“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Practical advice? Or famous last words?
Many have argued for a long time that if something is working the way it is, you shouldn’t mess with it. The reasoning is that you might make it worse, rather than better. By experimenting, pushing through boundaries, or trying something new, it’s possible that you will break the very thing you were trying to make better.
But visionary entrepreneurs have shown time and again that great ideas don’t just come from fixing broken things. They come from making an existing idea even better.
That’s great for them, but not so good for the current businesses in the industry. If you’re not evolving and trying to make your current system better, you are increasingly at risk of losing ground to a competitor.
Trust me, someone is out there, looking at what you’re doing and trying improve on it. It’s only a matter of time before they succeed. Unless, of course, you keep ahead of them. To do that…
You Need to Fix What’s Not Broken
Hopefully, you’re utilizing proper metrics and tracking KPIs. If you’re not, you definitely should be.
Typically, that information is used to find what’s not working so well and adjust accordingly. But you shouldn’t just focus on the weak areas. You need to improve your strengths as well. If a quarterback is great at long passes, but weak on shorter passes, would they put a bigger emphasis on practicing their short game?
Your initial inclination may be to say, “Yes! Of course,” but I would disagree. Sure, work to improve weaknesses, play to your strengths. Develop your strengths even further. Use those strengths to create whole new skills or opportunities.
There’s Opportunity in Improving the Areas No One Else is Focusing On
In any industry, especially saturated or competitive ones, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of the niche. A lot of businesses focus on the big-ticket items and pain points. Improvements tend to be incremental and similar to what everyone else is doing.
By targeting an area everyone has taken for granted, you just might be able give your customers something they didn’t even know they wanted. You truly fix something that wasn’t broken.
That’s a little confusing, so let’s look at an example in the tech industry.
Since the release of the iPhone and the waves of similar styled Android and Windows phones that followed, the smartphone industry became a game of numbers and style. How much power does it have? How sleek and thin is it? How long does the battery last?
Everyone was trying to cram more into less.
Enter Samsung in 2011 where they introduced a phone called the Galaxy Note. In many ways, it felt like it was going the opposite direction of other smartphones.
First off, it wasn’t small and sleek. It was huge. But the craziest thing was it brought back the stylus, something that Steve Jobs had unofficially “killed” when he introduced the first iPhone four years earlier.
If there was one area where the smartphone didn’t need to be “fixed”, it was its touch screen capabilities, right?
Apparently not. Though initially mocked by many, the Note was a surprise success, and the product line would end up becoming one of the most popular in all of smartphones. Every major company would eventually release large screen devices (known as phablets) to compete. Even Apple.
The stylus also came back in a big way afterwards, appearing in other phones and major tablets. Even Apple now has a stylus for their iPad Pro.
It turned out, people actually wanted bigger screens and the ability to write on those screens. But no one knew that until Samsung tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. Samsung is officially the most popular phone manufacturer now in both the US and the world.
Will they remain #1 or will someone leapfrog their position? That may very well depend on who has the best camera capability. Who knew that we all had to (repeat…had to) have high quality cameras on our person at all times? Another great example of fixing what was not broken.
When you reexamine the areas that appear to be working just fine, you might be surprised what ideas you’ll come up with. And those ideas just might be the game changer your business needs.