Hitching your wagon to someone else’s horse

Do the majority of your leads come from Adwords? Those key words and phrases won’t always be affordable.

Is Walmart your largest customer? They won’t always ignore your margins.

Does the majority of your revenue come from ad sales that are dependent on traffic driven to you via organic search? Google will eventually change the way things work.

Does your value proposition depend on your salesforce.com integration? salesforce.com will someday buy your biggest competitor.

If we build and sell something, then we’re dependent on others for our success. That’s a great thing, as it strengthens the ties that bind our community together. But it can also be a dangerous thing if your success is single-threaded.

Personally, I like for my company to depend on a great many people, tactics, and businesses – but not on any single person, tactic, or business. I like the idea that we can learn from the loss of a customer who represents 0.03% of our revenue, and apply those lessons in a way that improves our service for all the other customers who represent 99.97% of our revenue.

The organization that depends on many small relationships will suffer small injuries regularly, and their injuries will strengthen them. The organization that depends on very few large relationships will suffer large injuries very infrequently, and their injuries will damage them.

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