
I’ve spoken before about the inability of entrepreneurs to fail quickly enough, sometimes insisting that their unfalsifiable hypothesis will eventually be proven true if they just keep going.
A sign of deteriorating leadership is the point-blank refusal to accept negative feedback, always ready with a reason why, eager to blame others, with that “solution just around the corner” fanaticism that is a harbinger of doom.
There is a paradox here though, because we also read stories about innovators who persevered, who were deaf to the doubters and whose ideas did eventually catch fire.
So how do you distinguish between an Edsel and an Apple? Between Google+ and Facebook?
We are aware that, in the adoption cycle, there is a perilous gap between innovation and early adoption. The moment of truth when the innovators have accumulated enough evidence to convince the early adopters to part with some money and buy our stuff.
The innovators have a high risk profile and will take your word for it because they trust, respect and like you.
The early adopters want to see some hard evidence but, when it is presented clearly, they will jump on board.
That’s why we need case studies to show the innovators’ results to the early adopters.
The early adopters won’t just take our word for it, even though they like us.
For me, a case study is a happy dental client telling the story of how working with me made the difference.
For you, a case study is a patient video testimonial telling the story of how working with you changed their life.
Without those case studies, we are just another noise in the cacophony of big ideas.
Marketing isn’t your stuff, marketing is the difference that your stuff makes.
I’m launching a new Coach Barrow web site in September (with the help of the good folks at Dental Focus) and collecting case studies to showcase my client’s successes.
Incidentally, I’ve had two amazing successes in business as well so, as I enter year 47 of my working life, the score is even – and there is still plenty to play for in extra time.
It may go to penalties.
Last Saturday, Michael Gerber (with whom I co-authored The E-Myth Dentist) celebrated his 80th birthday – by live streaming the launch of his new coaching programme.
That inspires me and indicates that, any time in the next 17 years you think you might benefit from working with a business coach to get your big idea off the ground (or tell you it sucks before you lose your money) – pop me an email and I’d be happy to chat.
I’d like to be the catalyst is some more big success stories before I’m done.
Need a hand?