Balance an important concept in business


Zachary Aldwin Milkshake in the boardroom
The Corrs, an Irish pop group that I grew up listening to, performed at the Royal Variety Performance this year.

The group staged a comeback after a 10-year hiatus and released a new album in November last year. Watching a recording of the show I was rather excited to see them perform one of their new songs.

Sadly they chose to go with one of their older, more popular hits from their past. It was nostalgic, it was beautiful, and the crowd loved it.

The crowd did not want the new song, it wanted the hit. There is a balance between pleasing the crowd and appealing to the niche.

That balance is not just applicable to music groups but to businesses as well. Enough people need to love your thing – the thing you do or sell – for you to be viable at the price you set.

By all means sell to the crowd; it has many pros and cons. Realise though that you may lose the thing that makes you popular among the niche.

Balance is an elusive concept. In many cases it is taken to mean that there are two extremes that cannot co-habitate effectively and that you can have one or the other but rarely both.

Yet, in order to achieve success you must be able to juggle both or you will fail. That is a wonderful paradox to start the year off.

This act can make a businessman feel like he is walking a tightrope the entire time, one that is strung over the Victoria Falls with some hungry crocodiles waiting for an slip ups downstream.

Creativity versus repetition. I engage in a sport with some super creative coaches who are always introducing new ways of training the skills needed.

I’m talking off the charts creative; tennis balls, pool noodles, bottles of water, luggage ties have all made their way into our training sessions.

Yet amidst all this creative flow we continually have to go back to the foundational basic drills that allow us to perform at maximum level.

If you are an entrepreneur there is a great chance that you are not standing in the production line doing the same task over and over.

Without creativity bringing new products, new ways of selling, fresh ideas to streamline processes a business stagnates.

Yet someone still has to do the repetitive work of the production line, balancing the accounts, reconciling the bank statements.

The foundations rarely change. You can have a variety of business plans but the basic tenant of investing in quality people with quality plans for the long term holds true.

Linked to this is the balance between change and routine. Some people love routine. They eat the same cereal every day, take the same route to work, generally wear the same clothes, and use the same brands.

It may sound boring but that is a poor way to describe them. These people are solid and dependable, the doers of repetition.

They may be resistant to change. Change is necessary, it is part of growth. We scan and email rather than fax.

We use computers and not typewriters. Too much of it at once, or continual change will fluster those who need a routine.

Balance the time spend on your product with the marketing that you do. Having a quality product sitting on the shelves is not going to make you or your investors happy.

Having a fantastic marketing strategy that sells shoddy goods is not going to make your customers come back.

There needs to be investment into both-and for a start up with limited resources deciding where to spend time and money can be a headache.

Too many people make the flaw of focusing on just one (usually the product) and forget the other. Spend time developing relationships with clients.

The big balancing act for many is the work versus rest of life one. Where do you find time for family, holidays, play, and children?

Honestly I have no idea. There are many schools of thought on this ranging from the ‘‘turn off your phone when you leave the office’’ type to ‘‘there is no time for anything but work, get over it’’.

Experiment, find what works for you. When it comes to play, make the most of the moments that come. Make work fun (well most of the time anyway) and rewarding.

The point of balance will swing; there is a time when creativity will be dominant for a bit and others where repetition will seem the order of the day. Find your rhythm, embrace it and make great work.

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