change is inevitable
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Change is Inevitable

When I worked in Corporate America in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I had an amazing executive coach who I worked with for ten years.

One of the things we focused on was how to deal with change, cuz at that point, I was dealing with at least two layoffs in three years. I often joked that I’d become a professional interviewer.

The one quote that always stuck in my head about that time frame was, “Change is inevitable.”

This is true, not just for your personal life. This is also true for your business.

I guarantee over the course of your business. It will morph and change as you do.

Why is that?

My theory is that if you’re hanging out with me for a few minutes on these Thursday eNewsletters, you love to learn and grow, which inevitably leads to change.

I often quote, “If you’re not growing, your dying.” And this tried and true one – “change is hard.” Hmmm…

This all came to mind as I shopped online back in February to replace some worn-out turtle necks. (We had five snowstorms after all – my neck gets cold!) That’s when the frustration started cuz the same place I always buy them now has more than five different types of turtlenecks – whaaat?

So, I decided it was a good idea to share with you some observations (and frustrations) of what happens when your business grows and changes and the impact it has on your current dream clients and attracting new ones…

Let’s start with my used-to-be favorite, tried, and true turtleneck company and then continue from there with some other examples.

And this is where I’m continually asking this question –Did any of these companies consult their power buyers before they made these changes?)

Lands End – I always loved their turtle necks. In the winter, I always wear them when I walk and hike. Well, it had been a while since I bought new ones. And now they have waaaay too many types to choose from. (Almost as bad as all the different types of jeans you can buy. Do we really need all those different fits? Or am I just sounding like a middle-aged person who’s stuck in the fashion from the 90s and 2000s? Please tell me I’m not the only one!) 

Why are there so many different kinds? And why can’t I just get the one I always get? I ended up ordering a few and hated them all. Sent them back. They didn’t fit right. I didn’t like the stretchy material – what happened to cotton? Now what? I need to find a new place to get them.

Why did they make this change? How are they dealing with their aging customers? Why don’t they have a chart and explain the differences between all the turtle necks? Because of this, they lost a LONG time customer. I wonder if they even know that, track that, or even care? Hmmm.

Snagit – I used this software all the time to mark up web pages for clients and to create and edit graphics – it was SO stupid easy to use. I just got the latest version, and I’m just gonna say – It sucks! They’ve made it SO COMPLICATED. I feel like I’m trying to learn how to use Photoshop again. I’m so disappointed. It took me 30 minutes to do something it used to take me 5 mins – sheesh.

I wonder who thought it would be a good idea to make all these changes? Did some genius tech geek run amock? And again, I wonder what other long-time users like me think about this.

Zoom – I don’t like saying this – but – Zoom is becoming a bit like Snagit. They are just packing stuff in there now. I just got an email about their email system (How ironic, right?!) They’re launching way more tools too. I’m not saying I don’t like this or it’s not the right thing to do. I’m sharing cuz I wonder at what point are they complicating and watering down their brand and doing too much? I get it. You want to create new ways to increase your revenue. Yet, at some point, who says too much is just too much?

EverNote – I do love this app and have been a power user from the beginning. They’ve made some vast innovations and now trying to be more like Notes meets Slack software. I’m not thrilled, yet it doesn’t get in my way. AND, they did something pretty cool – they invited me to test the beta version and give them my opinion – YES, this is definitely going in the right direction. However, I’m still miffed they changed how to insert photos in notes – they made it way more complicated, especially when you’re at a conference or on the run.

Polo Shirts – One of the things I love about Polo shirts was they always fit me well, and I liked how the back of the shirt always had a bit of “tail” that I could leave out or tuck in. I needed to get some new colors, and the spring sales were pretty good. Yet, after one wash, the shirt shrunk so badly that the “tail” barely covered the top of my pants. I wonder if Polo even knows or realizes this. Maybe it’s because of the fabric. Or maybe it’s the new craze, like having “slimmer” Polo shirts?

