This year, my favorite Television Series turns 50. Regular readers of my articles will easily identify this show as Doctor Who. Irregular readers might also easily identify this show, as it has grown in popularity (and budget) every year since it's revival in 2005. As far as TV franchises go, gaining momentum in popularity (read: customers) 50 years after the first episode is not only impressive, it's unbelievable.
Will your business survive to see it's 50th anniversary?
If you can remember this simple rule from The Doctor:
Three years after the first episode of Doctor Who, the producers were faced with a difficult problem: Their lead actor was getting on in years, had trouble remembering his lines, and despite the popularity of the young show, needed a rest. It could have ended there. A three-year run is more than some shows will ever get.
But they didn't end it there.
Instead, with some quick thinking, recasting, and a little sci-fi hocus pocus, they found a new actor to play the same role. More youthful, more active, but without a doubt the same time-travelling curmudgeon that viewers had grown to love. Over the years, they'd repeat this again and again, and now we have a list of over twelve actors who have all played the same character. The production team would change over time too, lending a different flavor to every incarnation.
TV business aside, what does this have to do with your business? What does it have to do with mine?
Small businesses fail as often as TV shows get cancelled, if not more. Like TV, some businesses don't ever see the light of day. I count myself fortunate/worked my ass off to be a part of a business that has longevity. There are good months and bad months. Good months might be due to something we're doing right with the way we do business. Bad months might be due to something we're doing wrong.
When a bad month comes along, it's tempting to hit the reset button and start again from scratch. Instead of hitting reset, I propose regeneration. You've already built the infrastructure of your business, which represents a large investment of both time and money. Keeping costs low in times of financial duress requires a creative use of the resources you already have.
The key to regenerating your business is the old admonition: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Assess the weaknesses of your business model. What worked? What didn't work?
Those two questions are imperative to a business like ours, chasing a market that changes with the tide. Sometimes it's not that you did anything wrong, sometimes it's just that the old tactics aren't working anymore. Regeneration is intimately tied with other Small Biz Commandments, like Listen, Remain Relevant, and Be Intentional, so maybe you want to give those a read too.
Turns out, regeneration is something we're pretty good at. We help small businesses re-brand, re-market, revamp, but never re-boot. We believe in our philosophy too much to give up, and we love working with folks who believe in their own business as well.
So whether you're out there saving the world from spacey type threats, or just doing your best to provide your customers with the best quality product/service you can, remember The Doctor, all twelve (more or less) of him. No matter what face he wears, or who he's travelling with, he's always the same cosmic wanderer, just trying to help.