Reading time ( words)
The great hockey star Wayne Gretzky once famously said, “I never made a shot I didn’t take.” Nothing has ever been truer. The greatest hitters in baseball fail over 60% of the time. Golfers who do not take a stab at that impossible shot are never champions. And in business, people who are not willing to try new things will never succeed.
If you own a company and are not willing to get out of your comfort zone, you will fail. If you are only willing to stand still, you will fail. And, yes, if you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, then you are the perfect example of insanity.
Many times when I work with a company and I suggest they try something new, they will either cower in fear or quickly point out that they tried something similar once and it didn’t work, so that is that. They will never try it again.
I am frustrated and amazed when managers bang the table and tell me that they will, and I quote, “lose their shirt” if they try to match their competitors’ prices, especially when they have no real idea of their own costs.
I am out and out amused when I try to get a company to offer some kind of financial discount and the managers refuse because they are afraid that thousands of people are going to take advantage of that particular incentive. Look, I have sent out enough sales offers to know that they can rest assured this is not going to happen. Hell, I am pretty sure that someone could offer boards for free and the response would still be the normal 10% tops that these sales offers bring in.
Here is an absolutely real-life substantiated example of people being afraid to try something new. There is a government program called Trade Adjustment Assistance. Read this, taken directly from the TAA website:
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAA), a federal program, provides financial assistance to manufacturers affected by import competition. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, this cost-sharing federal assistance program pays for half the cost of consultants or industry-specific experts for projects that improve a manufacturer's competitiveness.
This program is authentic. I have worked under this program numerous times with companies all over the country. This program will give any manufacturing company that has been affected by import competition (and which U.S. PCB company has not?) up to $75,000 in matching funds to any company that applies.
The funds can be used for any number of things, from producing a new website to improving your technology, and even helping your company get your AS9100 or Mil-PRF-31032 or any other qualification that will help your company be more competitive. And the money is free, absolutely free. So, if you pay for $150,000 worth of services to improve your company, TAA will pay for half of it. As I said earlier, I know because I have been directly involved in TAA contracts many times over the years.
And here is something pretty cool: This organization is ready and willing to help with this money. They are even trying to find companies to take advantage of this program! Honestly.
Sound too good to be true? Well, I beg your pardon, because it is true. Don’t believe me? Then just click over to www.taacenters.org/ and find out for yourself.
I’m harping on this because this is one program that actually works. Whenever someone cries foul about offshore competition and complains that the US government does nothing to help companies like theirs, I always bring up TAA and suggest they give them a call. One of my clients did exactly this and was fully approved in one single day.
But let’s circle back to the managers who won’t take risks. I have told hundreds of companies about the TAA and only about 10% even bother to look into it. The other 90% delight in telling me the 50 reasons why it will not work for them. Man, they are so anxious to blurt these reasons out that they don’t even let me finish explaining the program’s benefits before they start objecting.
My friend Bob Tarzwell and I used to have a running joke that you could put a check for $10,000 in front of some company owners and they’d come up with 50 reasons why they should not grab that check. So, one day after I had tried to talk an owner—an owner of a company that was in very deep water by the way—about TAA funds and how his company was practically the poster child for this program, he promptly told be the 50 reasons why it would not work. He refused to even consider it.
That night I called Bob and told him that our running joke wasn’t about a $10,000 check any more…it was about a $75,000 check, and I had just seen it happen.
So, once again, I urge you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you try enough new things something will eventually work. And as far as TAA is concerned, get right over to their website and get them to work with you. It’s only common sense.