A paradox is a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory. If something is a paradox, then it\u2019s a puzzle, a mystery, an enigma, an inconsistency. Which makes me think: What happens to us, and our businesses, when we try to live with a paradox? What happens when we contradict ourselves? When our actions are inconsistent with our plans? When what we say and what we choose to do just don\u2019t line up? Impossible Dreams What you say you want vs. what you are actually willing to do In "What's Your Impossible Dream?," John Mariotti encourages small business owners to \u201cdream big. Think about what you\u2019d really love to be doing and consider how you can get from where you are to where you want to be.\u201d\u00a0 He says to plan ahead so that you are prepared when the opportunity presents itself. I agree with him, but what happens when what we say you want doesn\u2019t match up to what we actually do? Yes, we do the work to maintain the business, to keep the current customers happy, and to bring in enough new clients to keep the \u201cmachine\u201d churning. But are we consistently doing that things that prepare us for that big dream we\u2019ve harbored in the back of our minds for years? Marketing and Sales What gets their attention vs. what turns them into customers Sales and marketing are crucial elements to moving your business to the next level. Ivana Taylor, in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Selling," suggests that we turn a deaf ear to the negative talk about the economy and get busy working on the things that we can change. Ivana believes that we should put more of our \u201cfocus on building a sales and marketing system\u2026instead of putting\u2026attention on political and economic factors that are impossible to control.\u201d In her three-step process, the first thing you do is set a baseline to understand what you currently do for sales and marketing. In this initial step you will discover two things: The actions you take that get the attention of potential clients The actions you take that turn potential clients into paying customers Your website gets their attention, but it\u2019s your sales call that closes the deal. Your email marketing keeps you top of mind, but it\u2019s your live demonstrations that makes them a client. Are you following the full process? So many small business owners have a desire for \u201cset-it-and-forget-it\u201d marketing and sales. However, the truth is, you have to the see the process all the way through in order to turn "potentials" into customers. Constant Change Maintaining the status quo vs. updating your business \u201cEntrepreneurs are natural possibilities thinkers,\u201d says Diane Helbig in "Why Minding Your Market Is Essential to Your Business."\u00a0 But at the same time, Helbig reminds us, you need to \u201ckeep your finger on the pulse of your industry and the buying habits of your clients.\u201d You don\u2019t want to be left behind. It\u2019s our job to remain engaged in our industry and to adjust with the changes. But what it takes to maintain the status quo in your business and what it takes to update the company and grab hold of "possibilities" may not be the same things. How we deal with these paradoxes determines our success level. We can\u2019t afford the cost of inconsistency in our business, planning and marketing. We can't live with senseless actions that don\u2019t produce the results that we want. The contradictions can cost too much.