To Chase or Not to Chase...the "Shiny Object Conundrum"

Published in Member Communities on May 24, 2021

Mike Isaacson

By Mike Isaacson, Senior VP of Business Development, VGM & Associates

As business owners and/or leaders, you are pulled in many different directions and wear multiple hats on a daily basis. It is always exciting to look at new opportunities, both in times of growth and prosperity as well as in times of challenge and decline. When things are going well, we have the convenience to look for that new product, business line, etc. Similarly, but for different reasons, when things are stagnant or even in decline, looking for new revenue streams and opportunities can bring enthusiasm and optimism into the company. In both cases, this may be the perfect time to look…or not.

Before you spend your personal, professional, or business capital on pursuing the “next big thing,” ask yourself these five questions to ensure you’re on the right path.

1. Does This Fit Into Our Strategic Plan Short/Long-Term?

The Strategic Plan…remember that document? That’s the focused look at the business you completed along with your team that set the foundation for the next year, three years, or five years. This document, unfortunately, tends to start with a lot of promise and focus, and many times ends the year forgotten, collecting dust on a shelf. If this describes your plan, now would be a great time to pull it down, dust it off, and see if this new endeavor fits the direction you intended to go.

A review is in order as well for those that live and die with the strategic plan and see it as a living, breathing document. This will ensure that, if nothing else, you have the bandwidth to pursue and possibly add to your current book of business.

2. Does This Opportunity Fall Within Our Scope?

“Mission creep” is a real thing, and like the Sirens in the Odyssey (thank you, high school English teacher), have led many an organization to their death. Losing focus on who you are and what it is you are the best at can be devastating to a business. Straying too far from our core business or model can create confusion both within a company, but more importantly, with your consumer base.

In order to combat this, you must have a strong handle on your strengths, your market differentiation, and your core competencies. If this new opportunity falls within these markers…take a look. Or, if you have already made the strategic position to move into a different or new direction, you should have already completed that assessment and strategic planning.

3. Am I Bored?

I know, this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. If you have been in business for a while, whether it’s yours or the one you are working for, lethargy can kick in. After all, you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a penchant for creativity. When you feel restless or if your day-to-day has become mundane, redundant, or even monotonous, new ventures can be just the excitement you need to kick start your creativity and passion.

While not ALL bad, you have to be careful, honest with yourself, and assess the opportunity through this lens. It very well may be a great opportunity and work to support your need for motivation, but be sure that it’s not just your boredom-colored glasses making it look like a better business opportunity than it actually is.

Perhaps the bigger question you should be asking yourself is, “Is our current offering still relevant?” The concern is that if you are bored with your product or offering, your customer or the market may be as well. A better use of your creativity may be to re-image, re-fresh, and re-brand your offering to compete in today’s market.

Playbook Q2 2021This article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: Growing Your Business in Today's Environment. To read the rest of the article, download your copy of the playbook today!


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