GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski
By definition, the approach that made you successful will become less successful over time and, eventually, will run out of gas. This fundamental is not about you or your approach, rather it’s about the nature of competition and evolution. There’s an energy that causes everything to change, grow and improve and your success attracts that energy. The environment changes, the people change, the law changes and companies come into existence that solve problems in better and more efficient ways. Left unchanged, every successful business endeavor (even yours) has a half-life.
If you want to extend the life of your business endeavor, you’ve got to be novel.
By definition, if you want to grow, you’ve got to raise your game. You’ve got to do something different. You can’t change everything, because that’s inefficient and takes too long. So, you’ve got to figure out what you can reuse and what you’ve got to reinvent.
If you want to grow, you’ve got to be novel.
Being novel is necessary, but expensive. And risky. And scary. And that’s why you want to add just a pinch of novelty and reuse the rest. And that’s why you want to try new things in the smallest way possible. And that’s why you want to try things in a time-limited way. And that’s why you want to define what success looks like before you test your novelty.
Some questions and answers about being novel:
Is it easy to be novel? No. It’s scary as hell and takes great emotional strength.
Can anyone be novel? Yes. But you need a good reason or you’ll do what you did last time.
How can I tell if I’m being novel? If you’re not scared, you’re not being novel. If you know how it will turn out, you’re not being novel. If everyone agrees with you, you’re not being novel.
How do I know if I’m being novel in the right way? You cannot. Because it’s novel, it hasn’t been done before, and because it hasn’t been done before there’s no way to predict how it will go.
So, you’re saying I can’t predict the outcome of being novel? Yes.
If I can’t predict the outcome of being novel, why should I even try it? Because if you don’t, your business will go away.
Okay. That last one got my attention. So, how do I go about being novel? It depends.
That’s not a satisfying answer. Can you do better than that? Well, we could meet and talk for an hour. We’d start with understanding your situation as it is, how this current situation came to be, and talk through the constraints you see. Then, we’d talk about why you think things must change. I’d then go away for a couple of days and think about things. We’d then get back together and I’d share my perspective on how I see your situation. Because I’m not a subject matter expert in your field, I would not give you answers, but, rather, I’d share my perspective that you could use to inform your choice on how to be novel.
Image credit: Unsplash
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