“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”
– Ernest Hemingway

At some point everyone has heard that a positive attitude can make all the difference, even in the bleakest of situations. But becoming successful is about more than just having a vision, it is about maintaining that vision, even when times are tough. Dr. Carol Dweck, one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation, recently published her study demonstrating how attitude, rather than IQ, is a better predictor of success. She postulates that people’s core attitudes can be categorised as being either of a fixed or a growth mindset. Dweck found that individuals with growth mindsets outperformed those with fixed mindsets, even when they have a lower IQ. This is accredited to the way growth mindset individuals approach challenges, embracing as opportunities to grow and develop, rather than as roadblocks preventing them from achieving their goals. According to Dweck, success is centred on how we deal with failure, “failure is information – we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘this didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’” Failure is always an option. Failure creates opportunities for growth and success – if you approach those challenges and failures with a growth mind-set, like the many successful entrepreneurs we talked about in our last blog.

Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress,” so, how are you handling your progress?

We know the economy can be a fickle mistress (a reality that is hard to ignore at the moment), but buying her flowers in an attempt to win back her affection isn’t going to cut it. Now is the time to focus on your success in progress. That progress may be the key to propelling your business in a new direction, with a new product or a new service. Failure can create opportunities for growth in a new direction, opportunities such as diversification.

For those of you who need a quick refresher, a diversification business strategy is put into place when a company tries to enter a new market with a new product or service. In any economic environment, stable or otherwise, businesses always run the risk they will become irrelevant (think Blockbuster or HMV). Diversification is a great way to hit the refresh button for your company! This is especially true during changing economic times, when the traditional target markets are either disappearing or keeping their pocket books under lock-and-key. Diversifying often plays a key role in determining whether or not small and medium businesses survive.

Diversification can create additional sources of revenue, establish new growth opportunities, manage your company’s revenue to balance any seasonal or cyclical products, provide a wider range of choices for your customers, or enter new markets. But before you decide if diversifying is the right path for your business, make sure you prepare properly for your journey.

Diversifying may sound simple enough, but sometimes choosing new products and services can be a challenging task, even more so if your business is feeling the pressure of the current economic situation.

Start with your strengths, how can you diversify in relation to the products or services that you are already successful with?

Conduct some market research. It is always important for a business owner to be aware of their clients and customers’ needs and wants, as they determine the success of any business. One of the easiest ways to obtain market research is by simply talking to your client base to see what they are happy with, what they could do without, and what they wish you could bring to the table.

Timing is also important, although not necessarily a luxury, and can often be the toughest component of diversifying. In a perfect world the best time to diversify is when there is a niche that needs to be filled, but the business world is rarely perfect. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to be had, because at the end of the day, you know your business best and your clientele better. Go with your gut, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – we are always here, because It Starts With People, people like you!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…
You’re off to Great Places
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!*

*Excerpted from Dr. Seuss – Oh the Places You’ll Go