Ever suspect standard solutions won’t work for your business?
Does it seem that most solutions, software, or best practices need to be customized in order to really be effective for your company?
If so, maybe you’re assuming your business is more unique than it is.
When advising AV companies, I often hear, “We’ve seen other people do that, but we can’t. Our business is too unique.”
As a person, you are unique.
But as a business, you are NOT.
Assuming you’re more unique than you are can actually hurt your business. You force customization when it’s not needed and make solutions more difficult than necessary. Take a break from thinking about how different you are from other companies and look for the things you have in common.
Once you understand the similarities you share with other businesses, you can better capitalize on what makes you stand out.
Why Do People Think Their Business is Unique?
The truth is, I don’t have a clue.
Many AV industry myths make sense. I understand why salespeople assume customers don’t like change, or why employers mistakenly choose only to hire people who will advance through the company. But the idea that you can’t use standardized solutions because the business is “different” remains a mystery.
What makes your company a unique business?
- Do you think your solution is better? How many other solutions have you seen?
- Do you not know how to explain your business to others? Is it easier to fall back on the idea that you’re unique rather than accurately describe your business model?
- Do you rarely meet anyone with a business like yours? Have you tried?
I can’t explain exactly why you’ve come to believe your business is unique, but I can tell you the reality: Conventional business solutions generally work.
Why Conventional Solutions Work
Business is business.
Here’s a secret among consultants: Good strategies and solutions work in any type of business. While I’m a business consultant who primarily works in the Live Events and Production space for the Audio/Visual industry, the strategies I recommend for the AV industry are the same I’d recommend for any company, in any industry.
Your business is still a business. You have revenue, expenses, employees, marketing, inventory, supplies, suppliers, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and bookkeeping… just like every other business.
Businesses have more in common than we often realize. What makes your company unique is not your business model — it’s your specialized knowledge.
Having specialized knowledge doesn’t mean you need to invent new solutions to age-old business problems. Inventing a new type of accounting system is not clever. I once worked with a company that created their own form of accounting because they thought their business was too unique for traditional accounting software. No company is that unique.
Don’t waste your creativity on reinventing solutions that have already been proven effective. Instead, know when to be innovative. Use your creativity to further develop your specialized knowledge — that’s where it matters.
Finding The Right Solutions Right For You
There are solutions that already exist for the problems you share with other businesses. Don’t make the mistake of believing your business is too unique to adopt these standardized solutions. If you do, you won’t be able to embrace the best practices and recommendations from people around you. And those practices are often what helps make your business better.
Instead, seek out solutions that are working for businesses like yours. Then, don’t be afraid to try them!
Find Best Practices
Rather than resist solutions others have proven effective, search for best practices. Adopt them into your business model.
There’s nothing wrong with copying. Don’t waste time and resources reinventing the wheel. The reason we visit other show sites and warehouses is to find good ideas to steal. Repay the benefit by then inviting people to your shows and warehouses so they can steal ideas from you too. Everyone wins.
As you discover best practices, try to recognize your prejudices. You have preconceptions about the way your business should run that cause you to reject other people’s practices before you’ve tried them.
Don’t prejudge solutions you haven’t tried.
Know the difference in logically seeing how a solution may or may not work for your company and your prejudices towards trying someone else’s approach. Once you recognize the difference, you’ll be able to better navigate your viable options.
Before you customize, explore the conventional wisdom other people are using. Customization is expensive, dangerous, and tricky (…and often completely unnecessary). Find your uniqueness in your knowledge base, not your systems management.