“My, people come and go so fast around here”

Made famous by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I decided to take some poetic license and change it to “My, clients come and go so fast around here”, because it’s been kind of crazy over the last few weeks as I’m in job search mode and filling in with some consulting gigs – 4 in the past month.

What does this say to me?

1) The economy is good enough (not great) so that people feel they have a) the need to market b) the means to market c) the desire to start a new company
2) People want to grow their business
3) The economy is bad enough so that people feel they have a) to market b) to survive c) change their company

Notice how 1) & 3) are somewhat contrary? The bane of my existence!

The optimist in me is telling me that #1 is winning over, and my experience backs that up. Most people incorrectly don’t market their businesses when they’re not doing well, they tend to prioritize their resources into a survival mode as opposed to an intelligent survival *strategy*.

So how does this tie in to the Wizard of Oz? As well as Dorothy’s observation as witches and munchkins appear and disappear around her, the Wizard of Oz is a terrific study on business strategy. (“Businesses come and go so fast around here!”)

(i) The scarecrow strategy – If I only had a brain – trying to plan survival or growth requires a defined plan. Only a scarecrow would proceed without something in writing to guide and measure against. Or lose their head trying 🙂 Have a plan.
(ii) The lion strategy – Bluffing one’s way to success rarely works, neither does pretending you have strengths, playing to those assumed strengths, and then failing because those strengths either don’t exist, or aren’t a differentiator – a lion is a lion is a lion *or* in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king! Have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
(iii) The tin man strategy – Being ‘half-assed’, not having your heart in it. Without putting 100% into your business, you can’t expect to succeed. (Prove me wrong). 100% means sacrificing a little in the short term, for long-term results. I can’t tell you how many business owners I talk to who “umm” and “arr” over a marketing investment because in the short term it might hurt to commit those funds. You have to believe in your business and yourself. Be passionate.

Hopefully we all find our way home (riches and job satisfaction!) but we also have to walk a lot (follow the yellow brick road), fight a few enemies (flying monkeys!), and commit ourselves to a plan (the Wizard will help). Along the way, just as our quartet of storybook characters did, we may even find our strategic plan, strengths, passion and ultimately realize that “there’s no place like home”.

Enjoy the journey.

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