by Paula on May 16, 2011

Escalators and moving walkways. No wonder they have signs for kids not to play on them. They’re addicitive right? Going somewhere whilst standing still, moving forwards without doing anything. Wouldn’t it be good if that happened in business too? If you could just stand there, not making any changes, and business would move forward. Perfect!

In truth of course that doesn’t happen. But the reality is even worse – standing still can actually take your business backwards.

Not long back I contacted an independent retail outlet that I am a customer and fan of, but have always been aware that it’s often fairly empty and that others I mentioned it to weren’t aware of it. I saw great potential for them to raise awareness through targeted Social Media activity, and made some suggestions to them on how I could help out. Their reply was as follows:

“Your email did actually get me thinking about social media (we are perhaps sometimes a little in the last century, but maybe this also gives us a bit of old-fashioned charm?!!) ……. I don’t think it is something we would be interested in at the moment. We do have a pretty solid and loyal customer base and we need to spend quite a bit this year keeping our sales area up together to keep the ones we have got happy with what we offer.”

I’ll be the first to agree that that effort into keeping existing customers happy and coming back is money well spent, but by deciding to not invest in reaching out to new customers, are they in danger of moving backwards while standing still?

  • What if their competitors are wooing their clients online while they are busy arranging the shop floor?
  • What if their core of loyal customers are moving away, getting older, changing tastes and going elsewhere?
  • What if doing things the way they’ve always done them, moves them from old-fashioned charm to out of date?
  • What if by standing still on the moving escalator of sales and marketing, they’re facing the wrong way and being carried backwards, while the others who are putting in the leg-work are heading towards the top of the stairs?

Worth a thought, don’t you think? What about your business? Does the old W.S. Bateman quote: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got” still apply?

Or have we moved on into a world where if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get left behind…?

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