Thursday, September 17, 2015

Business distractions

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     Business distractions can lead you to more expansion and growth. Or they can lead you down paths that are detrimental to your business.

     Example: Jeff is a photographer. He has built up his business providing product shots for other businesses and corporations. He enjoyed a good and expanding reputation among clients, and referrals came in at a good pace. A friend of Jeff approached him to do some special photography--of a wedding and the reception. As a favor to his friend, Jeff agreed. It was a mistake. The job took Jeff beyond his comfort zone and expertise. In addition, the timing caused Jeff to forego an assignment for a major corporation. Plus, the friend became very demanding in follow-up. Jeff learned a valuable lesson--you cannot be all things to all people, even if they are good friends. He learned to avoid business distractions. 

     Example: Susan operates a hair salon. She was asked by one of her customers to help with a fund-raiser for a local charity. She agreed, and she was good at it. That success brought more townspeople to her door, asking her to help with other community efforts. Susan was suddenly overwhelmed with projects that took more and more of her time. While she enjoyed these philanthropic undertakings, her business suffered. She realized that she must rein in the community efforts in favor of running her own business. She resigned from the committees that were sapping too much of her time, and she began concentrating on the salon again. Susan put a business distraction in its proper place. She still helps out with community efforts, but keeps these distractions in check. 

     Example: Linda is a fiber artist who concentrates on making women's hats. The hats sell very well, especially those Linda decorates with pins she creates using pieces of satin and velvet, buttons and bows, and other things, including silk flowers. Customers began asking to buy the pins separately, leaving the hats behind. Linda faced a business decision. Is the market saying that the appeal for hats is ending? Or is the market saying that her future is in selling pins? Which one is the market distraction going forward? Linda decided to test the market by continuing to offer hats without pins, and she would sell pins separately--adding the pin selected by the customer. It worked out well for Linda who now makes more income for, in many cases, the same product. She solved a business distraction by segmenting the market, increasing her income in the process.

     Business distractions can sometimes point the way to a healthier business model. Other times, you can chase distractions at the expense of your business. 

     When a distraction presents itself in your business, get into your analysis mode. The marketplace is your guiding light. Rework your business plan.   

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