Some Business Models Are No Longer Viable

by Steve B 42 replies
No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But this advice, which comes from the extensive experience of a true legendary marketer, Gary Halbert, could save you untold hours, stress, and money.

To my best recollection, Halbert (in his marketing "letter" years ago) recounted being at Jay Abraham's seminar teaching marketing principles. A Chicago man and his partners were there to learn how to market their construction business product (new residential homes). Halbert was aware that the largest employer in the area, Sears, was about to leave town and that there were many, many homes already up for sale. He told these men that basically, their game was over in this region . . . that they should either move their business out of the Chicago area or go into a new and different business.

Halbert said these partners left the seminar in a huff, saying they hadn't spent many thousands of dollars to hear this news from some idiot that didn't understand what they had invested in their business.

Halbert went on to explain that part of business wisdom is knowing when it's time to move on - when to quit because something about your business model or market has changed or run its course. [Side note: This is especially true today with technology and consumer preferences. Our world can change on a dime and it has in many ways over the past 1-3 years.]

It is business wisdom to understand this: failure to recognize change can be extremely costly.

Why do business owners cling tight to failing businesses? Ego? Denial of the facts? Pride? Or maybe they just don't recognize the handwriting on the wall.

Yogi Berra, the philsopher, used to say "When it's over, it's over." Pure business wisdom! (BTW, for you youngsters that don't know the name, Berra was a funny outspoken all-star catcher for the NY Yankees back in the day)

Halbert's point is especially appropriate for this forum. How many times do members here give the advice to struggling new business owners: "Just take massive action," "Never give up," "Think positively," "Anything is possible if you believe," and on and on . . . Halbert used the example of Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins telling the three foot midget to never loose sight of his dream to be an NBA star because "handicaps are nothing but opportunities in disguise!"

If you don't see it yet, here's Halbert's point and my reason for sharing this post:

There is a fine line between being persistent to a fault, and recognizing when, as the business owner, you need to fold up the tent, cut your losses, and retool for a better business model. Sometimes outdated or nearly obsolete technology is to blame. Sometimes market preferences and sentiment changes. Sometimes money flows out of certain niches and into others. Sometimes your failing business model was never a good one from the start!

I remember Halbert joked about the typewriter repairman that refused to change occupations.

As we move into the new year, take some time to consider your current business model. Is it still viable? Is there new technology or changing sentiment creeping into your niche? Are you informed about your changing marketplace? Those that see and anticipate change are usually the business winners.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Steve
#main internet marketing discussion forum #business #longer #models #viable
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  • Profile picture of the author expmrb
    Thanks for sharing this Steve.

    "Why do business owners cling tight to failing businesses? Ego? Denial of the facts? Pride? Or maybe they just don't recognize the handwriting on the wall."

    I specially liked your statement here. People are often stubborn to recognize this but its true that's why they fail.

    Change will happen now or after its the law of nature.

    And a very Happy New year to you and to your family too. Take care.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

    Why do business owners cling tight to failing businesses? Ego? Denial of the facts? Pride? Or maybe they just don't recognize the handwriting on the wall.
    A lot of it's to do with the sunk cost fallacy. We're all prone to loss aversion - allowing what we've already invested (time, work, money, hopes, dreams) in a venture, to taint our decisions, rather than looking at the situation objectively. I suspect that's what caused those real-estate businessmen to leave the seminar.

    Good points well made, Steve.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ivan2b
      Exactly and not only that. There are many reasons why business owners simply fall in the most basic areas on the market. I always say it is good to go into someone else shoes before you are able to say something so in order to looking objectively for those situation you need to pass the same road.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    I think what's coming down the line, which will affect most, if not all of us, is "voice search" via Alexa and other AI-voice things.

    It will certainly affect SEO and internet usage in general. I think Google is already headed in that direction. It may not be the "doom of the internet", but I'm sure it will be very impactful in the years to come.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    "Just take massive action," "Never give up," "Think positively," "Anything is possible if you believe," and on and on
    My favorite - "Failure is not an option!" This is usually from someone who clearly doesn't have a prayer.

    Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
    This post contains some really good advice especially going into the new year. There are many business models that may not make sense to continue with in the new year. Find out if the model you're using right now is one of them and get out before it's too late.

