Forget the question…Change your answer!

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For years, entrepreneurs, business owners and managers have wrestled with a number of questions about maintaining and growing market share and profitability. Here is a very short list of questions countless executives have asked themselves over the decades:

–         How can I increase sales?
–         How can I increase my market share?
–         How can I increase my profits?
–         How can I increase my distribution?

The list goes on and on. Since the beginning of capitalism, those questions have plagued boardrooms and weekend retreats. Those same questions will be with us until the end of time. So I say forget the question and change the answer. The only thing that has changed and will continue to change will be the answers, so focus on the answer, not the question.

Here are a few examples of changing answers:

Mid 19th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Forget the pony express, start a railroad company.

Late 19th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Start a steel company. Andrew Carnegie did.

Early 20th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Cater to the investors and stock speculators, prior to 1929.

Mid 20th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Start a real estate company and construction business to take advantage of the baby boom after WWII.

Late 20th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Start an technology-based Internet company.

Early 21th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Start a communication-based Internet company.

Mid 21th century: How can I increase my profits?:
Start a company that provides international trade and global distribution. The world is shrinking and trade will be vital to all aspects of the globe.

If you notice, the question stays the same, it is the answer that changes. The answer changes because the world evolves every day. Advancement in technology, distribution, communication, etc. blesses us with new and greater opportunity literally by the minute.

So the next time you ask yourself the question “How can I increase my profits?”, rephrase the question and ask yourself, “What exists today that didn’t exist a year ago?” This new question will refocus your attention on the answer and not the question.

Comments

  1. Danielle says

    I really like this approach Andy – a very easy method to create a shift in thinking.

    All too often we focus on the problem from a very narrow perspective, so this approach really opens that up.

  2. The crazy thing is that due to the shrinking world and development of technology, looking back a year ago may be too long. These shifts seem to take place at a quarterly rate…