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  1. Learn to read the signs

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    When I was visiting my brother’s family after my first niece was born, he asked me to put a car seat in his vehicle while he got my niece ready to travel. He said that it was easy to install the seat into its base; his actual words were, “It’s intuitive.” I’m normally good with gadgets and assembling things. Putting this car seat into its base puzzled me.  I spent almost five minutes trying to figure out how these two seemingly simple pieces fit together before he came out holding my niece in one arm and grabbed the car seat in the free arm. With one move, he put in the seat and it clicked securely. I did not comment on what I was thinking: intuition or experience? To him, it may have been intuition, but from my standpoint – as a bachelor, non-father – it seems like experience would make it easy. I didn’t have time to search YouTube for a tutorial on the model of car seat. Now my niece is old enough to instruct me on its assembly if I’m asked to put it together again.

    I pay attention to the physical signals I experience. Sometimes I can tell when a sinus issue is starting, and I’ve stopped avoiding the doctor. Now I go as soon as I recognize the symptoms. Recently I woke up with an eye issue. Not being able to readily tell what was wrong, I had the doctor look at it. I wasn’t sure if it was an allergy issue or if it was the beginning of conjunctivitis. I knew there was a problem, but I needed someone with experience to give me a direction and advice. I had the data; I needed a diagnosis from someone familiar with dealing with the data.

    In business, it is important to pay attention to the signals the business sends. Some is joy, some can be pain. It’s important to keep careful records of what is happening to see patterns and make predictions. Predictions are a diagnosis.

    Marketing deals with analyzing trends. It takes both intuition and experience to decipher. Good business owners recognize the patterns of their companies. They also know that sometimes there is a quirkiness that comes and needs to be analyzed further. Sometimes a business owner can self-medicate, and sometimes a business owner needs the assistance of a marketing professional, either from within or without.

    This shows a difference between marketing and advertising. Marketing is much more than simply promoting a service or product. Data analysis is very important. More data is better. More applicable data is priceless to a business. It is sometimes difficult to separate the company data wheat from the chaff.

    I have consultants for my business needs like legal and financial. Sometimes I turn to these professionals for advice when I come across something for which I do not have an intuitive feel. They know that marketing is important for their businesses. They may have a marketing person on staff, or they may employ an outside professional or team for help.

    It is important that companies pay attention to the signs their business gives them to stay healthy. It is healthier to be proactive and get ahead of an issue than it is to be reactive to fix an issue.

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