The Three Most Dangerous Words: “I Know That”

Do you know what the three most dangerous words in all of business are?

Okay, I kind of gave it away in the title, but here they are:

“I Know That.”

Actually, they’re the three most dangerous words in the entire English language. But, since I am focused on business success topics, we’ll limit the discussion to the dangers in regard to business and marketing.

By themselves, or used within the context of millions of other sentences, the words “I know that” pose absolutely no threat. But, string these words together and the impact could be devastating to your company’s results.

And, you’re probably using this little three-word phrase more than you realize. Most of the time it’s probably not even being spoken out loud. But, if you ever hear the little voice inside your head saying “I know that”, then the power of its destructive force is even greater.



Why Are the Words “I know that” So Dangerous?

You see, it’s not what you don’t know… It’s what you do know that’s keeping you from all the success you desire.


Danger #1

We tend to stop looking around and learning more when we believe we already know something.

Any time you catch yourself saying “I know that”, either out loud or in your mind, STOP. Take this as a warning sign that you are making assumptions. You are thinking inside the box and inside your comfort zone.

Instead, concentrate on what you might learn differently the second time around from what you thought you understood the first time.

Danger #2

We fully know or understand something, but we fail to properly implement it.

Sometimes, this is because of lack of capital, resources, or manpower. However, most of the time, failing to properly implement an idea is usually from lack of commitment or believing it won’t work or doesn’t apply to you.

This is a common human problem in both business and life! We think because we’ve heard about a new strategy, pictured how it might work in our minds, and then visualized failure or rejection or some other ineffective outcome… that we’ve already tried it.

Instead, challenge yourself and your self-limiting beliefs. Try implementing a strategy you’ve discarded as “ineffective” in the past and watch how it plays out much differently in reality than it did in your mind. You’ll begin to see that you might not know everything you think you know…


What You Know (…But Do You Really?)

So what is it that you already know? Below is a variety of business areas and strategies that you may consider and the first thought that arises is that dangerous three-word phrase: “I know that”. My goal is to describe the aspects you may, in fact, not know and broaden your mindset to one of business success, growth, and endless possibilities.

1. Profitability

Perhaps you already know everything about the profitability and numbers of your business.

If you increase your price, all other variables held constant, usually you will increase your profits.

“I know that!!!”

So when is the last time you researched to see if it’s time to increase your prices?  Most company owners are afraid to increase their prices for fear of losing customers. But will you really lose clients?

2. Target Markets

You need to focus on a well-defined target market in order to sell your product or service.

“I know that!”

But do you really know exactly who your ideal clients are? Have you defined this succinctly for your own business?

My experience is that most businesses are taking whatever business they get through the door. Do you know how to create a laser-focused target market definition that gets you your ideal clients every time?

These are the clients who are extremely happy with what you provide, never question your pricing, and always pay on time.

3. Competitive Advantage

You need to establish your uniqueness (why you’re different) to stand out from competition.

“I know that.”

But do you really? What makes your business unique? Most companies I work with are still focused on telling prospects they’re different because of their number of years in the business or because they’re totally focused on quality customer service. But who is not saying those things?

An effective strategy to set your business apart from the rest is through fanatic discipline. Read about it here.

4. Client-Driven Business Strategies

You need to focus on client results and benefits, not on your product or service’s functions and features.

“I know that…”

But do you really? Do your current marketing messages reflect what you do better than any other company in order to solve your ideal client’s problem? I commonly see that most businesses never get beyond trite phrases like, “We’ve been in business for XX years, so we know what we are doing”, or “We have great customer service”.

But does this help your clients understand how and why you are the best fit to help them solve their problem?

5. Hiring Great People

We need to hire great people.

“I know that…”

So are you hiring the right people in the right seat? Are you taking a proactive approach to finding the right attitude and skilled workers that fit your own unique company? Have you implemented strategic hiring and recruitment practices? Or do you simply complain that it’s hard to find good people?

6. Having Great Leaders and Great Planning

You need great leaders, great forward thinkers, great planning that is executed proactively on a daily basis.

“I know that…?”

So do you take the time to create a master strategic plan, then create a road map of actions that help you accomplish it? And do you check in monthly with this plan to ensure you are either on course, or need to make some adjustments along the way?

Or does the master strategic plan sit on a shelf once you create it, and then you hope you’re on the right path?



Okay, Maybe I Don’t Know… What Now?

I’m not suggesting that company owners and leaders don’t do any of this. In fact, most have a great process that is working well.

But are you on the top of your game?  Do you know for a fact that you plan well, implement diligently, and are on your way to meeting and exceeding the goals you and your company set out to accomplish?

If the answer is no, or if any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone.  Often, we dismiss doing something that we know we should do simply because it’s something we’ve heard before, and think we should do, but for whatever reason, we are not doing.

When we keep saying “I Know That” we are closing our minds to new ideas, new perspectives, and new possibilities.

Just Because You Don’t Know Everything Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Know Something

I’m not saying that everything you know is wrong and you must flip your thinking upside down. Definitely not. I am simply suggesting that we all make small, tiny, miniscule adjustments in our thoughts and actions to challenge what we think we know.

With any business, a slight adjustment in your process could mean a 1000% or more increase in your results.

Isn’t it possible that someone else’s perspective or idea could lead you to that slight adjustment? Isn’t it possible that looking at the same problem differently could give you new insight into how to solve it? Isn’t it possible that looking at something that you’ve heard of and dismissed as “too much work”, or “it doesn’t work”, or “We tried it once and it didn’t work” may work if you just tweaked it a bit and tried it again?

Not if we’re constantly saying, “I Know That!”

Look at Things Differently Next Time

And that’s why “I Know That” are the three most dangerous words in all of business (and, of course, in life).

To quote Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.  So next time you hear these words (out loud or in your head), think differently.  Concentrate twice as hard on what the new idea, perspective, or possibility is for you and your company. It may just make that 1000% difference.

Thought you knew everything in the above categories but now realize you don’t? Contact us to help you implement the strategies you don’t know you’re missing!




Cindy Piva is Founder and President of Thrive Business Strategies, with 20+ years experience owning and operating a business. She is passionate about businesses, and even more passionate about the people who create them. Thrive Business Strategies works with business owners who want to implement powerful, incremental growth strategies for their business, so they reach goals they never thought possible, and achieve high-impact results!