Proactive vs. Reactive: Which Strategy is Better?

There are two kinds of people in this world. There are those who are perpetually motivated to act in real time as things happen to them; and there are those who pay attention to what’s coming and act accordingly. The consequences of this are far-reaching because it touches every aspect of how you do business.

People who are not natural planners already know that it’s a disadvantage, so awareness is not the issue. They just might not believe that it’s worth the energy to change their behavior, which is what this post aims to persuade.

Acting Only When Forced

Generally speaking, people who stay ahead of the game are significantly more successful than those who don’t. Yes, it seems like an obvious point because we all understand that we’re better off if we see things coming than we are if we don’t even pay attention to what’s coming.

Apparently though, it can’t be that obvious if so many entrepreneurs neglect to be proactive. Naturally, you know how to plan ahead if you’re a business owner, but many don’t plan nearly as much as they could.

It takes thoughtful consideration and a lot of energy to make proactive moves, so it’s just a lot easier to wait for problems to occur in the business, and then put out the fires as they happen.

It’s Already Too Late

If you are at the point when a problem manifests and you’re putting out the fire, then you’re most likely already too late. Of course, you can’t see every problem coming before it happens, but many times you could have prevented a problem but chose to ignore it because it didn’t cause any damage yet.

For instance, consider your line of products. You might have the type of business that needs to continually update your products to appeal to customers. What if sales are looking good, even though you haven’t changed anything from last year, so you decide to keep your product line the same?

There’s a good chance that sales may decline in that scenario, when you could have prevented it by updating the products long before it became an issue.

Issues Become Non-Issues

And that is possibly one of the most useful advantages of being proactive, rather than reactive. Being proactive means that you will spend more time planning and preparing for the future than you will dealing with emergencies.

When you preemptively seek out potential problems, you squash them before they become an issue, instead of waiting until they are fully-developed and you have to handle them, spending valuable time and resources.

You see this in times when multiple complaints come in from your customers about the same thing, for one example. Chances are, you knew that it was a potential issue before they all started to complain. The better way is to take initiative to ask your customers if they are experiencing any problems and solve them long before everyone starts to complain.

At the risk of sounding like Tony Robbins, it’s worth repeating that there are so many applications where being proactive gives you the advantage in your business, as well as in your life, in general. You can actually stop problems before they start, and avoid being in a perpetual state of damage control.


Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

StephanieProactive vs. Reactive: Which Strategy is Better?