What common thread is woven through each of these situations?
The client who demands creative idea after idea but never actually makes a purchase?
The salesperson who is personable but can’t seem to ever close a sale?
The RFP that you pursue even though it incorporates several provisions that make winning the business unsavory?
The answer: each of them has potential. Potential is my least favorite word in business, especially when it’s used to justify relationships or activities that never develop into success.
At the outset of any relationship or business activity, potential is critical. However, potential alone only goes so far; at some point, it needs to be put into motion to create success. Too often business owners embrace the continued “potential” of situations to justify their existence.
Like any perishable, potential has a shelf life. As a business person, it’s imperative to check your internal “use by” date - your gut feelings - to make tough, but necessary decisions. Perhaps it’s time to sever ties with the client who takes your creative ideas but never gives you an order, to part ways with the sales rep that can’t close, or turn down the RFP that borders on obnoxious.
For potential to yield any value it must be converted into success as pinning hopes on continued unfulfilled potential doesn’t reward either party and leads to frustration. To truly succeed, patience for potential and expectations for results must be in balance. If the scales are too heavily weighted in the wrong direction, you can potential your way right out of business.