No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But this advice, which comes from the extensive experience of a true legendary marketer, Gary Halbert, could save you untold hours, stress, and money.
To my best recollection, Halbert (in his marketing “letter” years ago) recounted being at Jay Abraham’s seminar teaching marketing principles. A Chicago man and his partners were there to learn how to market their construction business product (new residential homes). Halbert was aware that the largest employer in the area, Sears, was about to leave town and that there were many, many homes already up for sale. He told these men that basically, their game was over in this region . . . that they should either move their business out of the Chicago area or go into a new and different business.
Halbert said these partners left the seminar in a huff, saying they hadn’t spent many thousands of dollars to hear this news from some idiot that didn’t understand what they had invested in their business.
Halbert went on to explain that part of business wisdom is knowing when it’s time to move on – when to quit because something about your business model or market has changed or run its course. [Side note: This is especially true today with technology and consumer preferences. Our world can change on a dime and it has in many ways over the past 1-3 years.]
It is business wisdom to understand this: failure to recognize change can be extremely costly.
Why do business owners cling tight to failing businesses? Ego? Denial of the facts? Pride? Or maybe they just don’t recognize the handwriting on the wall.
Yogi Berra, the philosopher, used to say “When it’s over, it’s over.” Pure business wisdom! (BTW, for you youngsters that don’t know the name, Berra was a funny outspoken all-star catcher for the NY Yankees back in the day)
Halbert’s point is especially appropriate for online business owners. How many times do business owners hear the advice given to struggling entrepreneurs online: “Just take massive action,” “Never give up,” “Think positively,” “Anything is possible if you believe,” and on and on . . . Halbert used the example of Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins telling the three foot midget to never loose sight of his dream to be an NBA star because “handicaps are nothing but opportunities in disguise!”
If you don’t see it yet, here’s Halbert’s point and my reason for sharing this post:
There is a fine line between being persistent to a fault, and recognizing when, as the business owner, you need to fold up the tent, cut your losses, and retool for a better business model. Sometimes outdated or nearly obsolete technology is to blame. Sometimes market preferences and sentiment changes. Sometimes money flows out of certain niches and into others. Sometimes your failing business model was never a good one from the start!
I remember Halbert joked about the typewriter repairman that refused to change occupations. Where is this occupation today?
As we move into the new year, take some time to consider your current business model. Is it still viable? Is there new technology or changing sentiment creeping into your niche? Are you informed about your changing marketplace? Those that see and anticipate change are usually the business winners.
Happy New Year to all of you!