Episode 188 – It Doesn’t Matter How Prepared You Are If The Room Is Empty

You weren’t aiming for success.

How Being Unintentional Leads To Unintentional Failure

“I thought we’d sign up more people,” he said.

A haphazard, ill-planned, even more ill-planned execution of a marketing effort have left him depressed. Hundreds of dollars spent in in a direct mail campaign hardly qualified him  as a big spender, but for his small business it was a significant investment. At least in dollars. It was over $500 and he won’t spend that kind of money flippantly.

Unfortunately, he didn’t spend more than a single hour of effort. It’s not like he was throwing money at the problem. No, that wasn’t it. He wasn’t thinking that he’d simply write a check and all would be right with the world.

However, he was given to the false notion of “build it and they will come.” We’ve all done it. That is, we’ve not given enough thought to our offer, but succumbed to the thought, “Yeah, people will want this” when in reality, nobody wanted it. Other times, the offer may have been fine, but our timing was wrong. I’m reminded of the countless stories of Internet marketers who launched and forgot it was a national holiday where lots of people are traveling. Stupid mistakes that most of us with any experience have made at one point or another.

Sadly, those weren’t the issues that plagued him. Not this time. No, it was something far more sinister.

It was his fault. Period.

He simply hadn’t paid enough attention to the effort. Well, that’s not entirely true. He had given plenty of thought to the offer and the delivery of the offer. He simply had spent no time at all on filling the room.

If the room is empty, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are.

If people don’t buy, the quality of the product, service, presentation or “fill-in-the-blank” just doesn’t matter.

It’s that tree falling in a forest when nobody is there to listen quandary. It doesn’t matter how big a THUD the tree makes. Nobody can hear it. So, what does it matter?

The fact is, he wasn’t aiming for success, but he was expecting to experience success. It’s a natural law that God put into place.

Gal. 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

You reap what you sow. Not what you expect. Not what you hope for. Not what you feel you deserve. Not what you think you need.

What you sow.

Last time I looked sowing involved work. Hard work. Doing something. Going out into the field. Preparing the field for seed. Breaking up the hard ground. Then sowing the seed. Followed by cultivating the seed. Hours of weeding, fending off pests and doing everything possible to help the seed grow. Hours, days and weeks of hard work result in a harvest.

Patience is a virtue missing in many business plans.

I don’t mean formal business plans. I mean daily business plans. I mean the objectives people have in their business enterprises.

People want to sling the seed without much thought and reap a bountiful harvest. Well, wake up Mr. Seed Slinger, it doesn’t work that way.

We love outlier stories. Stories of blind pigs finding truffles, blind squirrels finding acorns and broken clocks being right twice a day. Those stories fill popular business culture. And it’s pointless to doubt them. It’s also pointless to spend your time trying to replicate them. Or to even listen to the details.

Close examination of how the guy hit a hole in one won’t help you do it.

Some things simply happen. Like the blind pig, blind squirrel or broken clock. To be sure, the golfer who hits a hole in one likely has some ability to play golf, depending on the distance to the hole. I mean, take  a guy like me who can’t hit the broad side of a barn with a golf club and I’m not going to ever hit a hole in one. But the world’s greatest golfers won’t likely have better odds over the average player, except for the fact that they’re playing golf more often.

Hope is a poor strategy, but so is trying to replicate an outlier.


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