How Can you Adapt to Your Environment?

Helping others achieve an “ah-ha” moment is usually a gratifying experience in my line of work.

Let alone 9 people, simultaneously.

During a day’s session training a team at a large technology company that works with small businesses, they all of a sudden realized some times they were actually helping their clients be something they were not meant to be.

From one simple question: What is the difference between an Entrepreneur and a Small Business Owner?


Small Business Owner:

  • Content making a comfortable living
  • Stability is key motivator
  • Growth and expansion not so important
  • Not outside the box thinkers
  • Works in the business
  • Likes repetition and predictability
  • Doesn’t usually change markets
  • Target markets are more general
  • Tends to ha

    Damien Lopez Alfonso knows what it is like to Live an UnReasonable Life

    He was electrocuted at the age of 13 when he climbed a power line in Cuba, where he lives, to get an abandoned kite that was hanging from it.

    Damien paid the price of losing most of his face and arms. But he did not lose his spirit.

    He had a passion for biking, and when he lost what most of us would think was impossible to recover from, he took that as a challenge: to be faster on a bike than any “normal” biker.

    Because of his incredible determination and speed, Damien was soon discovered by the bike racing community.
    But because he has no forearms, international regulations prevent Damien from competing.

    So a growing community of bikers, doctors, friends and family from around the world came together to raise money to get Damien prosthetics… and a new face here in NYC.  For several months he underwent intensive surgeries to reconstruct parts of his face and testing various prosthetics so he can bike with his arms.

    Later that year, 2011, Damien faced one of the biggest challenges of his life. He is participated in his first international race outside of Cuba.  This race was the first step to qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Damien, with a huge amount of focus and work then qualified for the Olympics the following April.

    In his first major international event, this Cuban, against all odds, placed 12th in the Paraolympics in London.
    Damien is an example of someone who just doesn’t know how to quit or give up.  He is a master at beingUnReasonable.
    He is also someone who, from the age of 13, has successfully adapted to his new environment.

    Recently I was facilitating a group of 20 entrepreneurs here in NYC for the FastTrac Growth Venture program.
    Most of the attendees had resisted adapting to the new economic, social and ecological environments they are facing today.
    Things that worked in the not-so-distant past no longer do for many businesses.  And instead of adapting, many entrepreneurs are spending their time complaining or blaming.

    Some are even in denial.

    But there are steps they can take to help them adjust to the current environment:

    1. Market Analysis—determine today’s market for your product or service.  What has changed and why?
    2. S.W.O.T. Analysis—figure out your (internal) strengths and weaknesses and (external) opportunities and threats.
    3. Competition Analysis—ascertain what your competition is doing differently than you, how they are doing it and why.
    4. Features vs. Benefits—features tell, benefits sell.  Build your marketing message around the features while emphasizing the benefits.
    5. Competitive Advantage—leverage those features (and benefits) you feel are better than your competitors’.  Then find unique ways to communicate this to your target audience.
    6. Pricing—with the world economy completely different today than just a year or two ago, determine the best pricing model for your product/service:  low, high or parity.
    7. Marketing Strategy—build a powerful game plan to get your adjusted product/service to market.

    When they get to a point where they are ready to try UnReasonable strategies to reinvent their businesses, almost anything is possible.

    Just ask Damien Lopez Alfonso.

    Action Steps for the Week:

    • What change are you resisting?  What do you find yourself either complaining about or resigned to?
    • Or perhaps afraid to change.
    • Take a look at the thing that you know needs to change.  To be UnReasonable, get clear on what your passion, your heart, is telling you to do, or where to go.
    • Then commit to making that change.  Get clear on what it is you want to create and then create a clear and measurable goal for yourself around it.

    And make sure it is UnReasonable!ve employees


  • Not content with the status quo
  • Ambitious drive, beyond just surviving
  • Takes risks
  • Loves learning through growing businesses
  • Innovative– thinks outside the box
  • Works on the business

Most business owners assume they are one and the same, and then get frustrated with themselves when they don’t fit the “mold” of what it means to be successful as either and entrepreneur or small business owner.

Once you are clear which YOU are, you can build your business to support you in making it successful. In a way that works for YOU.

For example, if you have a company that is doing financially well, but you’re bored out of your mind, perhaps you need to stir things up a bit. Like most entrepreneurs, you are not happy when things are running smoothly. You need the challenge of creating something powerful and successful.

On the other hand, if taking risk or not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from drives you nuts, and you crave predictability and consistency, then perhaps you need to build a steady, consistent small business.

Understanding the distinctions might create a huge sense of relief for you, and perhaps you, too, will have an “ah-ha” moment!


Action Steps for the Week

Take a look at the last two months of your business. What do you find yourself losing sleep over?

Is it that you are bored or scared?

Depending on your answer is a great clue as to what infrastructure you should build around your business. For example, if you are a small business owner, you’ll most likely thrive by having a straight-forward business that generates consistent results.

For you, it’s not about growth. It’s about peace of mind.

If you are getting bored, then you may look to see how you can buck the trend in your industry. What makes things exciting is the fact that you are dealing with the unknown.

Rather than shutting you down, you find yourself thriving when this happens.

Once you’re clear on this, it is time for you to revisit your goals and infrastructure to make them happen.