This morning, I found a deal online – one of those social shopping sites listed an unbelievable offer on a service I’d been considering. Who can pass up an 85% discount on something you want? I almost snapped it up, but decided to check around first. Looking at a barrage of negative reviews for the company, made me reconsider whether this was really the opportunity I thought – and hoped – it was.
This situation has me thinking about other opportunities that aren’t quite what they seem.
A business I helped create faced typical start-up chaos. Just when it looked like we were down for the count, we were discovered by an unexpected customer base and spent the next few months riding a roller-coaster of dips and peaks that each led to increasing awareness of and use of our service.
The sudden interest motivated us to collaborate with a partner to offer our service in a new venue, pursue conversations about new ways to offer it, and consider next-phase improvements. But, in order to determine our next steps, we dug into all of the information available to us.
The data, interestingly, told two stories.
One story is of positive, actual growth and stated interest from our customers. Both were high. New and returning customers were growing in number day after day. Inquiries from potential customers and partners increased. And, the business established itself as a go-to resource for the customers we served.
The other story is less obvious, and would be easy for us to miss if we weren’t looking or to ignore if we weren’t listening. This story told us that, despite the business’s popularity, the money was not coming in the way we hoped it would. And, our interest in the business had waned – we no longer enjoyed it or had the heart to keep going.
We closed the business and spent the next month developing several new ideas and gaining a momentum we hadn’t felt in a long time.
In the end, what I thought was an opportunity, turned out not to be. I only wish I’d figured it out earlier.