Steve Marr Blog

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Sep 09

Ongoing Learning

Posted by: Steve Marr

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The longer I am in business and accumulate more knowledge, the more I understand how much I have to learn.  For example, when I read scripture I have read many times before, the Lord may reveal new insights in a passage. Likewise in business, we need to be open to new ideas and new teachings to be effective.


We see an excellent example in scripture regarding Apollos.  “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explain to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:25-26, NASB)

At times I work with clients who get stuck in a paradigm that’s based on incorrect information. One example was “Sandy” who committed substantial amounts of money to advertising in the local newspaper. Sandy came to me for help with weak sales in spite of her advertising. I pointed out that in today’s marketing environment newspapers are becoming less effective at reaching customers.

I suggested a number of different ways including an improved website and key word searching techniques. I believed these ideas would be more helpful and cost-effective in reaching more customers. Sandy pushed back fairly hard against this concept telling me she’s heard some of this before, but she hasn’t seen much return on the new media advertising she tried.

I gave her a number of articles to read about how newspapers were becoming less effective and some information on how newer media was becoming more effective. I explained why I believed she didn’t have a good return with her new media trials. It wasn’t because the concept was wrong; it was that the implementation was ineffective.

I convinced Sandy to cut back on her newspaper ads by one third and invest this money with a different expert. In less than 30 days Sandy began to see new business increase from the Internet search engine optimization expert.  Then, she was happy to allocate an additional amount of money from newspaper advertising into Internet marketing. Again, business increased.

Over time Sandy allocated 80% of her advertising dollars to new media while she still kept 20% of with the local newspaper ads because they still reached some of her customers.

The issue with Sandy was that she had been wasting a lot of advertising money for a number of years by not embracing new techniques, reading current articles or taking the time to re-educate herself in today’s sales and marketing environment. If I hadn’t been able to convince Sandy that she needed to trust me by doing a short test of market dollar reallocation for advertising, she likely would’ve still been stuck in her old paradigm and missing out on any significant opportunity.

In your business life when someone takes you aside to help you, follow the example from Priscilla and Aquilla.  Listen and evaluate carefully. Determine whether the new information could be helpful.  Business leaders open to learning are more likely to grow their business than those who stay stuck in ways that do not produce good results.

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