Window of Opportunity by Micky Calcott
by Micky Calcott
November 26th, 2019

Keeping One Foot Outside of the Comfort Zone

This month I will be joining my Window Film Company colleagues in spending a night in the open, in a bid to raise funds and awareness for a local homeless charity. If I said I was looking forward to it, I don’t think I’d be entirely truthful – the likelihood of the temperature dropping below freezing on the night is high, but I’m proud my colleagues and I are willing to undergo a short period of discomfort for such an important cause.

I’ve long since advocated for getting involved in the local community and I continue to maintain a strong sense of social responsibility. This year we’ve worked towards increasing the links we have with charities and good causes, and while I recognize it is in itself a privileged position to be able to help, I do think it is an important role of local business to play a positive part in community initiatives.

While being a great opportunity to raise valuable funds, this event also appealed to my desire to take part in events that are challenging and slightly out of the ordinary. In short, I like to step out of my comfort zone from time to time. The same applies to business, in my experience, while it’s healthy and important to try new things, it’s equally vital to not be tempted to think every choice needs to take you in a new direction.

As with everything, it’s about striking a balance. Success isn’t achievable without being dynamic and taking a few risks, but it also can’t be maintained without sticking to core principals and standards.

Here at The Window Film Company we have a number of processes that have been developed to ensure we deliver the best possible service to our customers, but also to ensure we remain in control of what is happening. It’s by sticking to our procedures that we can be certain of delivering for our customers, even if sometimes we’re tempted to make exceptions. That’s not to say we’re not collaborative in our approach.

A recent example saw us complete a job that required a graduated frost effect, with a frosted appearance gradually tapering out to leave the glass completely transparent. This required a lot of communication between us and the client, with a degree of trial and error when it came to creating the graphics. Our print and graphics team had to experiment with different opacities and ink levels, providing samples to the client and acting on their feedback until we struck upon the exact look that was desired. This meant it wasn’t a straightforward job, it required effort and expertise above and beyond a standard print and install job.

It could be easy to mistake having to make extra effort as deviating from a standard process, but that isn’t the case; there is a subtle yet distinct difference. To put it bluntly, not following a set procedure is usually done to cut corners – either by you or your client. A customer may be up against a tight deadline and may want to bypass a part of the process. Sometimes it can be a temptation from within your team – if a department is busy or under pressure, there can be a sense that missing a step “just this once” won’t do any harm and would help alleviate short term pressure. This is dangerous and to be avoided, with the exact opposite course of action almost always the sensible one. Take the time to deal with the task the best way you know how. If that means building in extra time to communicate and experiment with the client, then so be it. The short cut will almost certainly end with a sub-standard result and experience.

In summary, I think there are two important aspects to being successful and staying that way. Try to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time. It’s healthy for you and it could be healthy for your business. This could be expanding a product range, exploring new ways of doing things or taking on new challenges. This should never be done to the detriment of what made your business successful in the first place though, so the second important element is to stay balanced. Don’t veer too far away from your bread and butter, don’t ignore the steady, sensible things that you do – these, dare I say it, the more boring aspects of your world need to stay solid.

Try something new, experiment and get creative, but don’t deviate from what you know and do best. It’s a balance, but it’s one that can be struck.

Until next time… toodle pip!

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