When I asked the business owner what their plan was to achieve success, that is what they told me, “We are going to fake it until we make it.”
Now I’m familiar with the old saying, “Never let them see you sweat.” And its alternatives involving crying, screaming, and so forth. So in part, I understand the sentiment. I hoped the owner was suggesting that they would not let anyone know they were struggling as a business and instead have everyone think they were successful. After all, who wants to do business with something that is failing?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Far too many businesses take the fake it till you make it approach and sadly never make it.
If I had to pick one thing that is the root of their problem, it would be focus. The business is not focused and instead engages in the activity I call “Chasing the Dollars.” While I could write volumes on that, the crux of that approach is that the business will do anything for revenue, go well outside of its mission and vision because someone will give them dollars to do something. This is common in early-stage businesses that need strong cash flow to grow and keep the lights on. It also happens to established companies during periods of economic downturns, such as those during a pandemic.
The problem with those approaches is that the business loses its way. It becomes a free-for-all regarding business development. Worse of all, your target market doesn’t understand what you do. As a result, you lose your target market, and all you will do is ride the business toward its eventual and assured demise.
While you don’t want to say to your customers, “We are struggling badly and may close our doors unless you buy from us,” you internally do not want to ignore that strong warning. “Fake it till we make it” may be a good PR strategy, but it stinks as a business strategy.
So what do you do? Here are some suggestions:
1. Review your business processes, including your budget, marketing, customer service, and strategy.
2. Review your sales channels. What new ways are there for you to sell your product or services.
3. Review your product and service delivery methods to ensure you can meet the new customer demand.
4. Identify effective budget processes that ensure profitability
5. Review your Internet presence.
That review should include updating, measuring, evaluating, and in some cases, changing. Old ways may not be best for the new reality. New methods may have to be learned. Processes must be evaluated, refined, and made more efficient. Your target market needs to be maintained or, if it no longer meets the needs of your business, it should be changed.
You then develop an action plan that will establish sustainable growth and profitability for your business. Not a flash in the pan quick fix either. All those do is give you a new set of problems to challenge your business survival. Your approach should be customized to your business in a clear direction, simple to use, and sustainable as it relates to growth and profit. If it doesn’t meet all three of those criteria, don’t do it.
Building a sustainably profitable business doesn’t have to be hard. With the right focus, the proper assistance, and the right team, you can grow a business that goes beyond your dreams. When you do that, you’ll never have to consider fake it till you make it again.