Wire fence

Is it a fence or a gate?

Part of the fun working at the strategic level is in challenging assumptions that clients have about their work or business.

The market’s saturated, we’ve left our run too late. I’m too small. We don’t have the experience to take this on. We’ll never be able to compete with the big guys. I don’t have a unique selling proposition. I’m too young/old. I don’t know enough.

These are the often imaginary fences that we put up. They limit the field we’re playing in. The fences are made with words like can’t, won’t, don’t, never, unable, not enough…

Who says the market is saturated? A lot of competition suggests there might be a big enough market to handle it. Even if it is saturated, there is always room for a stand out performer in any market.

How do you know you are too small? Maybe there’s a way to turn your small size to your advantage.

How do you know you don’t have enough experience – and even if you don’t, why should that stop you? Maybe you can partner with someone with the necessary experience to take it on.

Who says you can’t compete with the big guys? Maybe it’s them who will never be able to compete with you.

Who says you have to have a unique selling proposition? Sometimes being good at what you do is all you need.

Why is age relevant?

How much is enough?

This is how fences become gates. How playing fields become larger. The best tools for making gates are questions. How can we…? What if? Why not? What would it take?

I’m always on the lookout for fences that clients put up in front of themselves. I help them look for the weak links, break the locks, make the hinges, pull or push the gates open.

Sometimes the fence remains a fence – we can’t go through it, over it or under it. We have to make the most of the field we are playing in.

It’s always worth asking the question though. Is it a fence or a gate?

About the Author Brett Jarman

I've been self-employed since I was 19​ (and that was quite some time ago) and have owned manufacturing, service and consulting businesses ever since. Every business goes through stages and each stage in each business needs a different strategy to flourish and prosper. I can teach you about the stages and the strategies to shortcut your success.

follow me on: