I was first introduced to this concept by Dan Kennedy. It’s one of those global principles that’s very hard to find an exception to.
It’s basically this: The worst number in your business or career is the number one. Any time you see the number one in your business or business life, you need to immediately fix it. Examples are:
- One marketing technique you use to get new business.
- One primary customer.
- One prospect.
- One key employee.
- One company you’ve applied to for a job.
- One product (or service) you sell.
- One skill you’re good at.
“One” is bad news. In some cases, even zero is better than one. If you have one in any area, not only are you likely losing money and working too hard, you’re also extremely exposed. Any problem that come along that wipes out your “one”, and you’re screwed.
I still remember when I was a kid my dad had his own small business, over 60% of which was based on one big client. He did okay, until one fateful day he lost the account due to the person he worked with being promoted out of the job. The person’s replacement dropped my dad’s business as a vendor and replaced it with a new one.
60% of my dad’s business instantly vanished. Oh, it was bad. For the next three years, we struggled financially as a family, and my dad was the most stressed-out I’ve ever seen him. Eventually he recovered, but it took a long time and a lot of pain to do so.
I never forgot that lesson, and Dan Kennedy’s “one” concept simply reinforced it. Any time my business is relying on “one” of anything, I start getting very nervous and will go out of my way to make that “one” into a “two” or a “three” or a “ten”. Today’s shaky economy has made me pretty extreme about this. Not only do I make sure that I have clients in completely different industries, I also have multiple businesses in completely different areas selling to completely different markets.
Just like your investments should be diversified to avoid risk, your career and business should also be diversified in terms of the number of people, companies, skills, and industries you rely upon. This has always been true but is now doubly true since the economic crash and New Economy starting in late 2008.
The tricky part is “one” is easy. It sneaks up on you. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll have various “ones” all over the place in your life. Locate them, and fix them!