Legacy and Evolution

by seanlow on December 21, 2017

So what if I came to you, one of  my existing clients, with this business proposition:  I want you to pay twenty-five percent more for a new version of my product, my tenth version. As with all of the previous versions, the new version improves things a lot but does not revolutionize anything. More cool, than oh my gosh.  Are you in?

If you are like me, the answer is probably not. The old one works great and I do not need the new new. And you might go even further as to think that it is Krazy to pay twenty-five percent more for a marginally better product that just happens to be the new new.  So when it comes to your creative business, you place a huge premium on being same same. The tried and true, easily digested oatmeal. Bland as bland can be but nutritious nonetheless and ever dependable. Whether someone comes to you five years ago or five years from now your mission is to be easily identifiable and much the same.

Epic fail.

You are not your clients and ALL clients of creative business want to be transformed by the art you will envision and produce.  Even if in other aspects of their lives they want same same, clients seeking out your creative business are the VERY definition of someone looking for the new new, willing to pay a premium for the next version of your “product”, your art.  Clients of creative businesses are almost desperate for innovation, inspiration and excitement.  Ahem, that is why they are at your front door today and yesterday.  If you treat them as those looking for consistency and recognition, you have literally missed the whole point of your existence.

Not so many of these “new new” clients around?  Tell that to Apple. The IPhone 10 was released on November 3rd and Apple is literally finding it difficult, if not impossible, to fulfill demand.  They thought that demand would be for twenty million X phones in the fourth quarter (in case anyone is counting, that is $20 BILLION of phones in three months). It is more like forty million, on top of the forty million older phones. This is for the tenth version of the IPhone!  Revolutionary?  Not a chance. Way better? Sure.  Still there is a line out the door that Apple just cannot satisfy.

Now let us pivot straight over to your creative business. How many of you have legacy clients that you are literally terrified of changing things on? Many of you want to look as closely as possible to who you were when they engaged your creative business last time. Some of you even go so far as to honor the price your client paid last time.  Wowsers.

Then shock of shocks, the legacy client does not work out. Either the client is disappointed with you and your creative business not being the same OR you feel completely victimized. Either way, you are left unfulfilled and bewildered at what went wrong.

What went wrong is that you did not evolve, grow and honor the promise that tomorrow’s version of you, your art and your creative business is, by definition, better than today. Today is your best, tomorrow is better. The promise MUST exist for both your art and your creative business. Why? Creating better art requires a better process.

Knowledge is a wonderful thing.  When you know more about what it is that you do, you do it better. That is true for your art and your business.  A better business process creates better art.  Period. Any client that refuses to honor and respect this promise is simply NOT a creative business client. And that is ok.  I am not a creative business client and you might not be either. Creative business clients though, they REALLY care about what does not yet exist, what it is you will bring to life just for them. Most important, creative business clients are not only willing, but actively seek out the journey you and your creative business will take them on.  A better journey tomorrow than today.

If a client came to you with the intention to honor your creativity and the journey to your art the first time, why oh why would they want to come to you with a different intention the next time? They do not and YOUR REFUSAL to be true to the core of your creative business —the desire to be ever better — is what creates a misfit.

The goal for your creative business then is to look wholly DIFFERENT for legacy clients, to be radically better at what you do compared to the last time (or the time before that).  The punchline: instead of saying to legacy clients, “We are just as you remember”, you need to be saying “Look at what we have built since the last time you were here. If you loved us then, you are going to LOVE us now.”  Be better at being you.  You made the promise for your art and your creative business then. Keep it now.

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