• Curt Mercadante

It's Time to Make First Contact

"A good battle plan never survives first contact."

A variation of that quote has floated around over the years (originating with Prussian military strategist Helmuth von Moltke in the 1880s).

It's a line that's been used with me by some clients seeking to justify their endless strategizing.

"The key to that line," I remind them, "is actually making first contact."

Strategy is important.

Clearly identifying your ideal client is vital.

Finding out what that client wants so you can craft your compelling impact story is critical.

But it shouldn't be perfect.

Intelligently identify those things and GO.

When I founded my current company, I identified who I thought was my ideal client and crafted an impact story and started selling. The money rolled in -- and after ten clients I realized they were not my ideal clients.

It was a learning experience that allowed me to further hone my clients and my message.

Then I went out and made more contact. I sold. And honed it all some more.

The first contact allows you to learn.

When you learn, you change and adapt.

Then you learn some more.

And you thrive.

But, as Mark Cuban says, "perfection is the enemy of profitability."

Planning is useless without first contact; and first contact is part of your ongoing planning process.

Steve Jobs didn't like shipping "perfect" products. Because seeking perfection means you're not shipping products. When you ship, not only do you turn a profit, but your customers help you learn what needs to be fixed. They identify bugs. They help you improve the product.

As Jobs said, "real artists ship."

Yes, a good battle plan is important.

But that plan only becomes better when you ship — when you make first contact.

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