This is my hound dog, Seamus. Seamus likes to chase bunnies.  

In fact, Seamus knows the word “bunny.” If you say that word in Seamus’ earshot, he will start barking loudly and running from window to window trying to find the bunny. Bunnies, for Seamus, are the ultimate distraction. Seamus will actually stop eating if a bunny passes by the window where his food bowl sits. (Yes, my dog has a food bowl with a view.)

Think about that for a moment. Seamus will leave behind sustenance when he sees a bunny. The phrase “on it like a dog with a bone” was invented by someone with a dog like Seamus, a cute guy with a substantial appetite.  

So now you’re thinking “Okay, Cloonan, what does that have to do with me? And what does this post have to do with marketing?” I was speaking to one of my small business consulting customers this morning. In the recent past, we created a comprehensive marketing plan focused on attracting her desired customers in the places they live, work, and play. This plan is based on a proven program I’ve used with other customers. If followed, should provide her significant ROI.  

That’s the problem. She saw a bunny. “Why aren’t we pursuing this?” she asked me.  

“Because it’s not in the plan.”  

“But I think it might work.”  

“Do you have additional resources to put towards it?”  

“What do you mean?” she asked.  

Thus began a conversation about the classic definition of management – the allocation of scarce resources to opportunities. But for all intents and purposes, the conversation might have been about chasing a bunny. My client turned away from sustenance to chase something else – the metaphorical bunny.  

This isn’t unusual. I’ve heard it referred to as “Shiny Object Syndrome,” and much like the fabled shiny object, it’s hard to resist. New ideas are exciting and, like the bunny, are fun to chase instead of focusing on the goal. But there’s another problem there and it, too, can be illustrated by my hound dog. He’s never caught a bunny. Many times, business owners don’t catch them either. Sometimes they run out of steam. Sometimes another bunny comes along before the first one is caught (bunnies tend to multiply very quickly, after all).  

The moral? Keep your head down and eat your dog food. Your business will be better for it.  

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