Have you ever noticed while driving that if your mobile phone falls from you dashboard, you tend to get so much worked up? You lose focus on the driving, you tend to become anxious and most often than not you tend to try and reach down – while still driving – and try and retrieve the phone, jeopardising yourself, your passengers and every one else on the road!
In most cases, you are worried that your shiny new phone may have been scratched or worse. But the act has already happened. It is would not make much of a difference picking up the phone urgently. Yes, it could perhaps move around and bang around a bit. But does that justify the risk you take by trying to bend down to pick it up?
If think about it, this is what we also tend to do in life and business. If something bad happens, the natural tendency is to obsesses over it and spend a lot of time and effort trying to fix that bit. In some cases, this is a required reaction – for the survival of the business. But in most cases, the strength of your reaction could end up ignoring other aspects of your business.
For example, in 2012, when one of my business websites was badly effected by Google’s Panda update, my immediate reaction was to obsess over the lost rankings and I spent almost 10 months on a single track of trying to regain the lost rankings. This ended up having enormous opportunity cost on my business as a whole. Had I stepped back a little and thought through the business strategy and not had a knee-jerk reaction, it would have been clear to me that building the brand in other ways would be the key to success. In fact that is what I did in 2013 and that business has reached new heights – entirely non-dependent on Google or rankings!
Of course hind site is 20/20. When you are faced with a tough situation in business where some thing has gone wrong, it is hard to remain calm and step back. In fact nature expects you to panic and run around like a headless chicken.
When sales drop, the most common and the most dangerous reaction that most business owners tend to have is to reduce prices and offer heavy discounts in the hopes of attracting more sales. But does it not make sense to find out the root cause of the drop in sales? Of course, if the cause is some thing like the 2008 global economic crisis or a natural disaster etc, the situation is not as simple as I describe it. But in most cases, it would be some thing directly related to or proportional to decisions that you may be making on a daily basis.
For example, a friend of mine has a highly successful online t-shirt design company. Growth was good and he was getting tremendous sales from his social media efforts and his authority online. Sales increase meant more admin and supply chain related work. My friend wanted to save some money and rather than hire a dedicated person to handle that side of things, he did them himself. He did save a bit of money. But the opportunity cost was that eventually his social media efforts started to thin out and as a result his sales were effected. His reaction was to start reducing prices and offering discounts. At one point he was losing money on every sale. This spiralled into a death spin and he had to close down the business. Sounds quite dramatic but it is a true story!
You need to think about the big picture when you are confronted with an issue both in life and business. Priorities and business lessons learnt in the past are critical and you should be able to decide which ones are important to the overall wellbeing of yourself or your business.