Again, does Polo truly know its audience? Are they intentionally making these changes to go after a younger audience and forget us middle-agers? Hmmm. What I do know is our age group has more money. So I wonder if they’re even consulting with their power buyers on the changes they keep planning to make.

Running Shoes – Let’s not even go there about how I’m attached to my favorite shoe, and they discontinue it – now, what shoe do I wear? Why do they do that? Talk about frustrating. (I’m going to talk about this in next week’s eNewsletter from a unique perspective, along with more lessons that will help your business. 🙂

One of the biggest lessons here I want to share with you is –– When you’re making ANY changes in your business, whether it’s your products, services, courses, etc., ALWAYS ask yourself:

How are you determining the changes?
– What business data are you using to guide you to make a change?
– Has your dream client/customer changed?

– What will your dream clients/customers think of these changes? (Ask them beforehand.)

Of the companies above – I’m hoping they all track their customer data with their sales, especially people who’ve bought over time. And that’s why they’re making the decisions that they have.

One of the things I did for a client a while back asked them to give me stats on their sales 
by highest to lowest by product, course, etc. Then by customers.

We culled all the customers spending the most money and reached out to them to give them a survey and ask them if they’d be willing to provide us feedback over time. This changed everything, and their sales increased tremendously.

By connecting with their power dream customers, it did three things:
  • The “power” dream customers felt appreciated for being recognized as a customer who spent (invested) a lot of money in the products.
  • They felt important because not only did we ask for their feedback, we invited them on for a short period to give us some specific feedback on products.
  • They felt more loyal to the brand like they were part of an elite club. This solidified them to continue wanting to be a “power” customer and give us feedback. Aka – MORE Sales.

Are you consulting with your “power” clients/customers? Or, at the very least, give them a survey or simple questions to answer.

When you create something new, are you running it by your best clients/customers?

One thing I know is creating a new product, course, or service it’s never good to do it in a vacuum.

Some other strategic Ideas:

Innovation is always a terrific idea. Yet, in the above examples, how is this serving the customer in the long run? Or is it?

Bernadette Jiwa said in her book Meaningful, which inspired me to write this: “No business thrives unless it creates a difference for people willing to exchange money, time, or loyalty for the value that difference brings to their lives.”Hmmmmmm.
Yeah, it all boils down to REALLY knowing AND understanding WHO your dream client/customer is.

What are their hopes and dreams, and how will what you create fit into their lives? How will it help them overcome their frustrations, add value and make a difference in their lives?

Understand how your end product or service will impact your dream client’s lives, and then go create or innovate that award-winning or best-selling product, book, course, or service and market and sell em like hotcakes!

You got this 🙂 promise, I’m right there with you on this journey.

Quote I’m Pondering:
“What companies and entrepreneurs sometimes forget is that the purpose of innovation is not simply to make new, improved products and services.; it is to make things that are meaningful to the people who use them” ~ Bernadette Jiwa, Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly.

What I’m Reading:
Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly by Bernadette Jiwa Meaningful

Latest Book Review:
Marketing A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers by Bernadette Jiwa

Weekly Photos:
This week was about enjoying the sun and no wet weather for several days. Got some good moments on the deck. Of course, Emma is the star of this week. She’s so darn photogenic! Then I found Mr. or Ms. Snail on one of my walks in the neighborhood.

And, of course, I’m still finding heart-shaped rocks EVERYWHERE! I’m thinking about putting up a website – I already bought the domain name! 🙂

Yep, that’s me in a nutshell, or dare I say, “snail shell.” Yeah, I said it…

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NOTE:  A terrific example of how your work/business can grow and change over time.

Remember when you started working? How has the trajectory of your work changed over time – where your income came from?

Here’s a terrific work timeline I just came across that perfectly sheds some light on how some of us bounce around after college and delve into many things for work, including being the ultimate entrepreneur in the end.

Anna David started out writing for magazines and many other interesting jobs until she became an entrepreneur creating a pretty stellar business after publishing many best-selling books.

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