How to Understand and Build On Your Success

Congratulations, things are going well!

Sales are up, you’re snagging new members at a pace never before seen, satisfaction is high, and the future looks bright.

This is a good time to think about doing research.

And “time” is the key here. When things are going well, you often have the resources to invest in planning for continued success—pouring more energy into what’s working and finding new opportunities.

So, what questions should you be asking?


What’s really happening? Time to understand the success.

Companies and organizations rarely, if ever, have the time to conduct custom studies to monitor the impact of new initiatives. But there are always multiple variables at play, many of which you’re deliberately leveraging but some you may not be entirely aware of.

Solid research helps you cut through the clutter, giving you definitive answers to questions like:

  • What is the most significant driver of our current success?
  • How much more energy does that driver have?
  • Are there any hidden drags on the current success?

In some cases, there is untapped potential even inside a success. A deeper understanding of those mechanisms helps you strategize for prolonging the upswing.


What’s next? How do we sustain the momentum?

Knowing why something is working in the present is reassuring, but it doesn’t necessarily speak to the future. Conditions change, and competitors adapt. Research that looks around the corner for the next opportunity—or the next threat—is key to sustaining success:

  • How is the market changing around us?
  • Where’s the next opportunity?
  • What are our competitors doing that could carve into our position?

One of our clients in the financial services category had a thriving business with a lot of long-term customers. But, at the same time, he wondered if a digital competitor could turn into an existential threat to his business. He needed to know if he was going to be disrupted, and when.

Willow conducted in-depth interviews with current customers that uncovered high levels of current satisfaction and loyalty that reassured him about his immediate future. However, in order to prevent longer-term encroachment by the competitor, we recommended that he invest in a few key online capabilities and—most importantly—reinforce the unique value and personal service his company provided that a digital competitor could never match.

By getting a better handle on both his company’s strengths and its vulnerabilities, our client was able to sleep more soundly knowing the present was secure, while identifying the necessary steps for sustaining success into the future.

Our experience has taught us that there is always a way to strengthen and prolong success, and that research can help you identify and act on that opportunity.


At this point, you may be wondering, “But what if things aren’t going so well?” We’ll be tackling that in a future blog post, where we’ll discuss what questions you should be asking when your future seems less than certain.

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