Feeling like your business is running like a well-oiled machine? You are always listening for a client’s need. All your hard work has paid off, your network is immense, your client base is diverse, your staff is happy and hardworking, and most importantly, profits are substantial. Business is booming! Now is definitely not the time to get comfortable!  There is always room for improvement in any business. Even yours!  

I once had a client who was convinced he reached the pinnacle of his success. He was bringing in more money than he ever expected. He was working so many transactions, he began to pick and choose which new proposals he would work on. Then, he got too comfortable. Too cocky in his success. He figured he had it made, and he let his ego prevent him from seeing that he was in a business that needed to keep growing, keep developing, keep improving. He thought he had it figured out and he was perfectly comfortable thinking things would never change. When he quit advancing in his skills, his business greatly suffered. 

Maybe it’s time to swallow a big dose of humility and recognize there are always improvements to be made. Evaluate and determine which areas of your business you can advance in and develop further. Whether you are an entrepreneur running your own show or a CEO of a major corporation, be willing to examine and see what you might need to let go or what you might need to embrace.  

Speaking of letting go… My friend Scott runs his own business and has done well for years. He’s a one-man show and didn’t really tend to seek opinions of others that often. Last year, in an attempt to grow further, he started implementing a new marketing outreach strategy. He started sending mailers out to people in the area trying to promote a new product. 

Well, Scott’s strategy didn’t work. But instead of accepting this, he just kept pushing it harder. He was more dedicated to the idea than recognizing the reality. He kept sending more mailers, bigger ones with brighter colors but this proved unsuccessful. The company spent a couple of months continuing to focus on the wrong strategy and watching their sales plummet.  

One day, he found himself in the breakroom chatting with a new sales rep named Daniel. And, it was Daniel that opened his eyes. Scott asked Daniel how he was liking the company and how sales were going. Daniel was brave enough to see this as an opportunity to ‘sell himself’ to the big boss and share an idea. He explained that his sales were suffering because of part of Scott’s strategy that he was so married to. He talked about the power of social media and the simple way the company could market to a specific demographic with ease and little cost. Instead of wasting resources filling mailboxes with shiny paper that most people don’t look at anymore, social media marketing could capture people’s attention immediately. Scott was impressed by the young man’s courage to be honest and astounded by his ability to see the big picture. 

That same day, he invited the young man to his office and brainstormed a new product launch plan. He called a companywide meeting and acknowledged that what he was doing wasn’t working.  

Not only did Daniel’s new strategy work, Scott’s way of handling it opened up an environment that encouraged teamwork. Once his staff witnessed his humility at his failings, they felt valued and began truly respecting him, and each other. This was a major turning point for his company. Since then, his business has continued to grow, and Scott has learned to foster an environment that values people and new ideas. 

Scott abandoned his own idea for something better. He was able to stop his own ego from preventing the success of his business. So, how can you recognize areas of need in an otherwise successful business in order to further your future success? 

Communicate with your staff! I can’t stress this enough. Be available and receptive to those who work with you. Don’t just receive any feedback they have to offer but solicit it! Remember, they see a perspective you often don’t. There is a benefit there! Pour gratitude into your people and communicate they are a significant part of your business. Keep your staff motivated and excited about what you do. A team that’s valued for their unique skill sets is a team that flourishes.   

Stay current and don’t get comfortable. Celebrate accomplishments, but then use those to propel you forward. Keep striving for improvement. Always be looking for ways to advance. Maybe you are at the top of your sales division or leading the market in your field. But don’t get comfortable at the perception of being the best. Blockbuster once controlled the market on video rentals. And then trends changed drastically, and video stores became a thing of the past. The market is always changing. Be ready to change with it. Or, even better, be the company that leads the market into change! 

Don’t forget about your clients. You do what you do for the people! Are you listening to what they want? You may have had your most successful year but are the needs of your clients beginning to change? Are you ready to change with them? Always remember, in sales, you aren’t selling, you are serving people. When client needs are shifting, shift with them! Maintain that win-win scenario that keeps them coming back. 

The bottom line is, listen. Listen to your co-workers, your clients, the market and even your competitors. Stay current. Stay open to new ideas and never stop evaluating. Keep your business growing, developing and evolving, and maintain that constant state of success!