Let Go of Best Practices

Many companies still operate with the mindset of following best practices; methods and techniques that have been proven to work above and beyond the norm.

I’m often astounded at the number of clients that concern themselves with their industry’s best practices. When I consult on their brand’s digital presence, I’m often asked “Are we following the industry’s best practices?” When I hear these words (and I hear them a lot), I just want to pack up my things and leave.

More often, I’ll spend as much as two hours explaining to clients why letting go of best practices is the new best practice.

I cultivate game changers. I don’t want to waste my time working with clients that still have their heads operating inside their industry’s box. Packing up and walking away doesn’t happen too often. In fact, it’s only happened twice. I have gotten a lot smarter in quickly identifying, during the first phone meeting, whether or not a client will be worth my time. More often, I’ll spend as much as two hours explaining to clients why letting go of best practices is the new best practice.

innovate

I hate to bring up the word innovate (yet another annoying buzz word imho), but it’s relevant to this post. You’ve heard it said before and really, it’s the truth. Things are happening incredibly fast. There isn’t much out there that can be considered *original* anymore. Just as pretty blondes are a dime a dozen in L.A. (yes, I went there), so too are startups with great ideas (well, some not so great but I give then an A for effort). What sets these startups apart from all the other ones within the same category isn’t so much the first to market, though that helps too. Sometimes, being first doesn’t always mean being the best. In fact, being first leaves you open to others studying your offering, knowing your weakness, and improving on the wheel that you’ve just created – and making it better *ouch*.

Oooo. That was a long winded sentenced that didn’t even get to the point! Pardon me for that.

The point is, the startups that succeed are the ones that dare to be different. They don’t even have a box to “think inside of”. One or two of the components in their strategy is innovative. They innovate on something that has been done time and time again. They  understand best practices, but take it to another level and innovate for better practices. In other words, they lead the pack.

This is the million dollar question I ask clients. “Do you want to lead the pack?” If they say “yes” with a gleam in their eye (albeit a trace of doubt), then I know I can genuinely put my time, effort, bold creativity, and strategies into place. If they say “yes” without that gleam, I know it’ll be an uphill battle. I might as well change my name to Sisyphus. That might not be  an exact analogy. Hopefully, you get the picture.

Pssssst. Here’s a secret. Being innovative is so easy. Basically, it’s looking at what others are not doing, and doing it.  I know, I know, that doesn’t really sound like a recipe for success. That’s only part 1a. You need part 1b.

Part 1b is simply to be human.

Startups and companies that integrate basic human qualities and use these as a way to reach out to people (as common sense and logical as it may sound), is still an innovative way when it comes to communicating from a marketing standpoint. It’s innovative because it has not been readily adapted in best practices. In fact, clients are still worried and baffled at the idea of presenting their brand(s) as simply being human.

*sigh*

When companies are honest about what they want to do, and welcome others to help out in their goal, it ultimately results in a win-win. The company gets to achieve their goal(s) in a manner that people want to support. And, people will get something in return that they want (be it a product or a service).

After all, your startup idea or company goal(s) shouldn’t just be about doing something you are passionate about. You can’t really make money just from that, per se. Your idea or goal(s) should also include what others can get passionate about. Make them want it, or want to use it. You then have a foundation for monetization, should you go that route.

Moving forward, I highly recommend that we let go of best practices, innovate for better practices, and lead the pack.