As you head into a new year, step out of your comfort zone… starting NOW.  Commit TODAY to doing something in this respect, brands and individuals alike.

Why?  Because the challenge of operating in an uncomfortable zone keeps you growing and moving forward in ways far greater than what you can do sitting inside your comfort zone.  Life is way too full of possibilities for you to let it all pass you by.   And let me remind you that fear is no excuse.  Do you think today’s great visionaries were ever afraid to step outside of their comfort zones?  Most definitely… but they did it anyway!

The same goes for brands and retailers:  if you want to stand out, get noticed, and be truly amazing at what you do and offer, you can’t do it from inside your comfort zone.  Innovation happens OUTSIDE your comfort zone!

For many of you, your comfort zone is doing business in the same way you’ve done it for the past 10, 5, or even 2 years.  Business is no longer the same as it was just last year, so you need to step out there and change the way you do business!

Take the Klout example in my recent blog post, where they hid behind their comfort zone walls of silence when consumers were demanding answers.  I’m sure it would have been uncomfortable for them to admit their shortcomings, but it sure would have saved them a lot of respect and possibly even some customer loyalty.

The new way of doing business pushes our comfort zones constantly, so why not just step right up and show that you’re willing to risk YOUR comfort to deliver value for your customers:

  1. Trust your customers first: take your own wisdom with a grain of salt until you’ve confirmed (or disconfirmed) it with actual consumers.
  2. Focus on relationships first: this isn’t just a buzz phrase.  When you put energy into getting to know and serve your customers and audience, the ROR (Return on Relationship™) includes sales, loyalty, and increases to your bottom line.
  3. Insist on authenticity: it’s harder to hide the real “colors” (and message) of your brand and business when you’re outside of your comfort zone.  Let your customers see what’s real, ask them for honest feedback, and for goodness sake… don’t filter the less-than-positive! The result will be dedicated brand advocates.

Where does your comfort zone end?  Go there, and beyond… TODAY!  

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