    Thanks for the advice and the post! Really some things to think about for the upcoming year.

    Take care.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I'm often shocked at the amount of 'emotion' some put into their online efforts. I see cutesy names for domains or businesses and think "2-3 people convinced themselves - this was a great name". The emotional roller coasters some marketers seem to ride constantly look exhausting to me.

    A niche is viable...or it isn't. An idea works...or it doesn't. I plan can be executed successfully...or it can't. Allowing emotional attachments to work product/ideas/etc can be damaging to your potential success as it distorts your view of reality.

    So often we see posts saying "after all the work I've, done" or 'I've put so much of myself into this I won't give up"....what you have 'done' and what you have 'accomplished' aren't always compatible.
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    • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      I'm often shocked at the amount of 'emotion' some put into their online efforts. I see cutesy names for domains or businesses and think "2-3 people convinced themselves - this was a great name". The emotional roller coasters some marketers seem to ride constantly look exhausting to me.

      A niche is viable...or it isn't. An idea works...or it doesn't. I plan can be executed successfully...or it can't. Allowing emotional attachments to work product/ideas/etc can be damaging to your potential success as it distorts your view of reality.

      So often we see posts saying "after all the work I've, done" or 'I've put so much of myself into this I won't give up"....what you have 'done' and what you have 'accomplished' aren't always compatible.
      This is also another good point that you're making. A lot of people don't take the time to think about the niches that they are going into when they choose to do business online. They just rush into it thinking that some way they will just be able to make money.

      If a niche is not a good niche there isn't anything that you can do to make money from it. This is just something that you need to know from the start and if you can't then you won't make money.

      Learn to do good niche research in the beginning and when you find a good niche half of the hard work will be done.
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    • Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      I'm often shocked at the amount of 'emotion' some put into their online efforts. I see cutesy names for domains or businesses and think "2-3 people convinced themselves - this was a great name". The emotional roller coasters some marketers seem to ride constantly look exhausting to me.

      A niche is viable...or it isn't. An idea works...or it doesn't. I plan can be executed successfully...or it can't. Allowing emotional attachments to work product/ideas/etc can be damaging to your potential success as it distorts your view of reality.

      So often we see posts saying "after all the work I've, done" or 'I've put so much of myself into this I won't give up"....what you have 'done' and what you have 'accomplished' aren't always compatible.
      You have absolutely no idea how this statement rings true with me. "A niche is viable...or it isn't. An idea works...or it doesn't." And might I add, even if it were viable, there can come a time when it won't work anymore. And that's when you gotta pack up and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

    Halbert's point is especially appropriate for this forum. How many times do members here give the advice to struggling new business owners: "Just take massive action," "Never give up," "Think positively," "Anything is possible if you believe," and on and on . . .
    I thought I would chime in as I have (many times) encouraged People to "Never give up" and to "Keep going" (etc.)

    In the correct context what I mean by all that is -- Don't give up on your overall goal of being a successful Internet Marketer/Entrepreneur/etc. Many times -- the keep going advice -- means exactly what you were saying, Steve: A person has to recognize when something isn't working (and/or after they have "failed") and begin another venture (while learning something from the previous).


    2C.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Brindamour
    Steve B

    This is a great article! Think of what has changed in the last 10 years and the markets that didn't exist and other markets that have gone by the wayside!

    Mom & Pop hardware stores....gone.....Video stores....gone....Sears, Kmart...dead or dying....

    More & more transactions are now done online....

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    A lot of people don't take the time to think about the niches that they are going into when they choose to do business online. They just rush into it thinking that some way they will just be able to make money.
    A lot of that stems from the "What are you passionate about?" nonsense.

    Every time I see someone say that I wish I could reach through my computer and slap them.

    Brent
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    • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      A lot of that stems from the "What are you passionate about?" nonsense.

      Every time I see someone say that I wish I could reach through my computer and slap them.

      Brent
      I definitely agree with you on the passion thing. I've been trying to do that for years and most of the things I'm passionate about won't make me money. Making money from something you're passionate about is good if there is a market for it, but if there isn't then it makes no sense.

      Find a market with a need and create value for the people in that market. Approaching business from a value perspective will open up more doors for you to make money.

