Who here has ever been tempted to cut corners with their business? I’ll admit it, I have.Sometimes, you get that voice at the back of your head, saying: You’ve already spoken with your sales reps last week; that’s good enough. You have a gazillion things on your to-do list… you don’t need to check in with them again.
Now, I call this the “creative justification” trap. You know those justifications that sound as though they make sense, but are actually a cop-out? Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
In your personal life, you might say to yourself “I’ve been sticking to my diet the whole week, so I deserve a cheeseburger this weekend,” or “I’ve saved a lot of money this month, now I can finally buy that new smartphone.”
You get the point.
Now, when you take a step back and think about it, you’ll realize that these creative justifications are nothing but excuses for you to cut corners.
And when it comes to your business, creative justifications can be very dangerous. In particular, make sure you avoid coming up with justifications in these three areas…
1. Blaming external factors.
When things go wrong, plenty of entrepreneurs look for external factors to blame.
“Clients aren’t buying our new products because of the economic downturn.”
“I’m getting bad reviews on Yelp because my competitors are creating fake profiles.”
But here’s the thing — while these creative justifications might make you feel better, they won’t help you grow your business.
So what if there’s an economic downturn? Are you going to cancel all your product launches, and let your sales stagnate? No, you have to figure out a way to work through it, and drive more sales despite the downturn.
2. Compromising on ethics.
Making money is pretty dang important to me, but you know what’s more important? Being ethical and honest.
Say your supplier tells you they can swap out your materials for something lower-grade (and cheaper!), and your customers won’t know the difference. If you’re really struggling, you might be tempted to take up the offer, and use creative justification to ease your guilt.
Don’t do it. In this day and age, consumers value authenticity and honesty above everything else, and being ethical is the key to building a great business.
3. Moving away from your core business.
Your core business is your strength and your foundation, and you should never get distracted or move away from it.
I know, it’s easier said than done. You’ll always hear of exciting new opportunities and projects that you can jump in on. Your customers might also tempt you: “Why don’t you also offer X? If I pay you extra, can you do Y?”
It’s easy to come up with a creative justification — you might think to yourself, I need extra cash to pay for the unexpected costs that came up last month, so I’ll just do this one thing.
Well, here’s the problem: the first step in the wrong direction will open up the possibility for the second step. And before you know it, you’re moving away from your core business. So don’t waver, and politely turn down any opportunities that are not aligned with your core business.
Creative justifications make you feel better about yourself, but as an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to bury your head in the sand and cut corners with excuses. Ditch these justifications once and for all, and make the right decisions for your company!