June, 2023 | by Shelley Carter, Sandbox Creative Group
A great business and marketing strategy includes learning to improvise, adapt and overcome
Something that should be self-evident to all of us is that ~ Things will go wrong… this is a given. The more experience you have, you quickly learn to “expect the unexpected” and never be caught off guard, when even the best laid plans go amiss. You can’t spend a lot of time wishing things were different. You just need to spend time finding a solution.
Improvise, adapt and overcome might be the unofficial slogan of the Marine Corps and Clint Eastwood in the movie, “Heartbreak Ridge” but it is equally important in navigating life and business. Creativity sits at the heart of entrepreneurship for good reason. Becoming creative at Improvising, adapting and overcoming, both in action and in mindset, are the key things that have helped us, help companies and individuals through the ups and downs of running a business.
Taking our lumps as we grow is how we learn. So as long as we use those experiences to get better, then it smooths the ups and downs that everyone goes through no matter how well laid out your plan may be.
Finding new ways to solve problems is what businesses do and have done for all time. This was never so apparent than during the 2020 pandemic. Businesses, didn’t all just give up, they needed to learn to “pivot”, and adapt new skills for over a year with very little light at the end of the tunnel. Improvising, adapting and overcoming was front and centre for all businesses that wanted to survive during this time. Here is what we have learnt over our years in business at Sandbox.
Improvise & focus on what you can control.
This is a powerful mindset, since it diverts our energy from worrying about things we can’t always influence (i.e. the economy) to areas in which we can have meaningful, positive impact. Look at where you are and how that is different from where you thought you would be. Be honest with yourself and find out what has changed in your original plan. Don’t be afraid to improvise along the way.
Improvise: im·pro·vise (verb): create and perform spontaneously or without preparation: Don’t prepare each minute of every day. Sometimes our habit of excessive planning gets in the way of spontaneity and seeing solutions that are right in front of us.
Adapt & course correct to attain your goals.
The key to keeping your strategic business plan on track is to adapt a flexible mindset, so that you can make adjustments as needed to reach your goals. A plane taking off from Calgary and flying to Hawaii is slightly off course most of the time it’s in the air, thanks to the jet stream and trade winds. And yet it still lands in Hawaii, because the navigational instruments on board are constantly making small tweaks to correct the course of the plane, so that you don’t touch down in the middle of no where. Your strategic marketing and brand plan is like that plane in its flight path ~ you need to stay aware and make small adjustments from time to time, but in doing so, you’ll ensure landing where you wanted to without having to completely change direction or bail out and open an emergency parachute. To carry this common analogy further ~ we can’t control the jet stream or trade winds, so we must focus on what we can control—like the adjustments within your plan, if needed along the way. When challenges arise, be prepared to come up with changes to your plan that will help you reach your new goals. You may need to take less risk with some of your marketing investments to make sure your business survives. You may need to extend your next product or service launch date in order to have time to regroup and find new opportunities. Whatever the circumstances, adapt to your new world and set a course to thrive in it. When you keep your attitude positive at all times~ even when everything seems to be descending into chaos unknown before now ~ you need to keep your mind open to possibilities.
Adapt: a·dapt (verb): make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify.
Be open to opportunities & overcome challenges
While not always obvious, a crisis can create opportunities that provide future benefits (since one day your company will come out of this challenging time). Take challenges that creep up, in stride and make note the progress you are making each and every day. It may take months to get to the root of a problem, brainstorm solutions, implement changes and see the results, so stay patient. You have to celebrate the daily successes that are getting you closer and closer to your ultimate goal. Try to focus on what is in your realm of control. There are some things that we don’t, and never will have control over. It’s important to identify these situations as soon as possible so that you can turn your focus and energy to things that you can change. Implement your new plan. Set your sight on the new course and don’t look back at where you could have been. Look forward to where you are going. Your businesses charted course will have many changes throughout the years and likely this will just be one of many to come.
Overcome: o·ver·come (verb): succeed in dealing with (a problem or difficulty)Improvise, adapt and overcome is a necessary strategy for all businesses. Practice these steps within your business plan you will be fine… until the next time. Then you do it all over again and we will be here to help you through! Agency’s like Sandbox Creative Group can help your business and brand plan for the next unexpected challenge that will undoubtably come in the future.