Falling Off a Ladder and Being In Business


What do these two things have in common?

Here’s how it all began. I’m in my backyard removing a tree branch that hasn’t completely broken off and is coming down across my shed roof. My neighbor behind me helps me get this branch down and lends me a saw to cut it up.


I finish the job and go to take the saw back. Since there’s a four foot fence between our yards I decided to use a combination extension/stepladder to get over the fence. No problem I used to work in construction climbing ladders all the time, this is a piece of cake. Only problem was I missed the step on the other side and ended up flat on my back on the ground.


Then I started thinking this is just like being in business. The branch wasn’t completely broken off so I could have used a band aide solution and only taken part of it down. Knowing full well the rest of the branch will have to come down sometime or risk it going through the roof of my shed.


The biggest majority of those of us who have been in business for a while have all been in this situation at one time or other in our businesses. Well it’s not completely broken, it still kinda-sorta works so I can make it do for a while longer. Instead of solving the problem and doing the job properly and in the majority of cases saving you both time and money. You’re not paying twice for the same job.


Now comes the ladder over the fence part. In my mind’s eye I could climb this ladder with no problem, I did it 30+ years ago for a living. As I swung my leg over to the other side I missed the step I was aiming for and fell to the ground. 


The ladder, my climbing and falling is like some of the things we do in narketing and promoting our businesses. The ideas and techniques that worked 5, 10 and 15 years ago don’t work now. We sometimes tend to forget that the marketplace keeps on growing and getting smarter and more educated all the time. What worked then may not work today or if it does not nearly as effectively.


So I ask you to take a serious look at what you are doing in your business to find the things that are working well and eliminate those that aren’t performing as they should. Eliminate those that you know worked a few years ago, but today are only legends in your own mind. To keep you from falling off that proverbial ladder.


John D Allen



On Dec. 4 2000, John D. Allen came within one single hour of dying from a major brain aneurysm. Clinging to life, he was rushed into the operating room at the very last minute possible. You see, he was operated on during the 23rd hour of the critical 24 hour window aneurysm patients have if they are to have any chance at living.

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