You’ve heard them said. There’s actually a good chance you’ve said them yourself a time or two. The problem is, these seven words are destroying your business and you might not even realize it. What are they, you ask?
“Because That’s How We’ve Always Done It.”
Status Quo, Status No
I get asked a lot why using tactics that have made companies successful thus far can be so detrimental going forward. It’s a complicated answer and usually comes down to the standard “It Depends”, but I figured I might as well crystalize my feelings on the topic in hopes it can help some of you out with similar feelings or resignations.
Lately it seems that “thinking outside the box” has been confined in a box of it’s own. Business owners say they want creative, cost-saving ways to reach the same ends, but the problem with that thinking is that you still reach the same ends and most things have been thought of already. You’re still inside the box.
What most companies need is a complete set of new Prime Directives for every department, but mindsets are a lot harder to change than toolsets.
So what’s the answer? The new answers always come from asking different questions, so let’s look at changing the questions we’re asking.
What Business Are You In?
Sounds pretty simple, right? You, as a business owner or personal brand should know exactly what business you’re in. You’ve succeeded up until now, after all.
The root of most issues stemming from the That’sHowWe’veAlwaysDoneIt-itus come from an incorrect answer to this question, though. If you don’t understand the business you are actually in, it’s almost impossible to anticipate or grasp the shifts needed to take along the way.
The railroads failed because they refused to budge from the mindset that they were in the railroad business and rather in the transportation business. Western Union has rallied and stuck around because they realized they weren’t in the telegraph business, but rather in the long-distance communication business. Personally, I’m in the storytelling and experience-creating business. I may focus on social media and deal with analytic reports and social strategies, but when it comes right down to it, no matter the tools, I’m going to find a way to help my clients tell stories and create experiences for their customers.
So, I’ll ask again, what business are you in?
It’s Not A Mechanics Problem, It’s A Mindset Problem
At this point in the conversation it’s inevitable that some of you are thinking I’m telling you change is necessary for survival. While on the surface this may be true (times change, people change, technology changes, blah, blah, blah), what I’m really hoping is that mindsets are investigated rather than tactic lists.
The problem with always saying “Because that’s how we’ve always done it” isn’t that you’re fond of the way things have been done successfully, it’s the mindset that says we don’t need to explore new things. Companies that thrive are ones that always have their eye in the present and future, but also understand when to adopt new tools and when to stick the standards.
When is that, you ask? Here are 3 questions to ask when you’re considering doing something “because that’s the way you’ve always done it”:
- Will this benefit my customers? Especially when dealing with new social media tools, always consider the impact they’ll have on your communications with your audience. Will things be easier or more fluid? Will you be more engaged or simply more busy?
- Will this benefit my bottom line? I know we like to only focus on the warm, fuzzy parts of social media like engagement and unicorns, but the bottom line matters too. If the tool doesn’t have the potential to bring in new business or increase loyalty with current subscribers, look for other tools that might do the same things AND help your bottom line. Also, if there isn’t a tool that will, consider looking into the possibility of creating one. I’ll bet you’re not the only person with that issue.
- Am I already doing this? One thing that’s really easy to get caught up in with regards to social media is the “shiny object syndrome”. It’s really easy to find a tool that has some neat features and get all verklempt over it without realizing you’re already utilizing the functions in other ways and merely wasting your time. Try to look past features and really focus on the uses of whatever tool you may be reviewing.
Do you find yourself saying those 7 words in your business or hear others saying them around you? What downsides have you seen come from their use? Are their other questions that need to be taken into account when dealing with new avenues of social business?