      Figure out how to deliver value and you'll make money every time.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
        Originally Posted by oppyeaunome View Post

        I definitely agree with you on the passion thing. I've been trying to do that for years and most of the things I'm passionate about won't make me money.
        I could be wrong however when it's recommended to "Choose something you're passionate about" ― it doesn't mean something like a hobby (etc.) ... Instead an Online Venture (etc.) that you're interested in and passionate about.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

    My favorite - "Failure is not an option!" This is usually from someone who clearly doesn't have a prayer.

    Brent
    They are actually 100% correct!

    Sometimes failure is not an option - it's a standard feature, built in from the beginning...
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    I've been trying to do that for years and most of the things I'm passionate about won't make me money
    You and I and about 99% of other people.

    The people who can actually make money from their "passions": are fortunate (I guess) and very few.

    Everything I'm passionate about is either illegal, immoral, fattening...or impossible?

    it's a standard feature, built in from the beginning..
    I've been involved in the "Opportunity seeker" market for like 30 years. They come and go quickly, but strangely never change.

    Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    Lack of action has sunk more ideas and killed more dreams, than failure ever will.

    The majority of people never get to the planning stage.

    You can count on this. Without action, nothing is going to happen.

    Ron
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    • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
      Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

      Lack of action has sunk more ideas and killed more dreams, than failure ever will.
      The same could be true of "failure/rejection." The board game Monopoly was "rejected" several times before it was successful.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
        Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

        The same could be true of "failure/rejection." The board game Monopoly was "rejected" several times before it was successful.
        Not the same, Jonathan. The lack of taking action, has killed more opportunity than all the failures in the world since the beginning of time. Most people do not act on their ideas.

        "The board game Monopoly was rejected"..... implies that someone took action, created a board game and then tried to sell it to a game company or distributor. Very different from having the idea for a board game, but never acting on the idea.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
          Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

          Not the same, Jonathan. The lack of taking action, has killed more opportunity than all the failures in the world since the beginning of time. Most people do not act on their ideas.
          No. I agree. Many times if a Person were to keep taking action -- regardless of "rejection"/"failure" -- they would be successful. Which goes back to my point about never giving up.

          Sometimes a Person has to keep going not matter what until they're successful. Maybe a Person's idea isn't a "good" one ... However they will never know unless they give it their all. (Even then, they could choose another venture that will be successful.)

          2C
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          • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
            Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

            No. I agree. Many times if a Person were to keep taking action -- regardless of "rejection"/"failure" -- they would be successful. Which goes back to my point about never giving up.

            Sometimes a Person has to keep going not matter what until they're successful. Maybe a Person's idea isn't a "good" one ... However they will never know unless they give it their all. (Even then, they could choose another venture that will be successful.)

            2C
            That's true of a lot of inventions. Edison's repeated attempts and failures with the lightbulb. The Wright brothers attempts to build a plane that could fly, were modeled and molded by their own failures and the failures of others, which they noted and didn't repeat.

            Sometimes you have to break out from the "known" and "accepted" put your head down, charge forward and make it happen. The Beatles are an excellent example.

            Ron
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            • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
              Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

              Sometimes you have to break out from the "known" and "accepted" put your head down, charge forward and make it happen. The Beatles are an excellent example.
              Interesting : ) What I love about The Beatles example is they spent years and years abroad learning their "craft" before breaking into the UK on The Ed sullivan show.
              : )
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              • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                Interesting : ) What I love about The Beatles example is they spent years and years abroad learning their "craft" before breaking into the UK on The Ed sullivan show.
                : )
                What in Heaven's name are you talking about? lol Google is your friend and it appears you really need a good friend to handle this one.
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                • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
                  Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

                  What in Heaven's name are you talking about? lol Google is your friend and it appears you really need a good friend to handle this one.
                  If memory serves ... I.think it was Germany where they honed their skills.

                  P.S.
                  I'll be your Internet Buddy if you like lil Franky.
                  (Hehe)
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                  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                    Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                    If memory serves ... I.think it was Germany where they honed their skills.
                    Nothing to do with your memory. You read that on Google and actually quoted a Wikipedia entry. The Germany period factoid that anyone that lived through the 60's would not need Wikipedia to help them with, but we'll forgive you your lack of first-hand knowledge on the topic that are a byproduct of your youth. lol

                    I was referring to, "before breaking into the UK on The Ed Sullivan show."

