A lot of entrepreneurs want to become the next Google, Microsoft, or Apple. But few do. There is a key reason why. They copy what is popular, rather than being brave enough to innovate. As a business owner, if you copy the failures around you, you also will fail. What distinguishes successful companies from those who fail is their courage. Steve Jobs was willing to go to the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to cheaply build the iPhone at a high discount. Gates was clever enough to buy the DOS operating system from Paterson, and then made billions off of slightly modifying it for small computers.
Seeing opportunities that others are refusing to see is what distinguishes the great investor from the mediocre. Pink slip loans often become a reality for those who dream too large. Being overly realistic is bad as well, because than you become a slave of a corporation who has already been successful.
Warren Buffett, the billionaire who made Berkshire Hathaway a gigantic holding company, identified the secret to his success. Avoiding what others love, and loving what others avoid. What are other companies around you eager to do? Copy the successful people, go in debt, stay in USA, easy, leadership, popular, high prices, safe market, internet, or enjoyable. All of these qualities will give you a boatload of competitors to deal with. Buffett’s financial rule would say you should be avoiding these things like poison. They are choking your revenue. Everyone is grabbing for these qualities, like a shrinking pizza at a football game. The key is to bake a new pizza. Love what other people are avoiding. What are the people around you avoiding? Ignoring the successful people, saving, go international, hard, serving, unpopular, low prices, risky market, real world, and painful. If you do these things regularly in your business model, you will find lots of opportunities that your competitors are missing. Why? Everyone is avoiding these things.
The big companies did not get to their success overnight. They implemented the unpopular variables before they became mega popular. Copying an established company is like a toddler attempting to race a professional athlete. The toddler would be much wiser to play with blocks and slowly build coordination.
Resist the temptation to avoid risk. Resist the temptation to only do risky things. The successful path is more risky than Average Joe’s life, but safer than Gambler’s life. Think through what you are doing. Hang out with people who annoy you. They probably hold the secret to fixing your blind spots.
Organizational psychology can help immensely as well. All too often, the founders of a company are terrible at finishing the job. They have a lot of excitement for their growth, but then the credit card bill comes due. Put your people where they are best suited. The loud slick salespeople should not be the executive, though they usually are. The best executive is realistic and has big ideas. Gentlemen like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are good examples. The worst executives are only realistic or only have big ideas.
Slick salespeople with big ideas belong in the advertising department. Do not let them flatter and manipulate their way to the top of your organization. If they remain at the head of the company, they will eventually mortgage you to the hilt, with loss of revenue. The realistic person should be the financial and personnel manager. This will keep your people from breaching ethical standards.
The Myers-Briggs personality type system can help, particularly if you use a quality free assessment such as that pioneered by Dr. Dario Nardi of UCLA. When you know your people’s brain style, you can put them in the place of the organization where they will thrive. Practical skeptics should not be your leaders. They tend to overestimate their own abilities while refusing to risk failure. No company ever succeeded by refusing to fail.
Growth comes when you pursue pain. There is no way around it. Listening to the overly cautious or the exaggerated promises of failures is not going to help your model. Do not expand too rapidly. A steady increase over time is much better than a catastrophic collapse after being too optimistic.
People have a nasty tendency to overestimate their own abilities. This goes for you. Make a self-assessment about what you are good and bad at. Your strengths and weaknesses could make or break your organization. If you do not see your blind spots, you will hit a tree eventually.
Do what you do not like to do for a good portion of the day. This will discipline your business, and help you become well rounded. Consider using the Islamic method of financing, where your creditors are shareholders in your company. This takes the pressure off of you to perform, and gives you experienced people who can guide your growth. A creditor who is on the team is better than a creditor who invades your team due to late bills. Have frequent communication with everyone. Do not let the cynic win. Have people with high emotional intelligence handling relationships.
Whether your business succeeds or fails is going to depend on how much you are willing to suffer. There is a strong correlation between having a tough work ethic and success. Doggedly pursue your goals, and ignore the naysayers. A moderate approach that wins is better than an extreme approach that loses.