550% Imperfect “You see? I knew we still had them.” More than three years ago our twin boys arrived, about 8 weeks premature. One of the big projects we hadn’t quite gotten to yet was cleaning out the basement. Now, with extra hours from our nanny and the pressure of an impending grandparent visit, we finally cleared out all the stuff that accumulates when you (1) have a basement and (2) have lived above that basement for ten years. One of the discoveries was in a box of books: the first four Harry Potter books that we bought when they were first published. Holly had sworn they were loaned out and lost; I was sure we still had them. For fun, I started to re-read the first book. And there it was, on page 55. It was terrible. Horrible. I’m sure J.K. Rowling has lost much sleep over it. Rubeus Hagrid, groundskeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was telling Harry about his parents. “Now, yer mum an’ dad were as good a witch an’ wizard as I ever knew. Head boy an’ girl at Hogwarts in their day!” Really? Call me a geek, but I don’t think the character of James Potter, who was later developed as a bit of a rebel and trouble-maker, would have been Head Boy. Why am I going on about all of this?
Huge Client Success Discarded I was interviewing a past client as a case study for our Alumni Community because of her incredible success. The year she worked with us her company had a 550% increase in net revenue. She told me that although they worked tremendously hard on their core marketing message that year, they have a different message now. Okay, so let’s get this straight. She and her business partner worked super-hard on their message, it worked to the tune of a 550% increase, and yet they discarded it. Why? She had gotten clearer both on what they were doing and what they weren’t doing. The business had continue to evolve.
The Myth. It’s a Myth. Really, It’s a Myth. It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that if you don’t get things exactly right they won’t work. I remember making a cold call in another business years ago, and leaving a stuttering message into a voicemail. “Well, that was a waste,” I told myself. An hour later I received a phone call from someone who told me, “I had called this woman for X, and she referred me to you. She said she had just received a message from you, and it sounded like what I needed.” I had been so thrown by the bad message I had left I had moved on to other tasks, ignoring the list of calls I was supposed to be making. So that’s how I knew it was that miserable message that had created a referral. Somehow, the imperfection had still worked. And for our client, too, to the tune of a 550% increase.
Do a J.K. Rowling and Give Yourself Some Slack I have no idea what J.K. Rowling’s work habits are, but I’m going t guess that she hasn’t really lost much sleep over that line of Hagrid’s. And I know that our client isn’t worried about all those clients of hers who heard the earlier “wrong” marketing message. Looking back on your life now, how many things have you done “wrong” and it’s still worked to some extent? How much compassion can you have for your younger self? Well, here’s a radical idea. How about using some of that compassion right now for you and what you’re working on this week? Whatever part of your business you may be developing, what if it didn’t have to be “done.” What if you knew that it was going to continue to change and evolve over the next year or three? That’s right. Maybe what you’ve got is good enough to go with, and you can improve it later. Maybe it’s time to finally step out with what you have. spirituality in business