There are only two ways to improve your business and increase bottom line success. (No, they’re not “the hard way and the easy way”; you’ve been watching too many cop shows.)
- Keep doing what you’re doing, but do it better
- Start doing new stuff–stuff that’s new to you and possibly to everyone else
These are the only two options for moving forward, regardless of your field of business or profession, of craft or of art.
Let me take a moment to define my terms.
The “doing what I’m doing, but doing it better” (or, if you prefer, “start sucking less”) approach includes reducing errors, eliminating waste, streamlining processes, making your interfaces more user friendly, and work diligently to master the “craftsmanship” aspect of your business.
The “doing new stuff” approach includes creative leaps and disruptive innovation, as well as brand extensions and expansions into new territories and new categories of business.
Amazon.com: Sucking the suck out of commerce…
Amazon.com has become an unstoppable force in part because of the amazing amount of suck they have sucked out of the status quo of how eCommerce–commerce in general, for that matter–is carried out. Inventory that is accurate and up to the minute. Deliveries that actually ship on time. An unhackable and incredibly fast website. A streamlined returns process designed from the customer’s perspective. Automated warnings that prevent customers from making accidental duplicate orders, or from ordering gifts that would arrive after Christmas. And much more.
…while making creative leaps by avoiding the “in-box mentality”
In fact, Amazon’s attention to removing what was bad about their processes and procedures has been so obsessive and effective that it provides plenty on which to base and sustain a thriving business. But Amazon is also relentless in take a “doing new stuff” approach: stepping out of an “in-box mentality,” as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos puts it. Expansions like their moves into publishing (CreatesSpace, etc). Innovative leaps like their Emmy-nominated video productions. Applied creativity like Frustration-Free Packaging.
(A note about this last example. If you’re keeping score at home, you may recognize that Frustration-Free Packaging could also fit into the “making things suck less” category, since it’s a fabulous fix for the terrible status quo–blister packs–that predated it. Point taken; these two approaches do often overlap; there’s no Chinese, or Trump-like, wall between them.)
There is no “one better way” of these two approaches. Depending and the stage and nature of your business, and on the competitive landscape, success is likely to depend on deploying both. And it’s definitely worth thinking about how much time you spend working in–even thinking in–each area.
Are you all about solving problems and making small improvements, leaving no time in your calendar for exploration—or even, speaking mentally, for daydreaming? Or are you all about looking for the next big thing, the “new new thing,” as Michael Lewis calls it? It’s worth getting these questions onto your radar, even though there’s no entirely right or entirely wrong answer here.
This article was written by Micah Solomon from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.