Are you continously improving or getting worse?

By Mike Yates

I was reading an article recently about Tiger Woods who many people consider to be at the top of his game.  A remarkable fact about him, however, is that he has a coach (he has always had one).  He is taking constructive feedback from a golfer and coach that he could undoubtedly beat hands down.  So, the question you may be asking at this point is: ‘why’?  Well, I would hazard a guess that he has a coach for the reasons that all high performing individuals have one, namely:

1) Sometimes we’re just too close to the ‘coal face’ – namely we can’t see the ‘wood from the trees’ in our own businesses, and

2) If we are not getting better then we must be getting worse…

Consider this in your own business.  Are you ‘standing still’ in your business?  Or are you continuously striving to be your personal best through innovation and utilising the best technology has to offer? How effective is your customer service?

It has been said that in five years time 80% of the things we use in our day to day activities will be defunct and replaced with new technology (consider the last five years: how cars, household products, computer systems, mobile phones, the Internet and other technology have rapidly advanced, it really is quite incredible).

What steps are you taking within your business to continuously improve and develop your products and services?  Have you considered that you need improve at what you are doing or are you doing the same that you were doing this time last year?

Anticipation is one of the keys to running a successful business – staying one step ahead of your game.  One of the reasons businesses fail is down to the fact that they don’t go with change – they simply stay as they are or change slowly whilst everything in their field is changing at a much faster rate.  One day they suddenly realise the parameters in their industry have changed, the market has changed and they’re out of business.

Food for thought for you:

What is changing in your industry? What do you anticipate will happen in the next 12 months? The next five years? Thinking outside the box – how can you diversify your business for maximum growth that will keep you in the game?

What assumptions do you draw from this ‘top tip’ about your own business? Challenge any assumptions you make continuously.  What are you assuming that you consider is true that may not be true at all?  What could you change?

If you have trouble with creativity, then why not brainstorm ridiculous ideas on ways to diversify and improve your business?  Write down 50 ‘out of the box‘ ideas as fast as you can.  What happens if you get some really diverse ideas?  Would it surprise you to learn that these types of ideas have resulted in incredible breakthroughs.  I have a few favourite quotes where people have made assumptions in business based on their beliefs at the time.  These are all the more amazing when you see how the market has developed since.

Try this one for size: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

What assumptions have you made about your current market? From the earlier exercise: How many new ideas do you think you could work further with to improve your business?

This article is contributed by Mike Yates, Business Growth Specialist,

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