You’ve probably heard the old sports term, “Go Big or Go Home.” The same is true of business: the bigger you dream and the harder you try, the more likely you are to hit the big-time. This secret to success breaks down into four different substrategies:
- Think bigger and bolder than your competitors do. Most of them are thinking small and timid.
- Understand things about your market that they don’t. Why do people buy? What are they really searching for? What do they want the very most? What are the unconscious desires that drive your marketplace? Your competitors are pretty much blind to all that. They’ve never thought things through at a deep level; they’re following the follower.
- Stay deeply committed to being the very best company in your marketplace. Most of your competitors are just trying to get by.
- Focus all your resources into those few areas that stand the greatest chance of making you the most long-term profits.
There are many things you can do to accomplish these strategies. That’s the good news as well as the bad. That’s why you’ve got to apply as much leverage as possible to the few things that make the biggest difference to your business. You may think this sounds hard, and thank God it is! If beating your competition were easy, then there would be a lot more people doing all this. To truly succeed, you have to be willing to do the things that they’re unwilling to do.
In most cases, your competition doesn’t understand the marketplace at all. They don’t really want to make the effort. They’re not committed to becoming the best they can be, and they don’t bother to focus on those few areas that bring in the most profits. It may not be easy to turn those attitudes around, but doing so is what brings you the real money.
This boils down to thinking bigger and bolder, because most people are focused on how they’re going to get through the day, and that’s it. You have to go beyond that. Get away from the business itself and start thinking about what you can do to work on your business instead of just working in it. You’ll separate yourself from most of your competition simply by investing the time required to decide how you can make your business bigger, better, and more profitable.
I saw an interesting interview with Donald Trump on the Business Channel last year. As you may know, he had some help getting started from his father, who was already in real estate; but the Donald decided to go in a new direction and build really mammoth buildings — some of the largest, most elaborate casinos and luxury hotels in the world. He put together some ideas and then decided to make it known that he was the man who could get things done. He didn’t have as much capital to work with as most banks want, but he was able to convince them to invest millions of dollars in his ideas. This shows you how important it is to be a big thinker. Now, he’s gone bankrupt a few times; he’s been up, he’s been down, but he’s back up today. He’s worth a billion dollars and has properties all over the world. That illustrates the value of big thinking.
The second part of this strategy is also critical. You must understand things about your market that others don’t. Do your homework. Keep learning. Most people either don’t bother or don’t have the time. Make the time, especially when it comes to understanding the basics. Most people are selling things they think people need, but they often forget about what people want — they’re forgetting about the psychology that makes their customers buy. It may not be what they think it is. You have to be willing to take the time to discover what they really want.
Then of course, you must stay totally committed, totally focused on improving your business. Those who achieve magnificent things, who become very rich or famous, or make a big contribution to the world itself are those who focus tightly on their dreams. They take the time to think about what really matters, get deep inside the dream, and go straight for the end results they’re after.
You have to beat your competition at their own game. If you’re not striving, at best you’ll end up somewhere in the mediocre middle. To excel at your game, you’ve got to be in a position to do things bigger and better than everybody else. If this was easy to accomplish, then everyone would be doing it — and no one would shine. Well, folks, that never happens; there’s always someone who stands head and shoulders above the rest, because frankly they just want it more.
It doesn’t matter what field of endeavor you’re talking about — athletics, academics, professional fishing, or business. There will always be people who excel, while others just get by and the rest struggle to survive. It’s going to sort itself out that way automatically, no matter how hard you try to level the playing field. So you need to improve your game if you want to do better.
Traditionally, one way to do this is by going to college. While I may get some negative feedback for saying so, I have to admit that I believe that by most standards, college is a waste of time and money these days. Everyone’s getting a degree, and those degrees aren’t always worth the paper they’re printed on. College educations don’t teach you how to succeed; they just bury you in debt. Most business degrees don’t even show you how to run a real business; they’re oriented toward administrating large corporations, a whole different kind of animal, and are rarely taught by people who’ve run businesses in real life. They’re just not as useful as they were 40-50 years ago.
Now that just about everyone has a college diploma, you need an advanced degree to get ahead — and there goes even more of your life. The value of a college degree has been watered down. The point is, college degree or not, you can’t do what everybody else is doing and expect to get better results than they get. You’ll only be average — and is that what you really want?
Of course not. You want to take it to the next level, to increase your income, excel in business, and dominate your competition. You want to be the one everyone looks to as a standard, the one everyone else wishes they were. To accomplish this, you have to take your business above and beyond what it is now. You have got to commit to doing things that nobody else in your marketplace is willing to do.
Think bigger and bolder. Understand things about your marketplace that your competitors don’t understand and aren’t even willing to learn. Deeply commit yourself to being the very best possible, and totally focus all your attention on the few areas that bring you the best return on investment. Do all that, and you’ll definitely up your game.
It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of work. Most business owners are weak, and never make the least effort to do anything it takes to excel. They’re happy to just muddle through life. They may be great people, but they’re not good marketers — so you need to take advantage of that fact. If you want to excel, that’s where you have to start.
Begin by being thinking bigger than they do, and just keep pushing from there.