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Is Your Business Model as Unwinnable as Solitaire?

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

card suitsIs your business model like playing solitaire? There's a brief back-story to my question.

Sometimes, late at night after a long day, I still feel wound up, even though my family has long been asleep. So I grab my iPhone (in the dark) and play a little solitaire just to slow down.

The fact that I keep playing astonishes me. I already know that my personal stats show my odds of winning are roughly 1 in 8 or 12.5 percent.

I once won three in a row, and the odds of doing that again, starting with a fresh game, are 1 out of 512. Four in a row would be 1 in 4,096. Kind of takes the fun out of it, huh?

Computers can win almost every time and every possible variation with the same deck. But that's not the same thing. You have heard of "cheating yourself at solitaire," right?

The point is, some games (and some businesses) are simply unwinnable. Success seems to be close enough to keep the principals interested, and doing it year after year.


If that sounds like your business, there's hope.

The first step is to examine everything with a clear mind. No prejudgments.

Do you have the right product, service or mix? Do you have the right target audience? Do you truly understand your competition? Do you have the right margins? Are you in the right marketplace? Do you have the right marketing strategies? What are the long-term trends? Can you do things less expensively?

Chances are, you don't need to give up and throw in the cards.

You just have to have the energy and creativity to find the solution. That can be really hard, especially if you have been beaten down by years of trying. Close, but no cigar.

But take heart.

Oftentimes just one or two variables can change everything.

So, the choice is yours. You can keep playing the same game that you cannot win in the long run, or you can create a new game that you can win at every day. Much better odds.

Related reading: 4 Biggest Reasons to Rethink Everything About Healthcare Marketing (the first of two articles.)

Stewart Gandolf, MBA


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