Episode 15: Something New or Something Better?

We all love the feeling of something new. A fresh start, a clean slate, or the excitement of a new adventure always seems to intrigue us. But how do we decide if “something new” is the best avenue for us to pursue when it comes to our business? 


Recently, I was listening to a rabbi who was telling a story about when he was a pulpit rabbi of a synagogue. He had a practice in which he would do an annual “spiritual check-in” with his congregants. He would open his office at the beginning of the Jewish New Year, and people could meet with him.


He made an interesting point; when people came to him he found that people liked to focus on the new things… similar to a New Year’s resolution. This is typical; people like new things. It feels exciting and positive to take on something new.


Every year this rabbi would tell them to focus on something they were already doing, and improve it. 


Different Businesses, Same Problem

This story resonated with me from a business perspective, as I was recently having a similar discussion with two different businesses. 


The first was a service provider who does about $35 million in revenue each year. They wanted to grow their revenue by acquiring more new clients.


The second business was a children’s accessory business that makes around $7 million in revenue annually. They wanted to create new products.


In both cases the businesses wanted to do something new: new clients in one case, new products in the other.


My advice to both of these companies was on par with the rabbi’s advice… 


“Focus on what you’re already doing, and make it better.”


For the service provider, we found that they really needed to fix their process. It was very inefficient and was leaving a lot of room for margin/profit expansion. If they were more efficient, they would be more profitable whether they acquired new customers or not. They simply needed to get better at what they were doing. 


The children’s accessory company needed to focus on the products that were more profitable and either stop selling weaker products or expand the reach of the high demand products into other markets. They were serving one market, but had the ability to service multiple markets with a product they were already selling.   


In both cases, the message was clear: look at what you are doing and see how you can actually do better. 


“How can you improve what you’re already doing, and how can it be more meaningful?”


I encourage you to look inside your business and figure out how you can improve on what you are already doing.  Not only will you see an improvement, but you will increase the impact on the people you serve, and the value of your business. 


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