Changing direction

by Admin
Updated: August 11, 2020

If your strategy is not working, changing direction is usually better than trying harder or quitting

We generally have a lot of respect for people who are single-minded in the pursuit of their goals. In a business context, many entrepreneurs seem to have achieved success through the sheer power of determination and hard work.

While it’s a convenient idea, this approach - forging ahead regardless - is usually a recipe for failure. However, the single great success story out of 10,000 failures is what makes the news and often all those failures don’t even find their way into the statistics.

On the other hand, there are relatively few business ideas that are wholly bad. You really can make a business out of almost anything.

Look & learn

Even if it seems to start out easy, being successful at anything takes effort sooner or later. But effort is not an end in itself.

If you have been working hard at a project and it hasn’t yielded the results you’d hoped for, consider the following possible reasons:

  1. You haven’t given it enough time.
  2. You’re doing the wrong things.

What’s important to remember about #2 is that you’re probably not doing everything wrong and some of the wrong things are better described as right things that are missing.

Following from this, all projects have value at least as learning experiences. But before writing a project off as a complete loss it is usually worthwhile taking a more careful look at any elements that have shown hope.

Timing & time

If you can hit the market at the right time, you’ll need less effort to succeed.

If you’re ahead of the market it will take time to grow no matter how hard you work, even if you’re creating the market yourself.

If you’re behind the market it will take time to become established amongst the competition.

I have completely abandoned very few projects although one was put on hold for more than ten years while we waited for the necessary technology to become available.

To do or not to do

If you’re paying attention, you may notice that customers are attracted by something other than the core business activity.

It can be really annoying if you’re passionate about your original concept but the path of least resistance doesn’t necessary prevent you from reaching your intended destination.

If, for example, you find that customers are fascinated by the packaging of your product rather than the product itself so you might change direction (at least temporarily) to specialize in packaging.

More info

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon began by selling books but grew into a general retailer (and Internet service provider along the way) with no particular emphasis on books: “Amazon Startup Story” at & Jeff Bezos’ startup Advice: “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”

Richard Branson’s Virgin began selling vinyl records but grew into a highly diversified empire: “The history of Virgin” at & Richard Branson’s startup advice: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

“What it’s like to pursue a dream for 30 years — and fail” - the story of Keahi Seymour and the Bionic Boot at

Internal links

Business memory The focus dilemma Horizontal integration Taking a vacation All articles
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