John (obviously not his real name) had been considering his future. His business was providing an income, but it was nothing like it had been. He was at a cross roads, thinking “should I shut the doors or should I take the big step to reinvest? Should I advertise? Should I update my website?”.

Everywhere he looked the costs were too high. Every one he turned to had a solution, but those “solutions” were the same solutions that every competitor had been offered. They were generic, they were what the sales person was selling. Not necessarily what he needed at the time… or even really needed.

What he did need was more customers who understood that he could do that nobody else seemed to be offering. He needed to be able to communicate his point of difference. He wanted to understand a bit more about what his customers actually wanted.

John contacted accross business who provided some free time to discuss a few options.

Kieran May

asks questions to understand you

He was more than a bit surprised when they took the time to understand not only his business, but also what he wanted to achieve personally in terms of short term growth and longer term financial security. In fact given the option, John welcomed the chance to bring his wife into the conversation. He saw it as an opportunity for Mary (again, not her real name) to help plan the rest of their lives.

That initial conversation was the first of many. It resulted in one simple suggestion which kick-started John on a strategy and a new plan. It involved using some effective no and low cost practices that would accelerate a new phase. It wasn’t going to be easy – if it was, everyone would be doing it well. Not every bit of future advice would be free – John understands that free advice is usually worth exactly what it costs.

There is a fine balance between achieving outcomes, finding what is affordable and what you actually spend. While there is a belief in some fields that the only way to achieve a good result is to “spend up big”,  evidence would suggest something to the contrary.

Have you seen examples where an investment has been made in a hi tech piece of equipment and the promised new work hasn’t materialised? Or perhaps examples of a $5000 website which has looked pretty but done nothing?

On the other side of the coin, have you seen examples of inertia simply because the costs are “too high”? What was the consequence of that? Failure? Dwindling profits? Downsizing? Stagnation?

accross business can’t guarantee an immediate result – but an immediate improvement is possible. We can’t guarantee it will be easy, but it is often simpler than you may think.

Over to you.