Waiting For What? The Best Time to Improve is Now

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. With virus numbers surging again, families were urged to celebrate with their immediate families and maintain safe social distancing.

We enjoyed two fabulous meals and followed the rules. The first meal was enjoyed on our front porch, followed by one of the last swimming nights of the year.

As I awake from my 3-day turkey coma, I had some time to think today.

I thought about a client that engaged me about three years ago. Over that time, and after several projects, our relationship continues to evolve, as does our work. We've been very successful and have hit a groove in our work together. Last week, the CEO joked that I might try and take credit for their growth over the past couple of years.

I said I would only take a pinch of credit 🙂

Meanwhile, on Friday, I got a call from someone I met in-person last November.

Last year, when I was able to do all the things I haven't done in months.

I drove across the US/Canada border.

I boarded an airplane at DTW.

I rented a car.

I stayed in a hotel and met the prospective client the next day.

As we discussed the project's potential, we both agreed that even if we were marginally successful, the project's value was still about 5X the investment. The ROI was significant.

For whatever reason, our project didn't fly. He wasn't ready to commit and wanted to wait. The last time we spoke was in February.

Fast forward to this past Friday, he confessed that mistakes had been made and that his procrastination and inaction had been costly. He talked about the challenges of managing the sales team in a virtual world. He said that the fact they couldn't do it in the real world, hurt them even more in a virtual world.

I explained the work I was doing with clients and the successes we were having. We talked about the opportunities in front of them and some of the ongoing challenges.

Everything was going great. Even better, he had reached out to me.

So when I asked if he was ready to re-consider the work we discussed last year, he surprised me by saying…

"No. Not yet."

He explained that things were still too unpredictable, and the timing still wasn't right.


I mean, there's no guarantee that what we discussed last year or on Friday would make one iota of difference in his business.

Not every project will always be a success. Sometimes the timing is just wrong, and it's challenging to make progress.

It's why I won't take on a project unless the client and I have both conceptually agreed that if we make these improvements, we should generate these results. It becomes a partnership towards our agreed objectives. In this example, we had done this, now twice, and the return substantial. So I was surprised.

One of the comments I was reminded of again on Friday was when a client said to me:

"Noah, the money we spent with you was the "cheapest" part of the whole engagement. The real cost was that it took us months to get from deciding to act, to pulling the trigger, and moving ahead. If we'd had the results we have now four months quicker, that would have been an extra $1M in profit. Lesson learned."

Many people with investments in the stock market went to cash in Mid-March, and many are still waiting for the right moment to get back into the market. But the experts will tell you they've already missed the boat. The markets have mostly already recovered and many are sitting on the sidelines. They're now forced to buy back in at higher prices.

What if you're already missing it?

Your Challenge For This Week:

Look at the investments you're considering, and ask yourself if the cost of delaying your decision is greater than the cost of implementing the change now and seeing the results sooner.

Look at the areas of your business that need improvement and ask yourself if you're delaying for the right reasons.

If you have high ROI areas of your business that need improvement, your delays are even more costly.

Remember – the higher the ROI you envision, the more costly it is to delay.

For example, if you're hesitating to pull the trigger on an investment that has the potential to create additional revenue, more sales, greater accountability, happier customers, a healthier culture…

You need to consider why? What's driving your hesitation?

You've all heard the saying, "The best time to invest was yesterday. The second best time is today."