Why A Diagnostic Mindset Is An Entrepreneur’s Best Friend

When your car won’t start or makes a strange noise, the first thing you do is diagnose the problem. Either you check it out yourself, or you take it to a mechanic to have the problem diagnosed. No repair work is done, nor parts ordered until the source of the problem is positively identified.

If your car was leaking fluid, you wouldn’t apply solutions for an oil leak unless you identified the fluid as oil. Same goes for transmission fluid or coolant.

The same should be true in business. Whenever you encounter a problem – like a low conversion rate, slow sales, or abandoned shopping carts – the problem needs to be diagnosed at the source before applying a solution.

Diagnose first, apply the solution second

Everywhere you look on the internet, people are offering strategies to boost sales, increase conversion rates, and slay bounce rates. These strategies might be effective if they solve your specific problem. However, it doesn’t make sense to use a strategy until you’ve identified the source of your problem.

There are many causes for the same symptom

Low sales and high bounce rates are symptoms of something specific like reaching the wrong market, ineffective copy, or a confusing sales funnel. Those symptoms could also be the result of a bug in the way your website processes orders.

Likewise, if you’re not getting the organic traffic you expected, it could be your content or you might be getting hit with Google’s algorithmic penalties without your knowledge. If the latter is true, no “instant download strategy” will solve the problem.

SEO expert Aaron Rains explains that there’s no fast fix when your website is being penalized by Google. Ranking on the first page of Google can increase your revenue, so if you’re being hit with penalties, it’s important to diagnose it before attempting to apply a solution that may not fit.

There is no fast fix approach to any problem you might face in your business, but maintaining a diagnostic mindset is a reliable way to reach resolution. Let’s look at the process of diagnosing low conversions for an example of how important this process is.

Diagnosing low conversions

If you’re experiencing low conversions, you first need to figure out if you’re getting traffic. Most websites achieve a conversion rate of about 1 to 5 percent, so for every 100 visitors, you should be getting at least one conversion. A conversion doesn’t necessarily have to be a sale. It’s whatever action you want people to take on that particular page. A conversion could be signing up for a newsletter or watching a video.

Next, check your bounce rate. If you have a steady flow of traffic, low conversions, and a high bounce rate, that means people aren’t sticking around. This could mean they can’t find what they’re looking for, they don’t know what to do, something about your website is preventing them from taking action, or they aren’t your market.

If you apply a solution prematurely, like increasing your PPC bids to get more traffic (without checking your existing traffic and bounce rate), you’ll be wasting your money if the problem isn’t traffic related.

Focusing on improving your sales pages when you’ve only got ten visitors per month won’t work, either. In this situation, diagnosing the problem and coming to the conclusion that you need traffic will orient you toward getting more traffic as the correct solution.

A diagnostic mindset requires an open mind

The ability to objectively investigate and diagnose problems with your business is a lot like being open-minded. You’ve got to rely on your existing knowledge while maintaining an open mind in case the problem isn’t familiar. You have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. You also need to be open to changes when a problem has a source you may not like or agree with.

This article from Forbes.com outlines five things successful, open-minded people do to achieve success:

  • They listen more than they talk
  • They avoid making snap decisions
  • They thank people for their suggestions
  • They encourage frankness
  • They hunt for new opportunities

These five things are not just traits of social success, but when fully embraced will help you create and maintain the diagnostic mindset necessary to solve your deepest problems.


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