Yolks and Yokes (but no Jokes)
For those that rightly associate yolks with egg whites, they once also referred to wooden harnesses (yokes) that held oxen in place for ploughing and other farming chores. As long as those oxen were plodding along on the right path, those yokes were helpful. The oxen were disciplined to persevere in the task at hand and not to stray.
What if, unlike the properly focused oxen, we are persevering on the wrong path? We follow our dreams and we are taught that perseverance against adversity is a necessary ingredient to achieving those dreams. A proper strategy is also critical to making the dream come true. Sticking with a strategy also requires some grit, but holding on to a flawed strategy for the sake of holding in is counterproductive.
How do we know when it is okay to give up on a strategy? Say you are trying to sell art prints online. Your innovation is to promote the art using original music. You invest money into a website platform which presents music and art projects, along with narratives. Your marketing efforts essentially revolve around directing traffic to the website.
It is reasonable to expect that, on a daily basis, you would be driving increasing amounts of traffic to the site, and from the traffic generating increasing numbers of sales. For a while it seems you are building some organic traffic to the site. Then a variety of technical issues cause that traffic to dry up. You do not have the expertise or the time to resolve
technical issues revolving around website management so you must give up on organic traffic. Persevering nonetheless, you focus on direct marketing and social media marketing. You get perhaps 5 – 10 visits to the site per day with this method and no sales. Finally, you resort to paid advertising. You get a lot of clicks to your dedicated landing page, but again, for any number of reasons, this traffic fails to convert either into email subscriptions or visits to the shop. You have perhaps spent 5-7 years trying to make a website strategy work, and you have perhaps invested over $10,000, with virtually no sales to show for your effort.
At this point you can assure yourself that perseverance is not the answer to this lack of success. You can assure yourself that even a flawed website, given that a website was the correct approach, would have generated better results. It is reasonable to consider a new strategy.
Lick The Wounds, Learn The Lessons, Try Something Else
Falling on your face hurts. You get bloodied. Sometimes your nose breaks and will heal a little crooked. While we are healing is a good time to take stock of lessons learned.
Most likely you were doing a few things right, just not in the right context. For example, you may have developed a large social media network. This network may yet prove
valuable. You probably gained technical insight into your product which has elevated your status as a product expert. You probably have a much better idea of the competitive
landscape and a much better idea of who makes sales and how they do it. Sometimes the new strategy is as simple as lopping off the portion of the strategy which was flawed and
redoubling efforts in those aspects which are useful. Perhaps, in this online art sales example, usiing the big social platforms for engagement seems to make the most sense.
Stick with your dreams. Re-evaluate your strategy. Persevere where perseverance is merited.