Things change.

It sounds like the most obvious sentence in the world, but you will be amazed how often your peers (and maybe even you) forget it.

What this means is that no matter how hard you have worked on your strategy, if it is clear it isn't working, you need to adapt.

You must willing to alter your approach.

The commitment to your overarching goal doesn't change. But how you get there might (and so might what you end up doing for a living).

Here's an example of what we are talking about. A fortysomething woman who has spent all her time working in corporate public relations departments decides it's finally time to start her own communications firm.

The traditional approach would be to do a business plan for an independent corporate public relations firm, line up investors, find office space, and open the doors on day one several hundred thousands of dollars in debt.

Yikes.

The best entrepreneurs take a different approach. They have an idea. ("I want to start my own communications business") and they get underway--not by quitting their day job but by calling around after hours and on weekends to see if all those people they think will become clients actually will.

After they have taken that small step--the calls really haven't cost them anything other than a bit of time and some minutes out of their cell phone plan--they judge the market's reaction. ("Gee, no one seems to be get overly excited about yet another corporate PR firm. But everyone tells me what they have liked about my work is how well I explain how they should communicate with their employees about what they are trying to do with the PR strategy. Maybe I should forget about PR, which is about external communication, and concentrate on internal communication.")

Building off that reaction, they make some more phone calls and ask people, "Do you need help with your internal communication?"

In other words, entrepreneurs are not committed to the plan (starting a PR firm); they are committed to the goal (in this case, "starting a communication business of my own that would be fun and successful.")

They continue taking small steps toward (the new) goal of starting an internal consulting firm until they have what they want. Or they open the door and decide they don't want it ("yes, I probably could make a living doing internal consulting, but geesh, I think it is going to be boring, so I will pass") or that they want something else more.

But at no point have they ever risked more than they could afford to lose.

That's one wonderful thing about this approach. Here are two others.

First, if you are going to fail (you wanted to start that PR firm but no one was interested), you fail quickly and cheaply. 

Second, you get more turns up at-bat. Investing hundreds of thousands in starting the PR firm the traditional way would have eaten up lots of your resources, and who knows if you would ever have a chance to try a second idea? Taking the approach that the best entrepreneurs do allows you try another idea should the first one not work out.

Sounds like a better approach to us.

 

Published on: Feb 19, 2015
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