How not to fail in business

Why do some businesses succeed while others fail? It’s a question many ask. I think about it all the time as it relates to public relations. It’s a tough, fast-paced environment we operate in, and you have to be at peak performance each and every day.  

So, what’s the secret?  It’s simple: adapting to the ever-changing needs of your customers or clients. The pace of change in technology and our culture has never been faster. It’s like a rushing river. You either paddle faster and adapt to the rapids, bends, and turns, or you get washed away by the uncontrollable current. 

This sometimes runs contrary to human nature. We like the comfort zone. It’s stable and we tend to know what’s around the corner. We don’t have to work as hard to keep up. It’s predictable. 

But, by approaching change with optimism, you can experience the thrill and excitement of success. Yes, it can be scary and laden with anxiety. But change can also be exhilarating.   

We dealt with this recently at Truscott Rossman when my partner Kelly Rossman-McKinney decided to retire. We were a great team and had a lot of fun together, but she caught the political bug and decided to run for public office. This forced significant change on our entire team and me. It forced us to adapt, get out of our comfort zone and tackle the change head on. 

How many of you sit in the same pew every week at church, or gravitate to the same chair in the conference room? It’s easy and comfortable. You subconsciously think “this is my chair or my spot.” You’re taken aback if someone invades “your space.” But changing up the place of your seat can also change your perspective on life and work. You can develop different and better ideas with a different outlook. Your clients expect it – so you better deliver.  

This is where it gets exciting. I’m sure you’ve done some great work for a client and they showered you with their appreciation. It feels good to know your hard work was noticed. More importantly, you likely made a positive difference for that client. Isn’t that the crux of the entrepreneurial spirit? We all want to make a difference for our clients. When they win, we win too. 

But if you just plod along doing the same thing, you’ll probably get run over by your competition. And this is how some businesses fail.  

I can get frustrated just like everyone else, but I truly enjoy seeing the positive and optimistic side of people and situations. Why bother being negative anyway – you’ll just be a drag on others.   

Do you want to shop at a store that has messy displays and a surly workforce? I bet you’re not likely to return, and hence the downward spiral begins. On the other hand, if you’ve felt the business’ energy, such as at an Apple store, you’re likely to look forward to going back to buy something again and again. 

Bottom line – your opportunities for success dramatically increase with a positive approach oriented toward client focused change. We know that success often begets more success.   

So tomorrow, take a different route to work. Sit in a different seat in the conference room. And let your mind create a positive difference for your client one idea at a time. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can innovate – and success will follow.