As entrepreneurs, we’re all familiar with the “right things.” These are the common recommendations that get passed around as the way to get ahead. I followed a lot of this advice for years and little of it made a positive difference.

The reason we didn’t grow gangbusters from applying all those great ideas was because context matters.

As an example, I run an agency style business. In the agency industry, there’s a lot of advice on using thought leadership to sell expertise.

If you have a consulting style agency, this makes a lot of sense. But if you’re running a services agency, this advice is inconsistent.

Nobody talks about services versus consulting agencies though, because few people appear to realize that agencies use more than one business model.

Both services and consulting are viable, but the context of those two models changes what works. Thought leadership for a services agency could help, but it could also be a waste of time and money. For a consulting agency, thought leadership is almost mandatory.

Both McDonalds and a high end steak house serve food, but they shouldn’t be executing tactics from the same growth playbook.

For growth, your context should be the starting point for tactics and not the gospel that everyone is proclaiming.

What has actually worked for businesses in your situation?

Featured image of “The Emporers New Clothes” By Vilhelm Pedersen (1820 – 1859) – ( ) used under public domain.