The Fork in the Road

I truly do apologize for not updating this in nearly a year. I’ve had issues with the .net and .com domains being split and running separate versions of the site. The good news is that I do have tons of posts, and I will be updating for frequently. Again, I apologize.

I’ve been thinking for a few days about some things that friends and colleagues have been saying for the past few months. They’ve been talking, well mostly complaining, about how the shifts in technology, media, and generally speaking modern culture have destroyed their businesses they businesses’ profit center. I know they’re not the only ones. They’ve just hit a fork in the road.

The world is moving faster and faster every day. We can’t just walk, or jog anymore and expect to keep up. Running is a must now. The point that I’m trying to get at, is that there comes a time when a business has to look at where it’s revenues are coming from, and double down on what’s working, and looking for fruit on the tree that you may have missed before. It’s sounds really simple, but you’ll be amazed how many people don’t see it. There’s many reasons for why people can miss it, but the most common one that I hear when I meet with people, is that they get caught up in the “we are a [blank] company” mentality. They’ve essentially given up in their mind, or they are just unwilling to acknowledge that they’re too lazy to change.

When you do hit a fork in the road, and you have to make a decision to shift, here’s a few things to ask yourself:

  • What’s working?  Why is it working? Is this a fad, or is there an undercurrent here that’s going to lead to a bigger shift?
  • Be careful with that last one. Don’t judge too early. Do your homework, and get feedback. There’s all kinds of people out there that have discounted social networking, mobile technology, or that people just don’t behave in a certain way any more, because they dismissed the shifts as fads, not undercurrents.

  • What’s not working? Is it just us, or is everyone else getting hit too? What’s going on in the market that may be causing this?
  • The real danger on that last one is to fool yourself into thinking that something is temporary, when it’s actually a trend towards something more permanent.

  • What are we really good at? What are out core assets?
  • Technologies change, and so do platforms. The companies that shift successfully are always the ones that think about what they are good at in abstract and intangible ways. Essentially it’s the difference between being able to design an good logo, versus being very good at branding.