7/22/2021 Tip: Don’t Forget What’s Worked in the Past

Today’s Quote

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”
~ Napoleon Hill


Today’s Tip

Too many entrepreneurs and business owners forget what’s worked in the past and stop doing those things.

This critical mistake is best explained with a story. There was once a young man who had just graduated from college with an engineering degree. He did what most of his classmates did and got a job as an engineer. Within the next few years he got married and had his first child – and then another child.

But after working “for the man” for twenty years, he decided to start his own engineering consulting firm. While business was slow at first, he built up his firm over the years. In fact, 30 years after founding his company, he was generating millions of dollars in annual revenues.

But then, at the age of 72, he died. And he left the business to his 71-year-old wife.

Now his wife had never run a business in her life. In fact, she spent most of her days at the country club golfing and dining with her friends.

But within a year, she doubled the firm’s profits.

How did she do it?

Simple. She visited the company a week after her husband passed and sat down with the management team. And then she told them to do two things:

  1. Make me a list of the 5 things that worked the best in the last 12 months
  2. Make me a list of the 5 things that worked the least in the last 12 months

The list of things that worked included items like upselling current clients, getting new clients from partnerships they formed, and their program that hired and trained new sales reps. The things that didn’t work included radio advertising, sponsoring trade shows, and a new service offering that just didn’t catch on.

So, the widow made one demand: Do more of the 5 things that worked, and stop doing the 5 things that didn’t work.”

The management team listened. And within a year, the company’s revenues and profits both doubled.

Yes – it’s that simple. Your company should do more of the things that are proven to work and less of the things that haven’t worked.

Unfortunately, most business owners don’t do this, and here’s why: we’ve been told throughout our lives to improve our weaknesses and “never quit” – and we carry this lesson over to our businesses.  So, when something doesn’t work, our first impression is typically to “work on it” or try to fix it.

However, that’s generally not the best solution. A much more effective approach is to do more of what is already working, since those are the things that are proven to work. Why try to fix an unproven concept when you already have figured out a winner?


Today’s Resource

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Today’s Question: What ‘nuclear’ nickname was given to Jack Welch in the 1980s for eliminating employees while leaving the office buildings intact?

Previous Question: The most widely accepted explanation for the origin of which symbol is that it is the result of the evolution of the Spanish and Mexican scribal abbreviation for pesos?

Answer: The $ symbol

This theory, derived from a study of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century manuscripts, explains that the s gradually came to be written over the p developing a close equivalent to the “$” mark.


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