                    Perhaps you'd like to clarify that statement.

                    P.S. I'll be your Internet Buddy if you like lil Franky. (Hehe)
                    We get it. You're hard-up for friends, but would you really stoop that low? Wouldn't just getting a dog be a lot easier without the need of sullying your reputation by admitting to associating with the likes of someone such as myself?
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              • Profile picture of the author dansbanners
                Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                Interesting : ) What I love about The Beatles example is they spent years and years abroad learning their "craft" before breaking into the UK on The Ed sullivan show.
                : )
                They did go to Germany in the early 1960's. Ringo wasn't even with the group at the time. However, they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in NY in February 1964.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    it doesn't mean something like a hobby (etc.) ... Instead an Online Venture (etc.) that you're interested in and passionate about.
    No, that is exactly what is meant, and you know it.

    Lack of action has sunk more ideas and killed more dreams, than failure ever will.
    That doesn't make sense. Lack of action may have caused the failure that killed the "dream."

    Action without a solid plan and specific goals is called "spinning your wheels." It doesn't matter how much action you take, you still get nowhere.

    The difference between a "dream/idea" and a plan is implementation.

    Brent
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      That doesn't make sense. Lack of action may have caused the failure that killed the "dream."

      Action without a solid plan and specific goals is called "spinning your wheels." It doesn't matter how much action you take, you still get nowhere.

      The difference between a "dream/idea" and a plan is implementation.
      I could have explained it better. Too many people worry about failure, so they never even get to the planning stage, which is a form of taking action. "Implementation" is, by definition, taking action.

      "Spinning your wheels", is a place that most dreamers never get to,since most take no action. Again, since most ideas never get to the planning or action stage, most ideas remain as dreams.

      Failure is not the issue. Lack of acting on the idea, to even get it to the planning stage, is. Hope this is clearer.

      Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author Shelly9
    In my younger days I was a fast pitcher. My dad spent countless hours in my backyard catching my wild pitches. He also taught me to harness the strength that I had built up in my arm and shoulder to be used as an outfielder, just in case my high school was still slow pitch when I got there....which did happen. You see, my dad is an engineer. He has the mind of a person that has the mentality that failure is ALWAYS an option and so we will go to war against it. He taught me to think ahead in sports as well in life. I understand why people don't like change. I think for the most part, they just don't like the idea of it. To me it is amazing that business owners cling to old business models out of fear of the future, not of fear of failure. They would rather hang on to the ship as it sinks than jump off into the water and risk having to learn to float in unknown waters. But hey, that is what life is all about, sink or swim, fast pitch or slow pitch.
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  • Profile picture of the author copyghost
    "nothing is impossible for a man who refuses to listen to reason,"
    ― Gary Halbert, The Boron Letters
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by copyghost View Post

      "nothing is impossible for a man who refuses to listen to reason,"
      ― Gary Halbert, The Boron Letters
      Gary never said that that person ever actually accomplished anything, just that they refused to believe it was impossible.
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  • Profile picture of the author SaraWilliams
    Failure is not an option! so go ahead
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  • Profile picture of the author 100k
    Short & sweet.

    Nice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel1000
    Nice one Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris30K
    This is a pretty nice post, if I'm being honest.
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    Chic Fil A > McDonald's

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  • Profile picture of the author Chris30K
    I love this article, I would like to add that their business model was still available, but it just required them to change locations.
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    Chic Fil A > McDonald's

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Turner
    Awesome article and reiterates one of my favourite sayings "There is nothing so constant as change"
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Absolutely right - but this is the way things have ALWAYS been in business. It just seems to happen a lot quicker nowadays. Canals and stagecoaches were no longer viable after railways took off. Now high street stores are suffering because people find it more convenient to shop online. Darwin's maxim of the "survival of the fittest" doesn't just apply to evolution. You've got to adapt or die.

    The most successful businesses know how to use changing times to their advantage and adapt their business model accordingly; the most successful entrepreneurs know when it's time to pull the plug on their current business and move on to something else.

    Great article.
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    I see a lot of people here become "married" to their ideas and opinions. I always suggest to utilize what eastern meditation refers to as 'mindfulness'.....i.e being able to stand outside your body and mind and do a self evaluation from an unbiased psyche
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

    No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But this advice, which comes from the extensive experience of a true legendary marketer, Gary Halbert, could save you untold hours, stress, and money.

