My cat has a cat flap…

Cat2 has a cat flap. For her, this is very exciting. Cat1 doesn’t care about the cat flap because she knows it’s just an animal-shaped door to the damn garden. But Cat2 loves the cat flap. She loves it because she can spend all day staring out of it. She doesn’t actually use it to go outside. Oh no. She just sits in front of it and stares through it, monitoring the brick wall and path directly in front of it. That’s all she can see. She can’t even catch a glimpse of the sky. This seems to entertain her so I’m not complaining. But it does beg the question: What is she looking for? What is she expecting to see? Why does she bother?

Today that got me thinking. Does she, in fact, have the answer to business success? (Bear with me here…) Is she, in reality, a fat, furry, entrepreneur? Is there, lurking beneath that sweet fluffy exterior, a razor-sharp business brain? Possibly.

You see, she spends so much time monitoring the on-going situation in that little tiny area that she knows every single insect that flies down the pathway – by name. She understands their movements and she knows instantly if something has changed. Today a strange cat thought about entering her field of vision and she was ready before it had even noticed there was a dirty great hole in the back door. It lost, obviously.

But all that’s too trite. I can hear the arguments right now: She only sees what’s in front of her. She doesn’t have the broad vision necessary to run a successful business. She can’t anticipate threats quietly rolling in over the garden fence because she can’t see the bloody fence – only the path and the brick wall. Yes. You’re right. But is she a genius because she has one small area covered. Totally. Absolutely. Covered.

The thing about business, for me anyway, is that we’re always being told it’s vital to get the bigger picture, lift our vision, plan for every eventuality; understand, not just our potential target audience, but also the families and neighbours and friends and dogs of our potential – as yet unrealised – target audience. We need to expand our world, create new markets, build for the future. We need to seek out new life and new civilizations…no…wait…sorry, that’s Star Trek. But anyway, we need to know EVERYTHING! No matter how much time, money and effort that entails. And we worry when we’re not actively doing this.

But for Cat2 that’s just not possible. I don’t have a big garden. It’s small with walls round it. It has a patch of grass and a shed. But to Cat2, it’s massive. Huge. It’s another planet. It’s Mars. (She doesn’t get out much!). So instead of trying to patrol all the borders – badly - countless times a day like Cat1, she chooses to know every inch of what she can see out of the cat flap. And it works for her - brilliantly.

So next time you’re drawing up a strategy to define your potential target audience; thinking of launching a campaign at a new demographic; considering spending cash on researching new markets or doing anything to identify the people who one day might, possibly, conceivable, want to use you or buy your products, don’t forget to put your existing clients first. Don’t forget to keep the people who are straight outside your cat flap happy! After all, they pay your bills. And it works for me.

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