Four years ago I bought new tires for my car. From that point forward, I spent the winters driving in holy terror as I slid through intersections; I could not take off at green lights and hydroplaned in rain. It didn’t occur to me that it was the new tires.
I bought them in the summer and the old tires were like that too, because they were so wore out. I didn’t tell anyone about the problem and I started to avoid driving whenever I could in the winter. I even rode the bus to work to avoid going downtown with the car. I rotated the tires and took care to keep the air in them at the right PSI of 35lbs.
Finally, in the fall of 2017, I decided to shop for a new car. I was not going to drive that car one more winter. My husband asked me a great question. “Why are you wanting a new car?” He knew I was happy as can be with the car…most of the time. I told him I was not going to slide around for another winter. He, in his amazing kind way, said, “Why don’t you just buy new tires?”
I explained that it would cost too much and then I would have more invested in a car I might be selling in the spring. He came back with, “Are you sure?” I wasn’t sure. So, I called the tire company.
After the call and learning about the reasonable cost, I got new tires that week. It was an amazing decision. I didn’t slip and slide around at all this past winter. I realized I had spent the past few years driving around on a defective product. Not only had it cost me money; it cost me time, energy, and tons of stress.
How does this relate to business? Well, I have another story for you.
Last week I was having a conversation with a business owner at an event and she said she hated website developers. She hates her website, she knows she is losing money and that clients hate it, but she spent so much money on it that she can’t pay that much again to fix it.
I asked her to tell me all about how this happened. She paid this company that had been sending her emails saying they could make her business an amazing website, 100% of all the cost for the website up front. I asked why she went with them and who she turned down.
She loved all of their statistics, graphs and promises. She never met a person in real life and only worked with them over the phone. She expressed that she didn’t know anything about websites and gets easily overwhelmed when people start to talk about all that “Tech Stuff”. Once I heard all of that, I gave her a hug and said I was really sorry that she was treated like that. Then we had that talk about not doubling down on her disaster.
Moving on from a bad decision or situation is difficult. It can be easy to feel stuck with or “committed” to our decisions because we were the ones who made them. Nobody wants to admit a bad decision, especially not to ourselves. Yet, it’s important to do so. When facing a bad decision or situation, following these steps can help everyone avoid doubling down on a bad decision.
Step #1: Recognize and accept a bad decision. You can’t get everything right every time. I knew I was wrong to keep defective tires and my client was wrong about keeping a bad website. Sometimes you pay a “learning tax”. A learning tax is what I call education I gain without having to sign up for a class. It comes free from life experiences.
Step #2: End the bad relationship. In the case of my client, the web developer had started to charge her additional costs for the changes she originally wanted. This was not sustainable for her business or acceptable for a website she was already not happy with. Not doing anything is still doing something and has consequences.
Step #3: Ask for help. This is too important to ignore. I helped her list out three people she could talk to about taking what she had learned and turning it into a positive result. I will admit, I am one of those people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to make business better.
Step #4: Plan for the future. There is an answer to most everything. We may not like the answer at first, but there always is one. If there are better options, evaluate them and make a plan on how to move forward. Reach out to contacts and create conversations to help improve your situation and get the results you are seeking.
Whether it’s tires or websites, don’t double down on a bad decision. Find other options and make a new choice.