The Worst Kind of Opportunity
As any entrepreneur, small business owner, marketing, or business development professional would know, the world is filled with opportunities. Every conversation, introduction, new trend, and customer request are all opportunities to improve, win new business, sell more, add more value…right? Not so fast. While it is important to be flexible, iterating on an idea or adjusting plans on the fly, it is equally, if not more important to make sure you are not actually pursuing a distraction. Distractions are the worst kind of opportunity. They have the potential to detract your campaign, confuse your brand message and positioning, and drain resources due to the need to support this new opportunity (aka distraction).
Marketing guru Seth Godin, known for writing brilliant, concise pieces of wisdom, recently wrote this article about focus. In the article, he states:
“Trying to please everyone will water down your efforts, frustrate your forward motion and ultimately fail.”
Examples abound of companies and campaigns failing because they tried to be all things to all people. However, this isn’t purely limited to major catastrophes. We experience this every day in small, seemingly harmless scenarios too. One great example is the client who wants to add one last feature to their web or mobile application, because this represents the way someone will want to use their product. We have to work to ensure that this doesn’t detract from the primary group of users that the client is targeting. Distractions (masked as opportunities) present themselves regularly in our own marketing and business development efforts. We constantly have to remind ourselves of what we do well and who we are best suited to serve. Focusing on that group allows us to provide the best possible experience to those clients. Whenever we try and stretch ourselves out in order to accommodate a new client relationship, it spreads our resources thin and both parties risk getting hurt.
Further, Godin writes:
“The balancing act is to work to please precisely the right people, and just enough of them, to get your best work out the door.”
I literally could not have said it better myself. While we think an opportunity might be ours for the taking, remembering to focus on pleasing the right people as opposed to all people is crucial for us to form a successful relationship. Have you experienced the worst kind of opportunity? We would love to hear from you!