Foresight means success is less about knowing you’re right, and more about taking steps to ensure you’re not proven dangerously wrong after you decide.
For instance, pundits and professionals usually can’t agree on the state of the market and where the economy is headed, but if you’re certain you want to become a business owner, or you feel ready to move on from this business and into the next, go for it.
That’s not encouragement to “jump in over your financial head,” or to go against obvious economic or social warning signs in your industry or area.
This is encouragement to take a close look at exactly what is more uncertain than usual, and to protect yourself against often-overlooked start-up and growth challenges.
Part one of remorse-free decision making is to search out the most knowledgeable, committed professionals, or business team, with proven experience and success addressing the issues you face and achieving the results you want. Don’t just Google™ and go for the best online presentation. Ask for referrals from those who have successfully taken the jump already, including those who track your industry. Interview a few possibilities voice-to-voice and face to face. Dig deep into their knowledge base with your questions to see where value lies for you.
Part two of remorse-avoidance is to ask a lot of questions and listen to the professional advice about local market and business patterns and how they are changing. Then, evaluate this information. Become your own best advocate since you can’t afford to be led into a deal. but lead yourself. Self-leadership means becoming an active force in making informed decisions.
5 Foresight Strategies for Avoiding Hindsight Remorse
1. More Certain Than Uncertain
Nobody knows for sure. Whenever you, or anybody you rely on, thinks they know for certain what is happening in any market, you’re in trouble. Everybody is smart in hindsight. Beforehand, business success is less about knowing you’re right, and more about foresight—taking steps to be sure you’re not proven dangerously wrong after the deal. Be reasonably sure going in—at least 53%…more certain, than uncertain—and cover your financial and professional vulnerability. Then, you’ve got a good chance things will work out and that you can recover quickly for clients and yourself if they’re off a bit.
2. Own Your Market
Whose market is it anyway? Online and off, economists and pundits make sweeping statements about “the economy.” These experts speak in generalities. You must deal in specifics—a specific target market for your business start-up or market shift. In reality, business success can be as local as a retail outlet on one side of the street over the other, or as market relevant as selecting a URL that catches “tweet fire,” or as timing savvy as selecting the dead-on time of year for launch. The more you know about the specifics that attract your target market, the better off you’ll be. What happens to one business venture dealing with one preferred market may be very different from what economists are generalizing about. What experts say about New York, Houston, or any other city is not equally true for all locations and markets.
3. Anticipate Disaster
Thinking positive can be dangerous. Yes, you need optimism and enthusiasm, but don’t overlook nasty surprises ahead. What could go wrong probably will, but if you’re prepared this will be a speed bump not a brick wall. Too often a marketing strategy is a last-minute, “we gotta get open” frenzy. When marketing is not effective it is very expensive. Start your disaster list now. Sometimes it is the smallest thing like forgetting time zone differences or not checking on municipal construction plans only to discover major construction starts on your block next week. Overlooked or underestimated details cause the biggest disasters, so dig out any detail that could disrupt your business. What do you need to make the most of all eventualities, positive and negative? Arrange questions by service process, so you can cover all your quandaries while designing your prospecting, service delivery, and other relevant aspects of your business. Get into details with your contractor or web developer from the start, so there won’t be any “but I thought you meant…” surprises or last-minute delays.
4. Zero in on Must-Haves
Know what is essential to attract target clients, provide extreme excellence service, and keep them coming back. “Must haves” should be features and benefits of every aspect of your business from online presence and accounting to a responsive complaint department that will provide seamless excellence from the target clients’ perspective. Location is still the prime “must have” online or off. Where does your target want to find you: on Facebook, Linked IN, at your fully-accessible website, or in the mall near their home? That knowledge dictates which “must-haves” must be in place when you launch and every day after that.
5. Once is not enough
What business decision do you think you can make once and not worry about again? Your venture, whether it is online or bricks-and-mortar is constantly in flux, so never stop wondering and asking. Review and re-evaluate every aspect of the client experience and your profit process regularly until doing so becomes automatic. Make sure what you measure relates to your business values and to those of your target, so you’re measuring what matters, not just what is easy to measure. Ensure it is easy for prospects and clients to give feedback, so you hear the good and not so good while there is time to keep earning trust.
Your choice—lead yourself and others with foresight or experience remorse in hindsight. Or, you may remorsefully realize in hindsight how smart you would have been with foresight. Your choice again.
The result? You can be certain in the face of uncertainty.
© What’s Your Point? By PJ Wade TheCatalyst.com