    To my best recollection, Halbert (in his marketing "letter" years ago) recounted being at Jay Abraham's seminar teaching marketing principles. A Chicago man and his partners were there to learn how to market their construction business product (new residential homes). Halbert was aware that the largest employer in the area, Sears, was about to leave town and that there were many, many homes already up for sale. He told these men that basically, their game was over in this region . . . that they should either move their business out of the Chicago area or go into a new and different business.

    Halbert said these partners left the seminar in a huff, saying they hadn't spent many thousands of dollars to hear this news from some idiot that didn't understand what they had invested in their business.

    Halbert went on to explain that part of business wisdom is knowing when it's time to move on - when to quit because something about your business model or market has changed or run its course. [Side note: This is especially true today with technology and consumer preferences. Our world can change on a dime and it has in many ways over the past 1-3 years.]

    It is business wisdom to understand this: failure to recognize change can be extremely costly.

    Why do business owners cling tight to failing businesses? Ego? Denial of the facts? Pride? Or maybe they just don't recognize the handwriting on the wall.

    Yogi Berra, the philsopher, used to say "When it's over, it's over." Pure business wisdom! (BTW, for you youngsters that don't know the name, Berra was a funny outspoken all-star catcher for the NY Yankees back in the day)

    Halbert's point is especially appropriate for this forum. How many times do members here give the advice to struggling new business owners: "Just take massive action," "Never give up," "Think positively," "Anything is possible if you believe," and on and on . . . Halbert used the example of Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins telling the three foot midget to never loose sight of his dream to be an NBA star because "handicaps are nothing but opportunities in disguise!"

    If you don't see it yet, here's Halbert's point and my reason for sharing this post:

    There is a fine line between being persistent to a fault, and recognizing when, as the business owner, you need to fold up the tent, cut your losses, and retool for a better business model. Sometimes outdated or nearly obsolete technology is to blame. Sometimes market preferences and sentiment changes. Sometimes money flows out of certain niches and into others. Sometimes your failing business model was never a good one from the start!

    I remember Halbert joked about the typewriter repairman that refused to change occupations.

    As we move into the new year, take some time to consider your current business model. Is it still viable? Is there new technology or changing sentiment creeping into your niche? Are you informed about your changing marketplace? Those that see and anticipate change are usually the business winners.

    Happy New Year to all of you!

    Steve
    I think the biggest takeaway is make sure you know when it's time to move on. But at the same time, don't give up completely, just stop what's not working and move on to a new area that is working. I've heard this phrase many times in this industry - "adapt or die". I'm sure if anyone's been around for a few years, they have likely seen this as well - those who adapt will usually prevail, those who don't will normally disappear.
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  • Profile picture of the author SiteNameSales
    Yes, you have to be nimble and I think it's just as much dropping what no longer works to refraining from devoting a lot of time to the latest fad. I'm thinking of Periscope or Myspace and a variety of other waves of the future.

    At the same time, I know a lot of people who avoid Twitter, possibly because it adds more work or simply because they have not seen any benefit or have acquaintances who became discouraged. You never know and, if you don't try, you never will.

    Then, too, there are the forgotten gems of the past like Tumblr and Stumbleupon. Tried and true and worth spending the time in cultivating a presence. Not Web 2.0, but people are inclined to forget that there's a bigger market out there besides Facebook.

    It's possible the a lack of certain skills hold people back. They know what they know and if, say, they've been blogging for 10 years, the idea of devoting some of the time to creating videos might be off-putting.

    This is a round-about way of saying can benefit from a forum like this where various methods, techniques and software are freely discussed. Take a look at some of the various marketing courses and techniques that are evolving and changing the marketplace. Maybe put a toe in and see how it goes.

    Set your own time-frame. But accessing risk, allocating resources, and making decisions to hang in there or cut and run is all part of the fun.

    If you have some spare time The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come might be a good read.
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  • Profile picture of the author dansbanners
    Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

    Yogi Berra, the philsopher, used to say "When it's over, it's over." Pure business wisdom! (BTW, for you youngsters that don't know the name, Berra was a funny outspoken all-star catcher for the NY Yankees back in the day)
    Good article. However, Yogi actually said "It ain't over till it's over".
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