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How to thrive when things are good

How to thrive when things are good

July 12, 2017

You've heard this before, “necessity is the mother of all invention.” So today, we’ll go one step deeper and talk about what few do.

I recently went on a week-long tour with my sister and her granddaughter throughout Israel. We had a bunch of activities planned, and on a whim we decided to visit a farm.

Now I’ll be honest. I didn’t have high hopes. But what we saw and learned on the farm turned out to be one of the best parts of the trip, hands down. This wasn’t just any farm. It was the home and “birthplace” of the Bio Bee. Let me explain.

In the 1980’s, the use of pesticides was rising at an alarming rate. Bugs were building a resistance to the pesticides causing farmers to spray more frequently and use higher, more toxic levels of chemicals.

But what was equally troubling was that due to the lack of of bees and other natural pollinators, many farmers had turned to hand pollination which was laborious, slow and ineffective. Profits were drastically dipping and the forecast looked bleak.

Mario Levy was an Italian scientist who had joined the agricultural community at its start. He saw that something needed to be done or the farm would die.

Mario sprang into action. He requisitioned a bomb shelter on the farm and set up shop. Figuring that nature creates its own methods of fertilization and pest control, Mario went searching for clues deep underground.

He researched which bugs ate the bugs that ate the fruit. Find the predatory bugs, he reasoned, and you can protect your crop. After much trial and error, Mario discovered a number of unique natural pesticide solutions from a rare group of parasitic wasps that kill and mummify aphids by laying eggs in them to sterilizing male medflies to gradually kill out the harmful medfly population.

One of his most popular and game-changing discovery was the earth bumblebee which solved the hand pollination issue. Slowly, the farm began seeing improvements and profits were up. And like all good entrepreneurs, they began to mass produce these insects for other farms. They’re now a global enterprise called Bio Bee who are on a mission to naturally solve the pesticide issue.

Bio Bee is a great story about innovation, rising to the challenge and coming up with a creative solution which changes the world for the better.

It’s inspiring and a great reminder about the power of necessity.

But there was one thing that was itching me the whole time. And it’s the part that most people don’t speak about...

See, the vast majority of the people we work with at Brand Launcher are in some sort of pain. Whether it’s their team, systems, personal life, or finances, they’re in a crunch and need to make a change.

But every once in a while, I hear “Jon, everything's going great.” And it's true!

So here’s the bomb question: How do you grow and innovate when things are GOOD?

How do you seek out new opportunities when you’re NOT in a crunch? How do you maximize the “high times” to prepare yourself for the lows? How do you take your company to the next level of thriving?

Human nature is to sit back and relax when things are good. Why? Because we’re hard-wired to run from pain more than running to pleasure. It’s a lot easier to sell Aspirin than vitamins.

It’s easy to get caught up in the the big danger called complacency. We get so comfortable with what we’ve been doing for so long that we’re afraid to step out of our comfort zone and challenge the status quo.

Now, I’m not advocating creating problems when there are none. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

BUT, the best, thriving companies are those who constantly seek to grow, learn and improve.

Here are 3 short and sweet suggestions to get out of your comfort zone and innovate during the good times.

1. Find something you’re already doing well and do it better.

You’ve heard, “play to your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.” But I often see people spending so much time compensating for their weaknesses that they end up with a bunch of “strong weaknesses!” Yes, you need both, but don’t forget to improve on what you’re already good at.

  • Are your marketing efforts producing strong, predictable revenue? Crank up the volume by exploring new markets.
  • Is an employee excelling? Map out a Path of Ascension and move him or her up into a leadership role in the company.
  • Do you have enough free time to focus on non-business related areas? Add more purpose to your life by finding a cause that you’re passionate about and “donate” your time.

2. Look to exploit an untapped niche.

There are riches in niches. Unless you’re Walmart, you’ll be far more successful finding a niche and deeply penetrating it.

  • Is there an industry, new product line or service that you can offer that isn't saturated?
  • How can you dive deeper into a successful niche you’re already working with and become the go-to expert?

3. Survey your team and customers.

This takes guts, but it’s an incredibly eye-opening experience. Be courageous enough to ask your team for honest, candid feedback.

We’ve done this process with dozens of companies and have have always found the results incredibly enlightening. Surveying your team can shed a new light on many issues and opportunities allowing for a whole new level of growth.

[Download your Employee Survey Template here.]

Even braver? Survey your customers. Ask them what they don’t like, what you could be doing better, what they wish you offered.

The bottom line is never stop growing and innovating. Whether you’re in a crunch or riding high during the good times, look at every situation as an opportunity for growth.

Now it’s your turn.

Hit reply and tell me, when was one time necessity pushed you to come up with a creative solution?

Taking you from where you are to where you want to be,

Jon