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When a Rose Isn't a Rose

by Doug Davidoff | Aug 15, 2007 1:24:49 PM

On a recent trip to Atlanta, I was offered my choice of snack on the flight. I’m in the midst of losing some weight, getting in shape and eating healthier, so I chose what sounded like the healthiest choice – Oatmeal To Go. Before eating it, I decided to look at the nutritional information to see for myself just how smart I was in choosing this snack. As I’m sure you can figure out, Oatmeal to Go is anything but nutritious. For kicks, I kept the bar and stopped in the snack shop in the airport to compare it to a bag of cookies, and the cookies were healthier.

This got me thinking about the challenges of growing a successful business, whether it’s a new business or an established one. As I’ve written countless times, the rate of change in the world requires companies to move faster than ever before. This means that decisions must be made, confidently, before all of the relevant information is available or the path is clear.

Simply put, growth is messy. I’d like it to be cleaner and neater. I’d like it to be wrapped nicely in a set of actions, with clear causes and effects. Unfortunately, no matter how much I’d like it, it’s not going to happen.

There is no certainty in the future. The truth is that no matter how sure we are of what will happen; we have no idea. To be successful going forward, you must build your business on a platform of uncertainty. You must implement your sales and marketing initiatives with effective feedback systems so that you can adjust as quickly as possible without ruining your strategy. You must begin using your messaging before you are certain that it is the right message; knowing that it will have to be tweaked, and possibly revamped – realizing that the only learning that matters is the learning that takes place is a real, live market.

Too often companies choose paths of actions because they appear clearer, simpler and more comfortable. They don’t feel messy. The reality is if your go-to-market strategy doesn’t feel a little messy, you’re probably eating Oatmeal To Go.