Markets (‘needs’ or positions/opportunities to sell into in business) are like icebergs.
At first, you see just a small indication of what might be possible.
Peeping above the surface of the water.
Then, when you investigate further you may find that the market – or the iceberg – is much bigger.
Below the surface.
This is great news.
Because you might just have found something around which to build a business.
However, there’s a downside to icebergs.
This is important to remember.
That what worked ‘then’ may not work ‘now’.
Not in the exact same form, anyhow.
It is a well known fact (I say ‘fact’ because I value this next point way beyond mere ‘opinion’) that it is the brand who knows best how to evolve that lasts longest.
Indeed Darwin applies this theory to the survival of species.
Not mere businesses.
Trends come and go.
Consumers don’t necessarily want the same things tomorrow that they crave today.
They change their minds.
Or, more specifically these days with the proliferation of messaging (both real and fake) – their minds get changed for them.
Massive choice and messaging does that.
If you think that the iceberg upon which you built a business might be melting, there are a set of people that are worse than useless to you.
Here they are:
- Existing ‘core customers’.
They won’t tell you the truth, you see.
Not because they are bad people.
It’s because they don’t know the truth.
They can only tell you their truth.
Which is a mixture of sincere love for what you do and who you are, nostalgia and a desire to see what you do endure.
They want you to be happy.
They want you to be alright.
And that’s why, perversely, they are worse than shite when it comes to feedback and advice at these tricky times.
They will get you to throw good money after bad.
They won’t tell you that you need to start again.
Or that you are becoming deluded.
Or that your silly, pointless, meddling step-change management approach is utter shit.
And that – instead – you must revolutionise all that you are and do to merely survive.
(If indeed there is anything to save).
And build from there.
And they certainly won’t tell you that your short-sightedness and internal pride is killing you.
In summary, you need outsiders at important and tricky times in business.
Good outsiders, though.
Talented outsiders that can help you to regroup, regain perspective and become strong again.
You must choose them wisely and you must be prepared to listen.
I have helped people in this way for years with ANGELFYSH of course.
But I only choose to help those that want to be helped these days.
Those that rock back in their chairs and have the bravery and the humility to admit – to themselves – that they might have stopped looking beneath the surface of the water.
That they are in trouble.
Those that admit that all they are looking at is the tiny percentage of the business that wooed them in the first place.
The once seductive tip of the iceberg.
Poking above the surface of the water.
The outsider will tell you how stupid this is.
And that they must stop.
And they must listen.
Because if they don’t, they will not be looking at just the tip of the iceberg because that’s where they choose to look.
They will be looking at just the tip of the iceberg because that is all that’s left.