When I was about six years old, my best friend Jill and I had a genius idea; we were going to test different facial cleansers to see which was the most effective.  So, we went into the bathroom cabinet, pulled out about seven different cleansers (my mom was a product fiend) and set them out on the counter.  Then, in our infinite wisdom, we began to wash our faces with the cleaners- first Phisoderm, then Dove, then the next, one right after another after another.

After the seventh cleanser, we were noticing that the products stung.  Actually, we had literally rubbed our faces raw (and my mother was none too pleased).  What we failed to take into account was that the first cleanser had done most of the job and that we were getting diminishing returns with each new product, up until the only thing that was left to take off of our faces was the skin.

This was a highly painful lesson, but something that I metaphorically see happening in many businesses. 

Business owners have a suite of options available for their businesses, whether in marketing, revenue streams or their basic business model.  However, what happens is that so many entrepreneurs lack confidence in execution that they just keep layering on new options without giving the first one a chance to work over time or even evaluating what worked about one before trying to compare a second option.

So, just like my facial cleansing experiment some 30-odd years ago, they end up rubbing their business raw.  They burn through money, time and effort by piling on different tactics without a strategy and without ascertaining any particular tactic’s results.

If you are going to try something- whether as big as a new business venture or as small as a social media endeavor, figure out your strategy up front and decide:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Why is a particular tactic your first choice and what do you hope it will achieve?
  • How much time is reasonable to get a read on whether it has been effective?
  • How will you measure if it has been effective?
  • What budget are you willing to give to trying it out?

Otherwise, if you keep trying tactics on top of each other, you are basically just washing your face with one cleanser after another.