As a business owner, you face two constant pressures: the pressure to be fuzzy and the pressure to have clarity. If you want to run a business that survives and succeeds, you need to get comfortable with the tension between these two approaches and you need to be comfortable with never fully achieving either one.
FUZZINESS AND CLARITY: WHAT ARE THEY?
Fuzziness in your business is the sloppy, draw-outside-the-lines, messiness of your business. I don’t necessarily mean disorganization or unprofessionalism; I mean the fuzziness that comes with trying new things, putting new ideas out into the world to see what happens, attempting a new marketing approach, testing a new product or service, working with a client in a new way or under a new type of agreement. Each of these scenarios (and many others I haven’t listed) creates a sense of fuzziness — a type of “clutter” in your business because each one creates new challenges and obstacles.
Clarity in your business is all about a smooth-flowing, predictable, almost-entirely-automated sales funnel that you create, refine, and then run without paying a lot of attention to. This approach strives to create predictability and balance and a nice clean straight line from finding clients to earning profit.
FUZZINESS AND CLARITY: WHICH IS BETTER?
Both realities will be present in most businesses. And it kind of works like a pendulum: At either end of the pendulum’s swing, that’s the fuzziness of your business. And the center point of the pendulum’s swing is the clarity. You will often see your business swing from having more fuzziness to more clarity to more fuzziness to more clarity to more fuzziness to more clarity to more fuzziness… and on and on like that.
You need both in your business: You need fuzziness to grow. That fuzziness is the the stretching of your business beyond the boundaries that you once thought were possible. You need clarity to get more profitable. That clarity is the refinement of your systems and processes to become efficient in what you do. You need both! A business that is too fuzzy for too long can grow but will risk burning out the owner, failing to serve customers properly, and may not earn sufficient ongoing revenue or enough profit to make it worthwhile. A business that has too much clarity for too long risks remaining stagnant and although they’re profitable, they may run out of customers, or they may miss out on innovation and industry developments and competitors could bypass them.
In my experience, new businesses start out with a lot of fuzziness. The founder tries new stuff, bashes their way into the business world with bold ideas and a whole bunch of enthusiasm. After a few sales and some early revenue generation, they start to swing that pendulum closer toward clarity as the determine what works and what doesn’t. But after a while, new opportunities open up or they want to grow and the fuzziness returns. And the longer a business lasts, the more clarity and “stasis” the owner wants to achieve.
But staying too fuzzy for too long or having too much clarity for too long is dangerous. You need to swing between each reality — sometimes having more of one than the other.
HOW DO YOU GET MORE OF EACH
How do you get fuzzier?
- Create a new product
- Test a new marketing method
- Change how you sell and who you sell to
- Create new deals with customers
- Double your sales efforts or hire a sales person
- Do something bold and daring that your competitors wouldn’t do
How do you get clarity?
- Build great relationships with your existing clients
- Find ways to be more efficient
- Build and refine your sales funnel
- Automate your sales funnel
- Perfect your existing marketing, sales, and delivery techniques
Fuzziness and clarity — they’re two realities that will always exist in your business… and should always be there. It’s tempting to try and sacrifice one for the other but you need both, and you need to get comfortable living in the tension between these two realities.