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SOS: Beware Shiny Object Syndrome!

SOS Shiny ObjectSyndrome

You just heard a great idea.  You have to try it.  It doesn’t really fit your business model and is beyond your core competencies—but, guaranteed, you will make a fortune.

Stop right there.  All that glitters is not gold—for a lot of reasons.

Good for crows but bad for small business owners, Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) is hazardous to the health of your business.  Consider these examples:

  • You have a proposal to submit to a long-standing client.  You have a good relationship with your client and the proposal is a sure thing.  You are working on it when an email comes in with marketing tips that promise to make you more money.  Buy this, learn that, earn more.  You buy it hook, line, and sinker and use your new-found wisdom to change your proposal pricing.  You submit the proposal—and the client goes elsewhere.
  • At a conference, you learn of a great program to motivate employees and increase productivity.  You buy in.  A consultant charges you a lot of money to study your company and train your employees.  Six months down the road, no one remembers the concepts, productivity is the same, and the only difference is the financial hit.
  • New marketing software—you must have it.  Your digital marketing guy must have it, too, even though it is totally wrong for your business objectives.  You buy it, deploy it, and watch it fail.

Whether you run a small business or a large corporation, everyone is vulnerable to shiny objects.  They are pretty and promising.  They are new and cool, swag for the business suite—and they can be a serious problem.

Take a breath and slow down

Distraction costs time and a lot of money.  Each new email that interrupts your train of thought, or each freshly-pressed idea that disrupts your business plan, can distract you from achieving your business goals.  Distraction keeps small business owners from succeeding in ways that include:

  • Continually trying new ideas, methods, or software may become your version of business management. Eventually, you think, you will hit on the right combination, the perfect idea, the dream product.
  • Your business could be in financial trouble.  You hit a slump and need something new—somewhere.  A turnaround company says it helps businesses just like yours.  You cannot afford another mistake.
  • Your small business is doing okay.  You want more profit.  Someone said try this new off-the-shelf inventory system—sounds like a good idea.

Distraction fragments your attention, diminishes your budget, and shows little return on investment—if you are even tracking ROI.  All these examples point to entrepreneurs who do not see the big picture.

My job is helping small business owners see the bigger picture, make more money—and become successful.  That means knowing which shiny objects to pick up—and which to leave behind.

How do you know what works?

When I meet with a small business owner, I ask ten strategic questions.  Ten.  Within 30 minutes, we get to the heart of their problem. After that we build a solid plan to create traction toward business goals. Distraction is not part of the deal.

How can you safeguard your business and your time against the distraction of shiny new things?  Consider these tips:

  • Too good to be true:  What was true yesterday remains true today.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • No rush:  The cutting edge of technology is a popular, and profitable, place to be these days.  Nonetheless, there is no rush to try out new ideas or technologies before others use their time and money to do it for you.
  • Use good business sense:  Have you previously identified an issue this technology or process can address?  Will this opportunity or start-up increase value to your client or customers?  Does this innovation apply specifically to your industry, or would you need to reinvent it?  If it passes muster, consult with business associates, or join a small business support team to discuss whether it is right for your big picture.
  • Repeat after me—no rush:  No offer, no product, and no process is so rare you cannot wait to research the idea and confer with others. If you are pushed for a decision, leave the shiny object for someone else to play with.

Innovation is changing the way we live and work.  The other part of my business is creating unique technical solutions for entrepreneurs to meet their identified marketing needs, offer value to their customers, and increase their profits. When appropriate, the deliberate use of innovation is desirable—not distracting.

When you want to make more money, forget the shiny object and call me at 585-633-7563 for the business plan you need to achieve the profit you want.

To your success,

Bob Britton

About the Author Bob Britton

Bob Britton is an accomplished entrepreneur with ​25 year’s experience ​starting, building and growing both brick-and-mortar companies as well as online businesses. ​He's personally built 3 companies from one man shows to the million dollar mark. Marketing Automation Group and the Automated Entrepreneur Method​® are his latest brainchild. After working with hundreds of business owners in every walk of business, he realized there was a HUGE gap in the support and training that was available, and set out to fill that void with his no-nonsense, hype free approach to business growth.

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