While assumptions are a worthwhile tool to use within the right context, they can be a double-edged sword ... they can just as easily lead you astray.
Case in point: the results of your research are not at all what you expect ... and perhaps not what you want to believe. Even though you've been diligent in your planning, you're certain that the data must be wrong. Your first reaction is to question your assumptions about the design of your program.
STOP RIGHT THERE!
Successful businesses are CATALYSTS. They solve real problems, quickly and easily and then get out of the way so that people can enjoy their investment. Consider this definition, pulled from the Gage Canadian dictionary (we are Canadian, after all):
Catalyst: (n.) an agent that causes or speeds up the occurrence of an event, especially an agent that is not directly involved or affected by the results.
Catalytic businesses have 5 essential components in common that help their business strategies succeed:
You have a comfort zone, a place where you play willingly, and sometimes eagerly. It tends to be a place that doesn’t stretch you too much, and keeps you "safe". Most of the time, it feels good, like an old well-worn pair of jeans. Yet other times, you have that nagging feeling that you aren’t reaching far enough...because you know you can be more and do more. It’s human nature. People want to leave an impact.
People don’t actually have only one comfort zone...there are a number of different comfort zones, depending on the hat you are wearing...and how safe you feel that it is for you to take a "risk".
There are 3 basic “pillars” of success in business and, for your business to thrive, it is dependent on your success in all 3:
Visibility: Create visibility, awareness, and a brand presence in your market, industry and community. Target your potential clients with the message that you are not only open for business, but also enthusiastically ready to serve them. In order for you to stand out, identify how you can become more visible, in a way that is not only integral to your style and brand essence, but that also draws in your ideal clients. Visibility is like a magnet...if it compliments the magnetic energy of your potential clients, they are drawn in. Be different. Be bold. And get noticed...and create a magnetic force that your market can’t resist.
Many businesses view marketing and business development as activities that are undertaken when time permits or that are only needed when business slows down. Unfortunately, having an incomplete or ad hoc marketing plan will mean that your business won’t have a regular pulse. Without a plan to look to, you may lack both direction and the commitment needed to help your business grow to its full potential. A plan also allows you to measure your return on investment and make adjustments based on the strengths and weaknesses of individudal tactics.