All you need to know to get ahead!
Could it be as easy as 4 simple steps?
I have been in business of one type or another for over 30 years and in that time I have met a lot of great business people and enjoyed chatting to them about their businesses and how they started. In that time it has occurred to me that in nearly all cases, they had followed the same 4 steps to building the success they enjoy today.
These steps are: 1) Having a great idea. 2) Having a way of getting that idea in front of people. 3) Having enough interest in their idea to work hard at it every day. 4) Having the motivation to push their idea to a global level.
1. The Idea
2. The Route to Market
3. The Passion
4. The Motivation
It seems that whether you are a Pig Farmer or a Global Oil Trader (and I’ve worked for both), these 4 principles are usually the same.
Let's expand on that...
#1. THE IDEA
Stage one to building a successful business can be easy for some and difficult for others. In an ideal world the idea would come first and be so brilliant, that your belief in that idea will drive everything else forward.
The idea can mean one of a few things: Either you know how to do something, or you have something, or you can get your hands on something that people want. Your idea can be brand new, a niche in the market or something established that you think you can do better; an improved service.
A businessman once said to me "I’ve always wanted my own business, it took me 15 years to come up with the idea, but here I am now!” In my experience of successful entrepreneurs, the idea should create the business and not the over way around. So don't rush or push it, it will come.
You will need - THE IDEA.
#2. THE ROUTE TO MARKET
Now you have your idea you need to get it out and in front of your customers or clients. This is one of the first things I ask a client;
"Love the idea, how do you think we should promote it?”
The answer to this is your RTM (Route to Market) and should be the second thing you think about right after the idea.
You need to be able tell people about your idea, but the answer from my clients can quite often be;
"I need a website to promote it! That’s why I called you..."
This is great and I do indeed run a digital agency that designs and builds websites, but the truth is that the best, most successful projects I and my company have been involved with, have been simple and yet involved more than pining all hopes on the website.
The uncomfortable truth is that usually, the hardest most unpleasant marketing idea you can come up with, will be the best - the easiest will be the least effective. This is not always the case and it depends on you, but for example; if you are not good at meeting new people and talking about your new business, you can guarantee that networking will be the best way to promote your venture and not the carefully crafted email that you want to send out to everybody. These more gentle methods of marketing can be employed later when you have some momentum behind you.
Yes, a website is a crucial tool in your marketing arsenal, but in the early days and depending on your business type, your website will probably be the place that new customers or clients visit once they have seen you, be it at a farmers market, conference or a trade show – it is your enthusiasm that will drive them to look up your website.
Personally I think that your idea and RTM are so important that under the right circumstances, really that is all you need. With a great idea and a strong and direct route to market the rest will just follow.
You need - a ROUTE TO MARKET.
#3. THE PASSION / FOCUS
You need to be as sure as you can be that you will be interested and passionate enough about your idea to be able to work with it every day for the foreseeable future. Endurance is required here; the ability to plod; to start things, do them and get them finished.
You need to do the unpleasant, difficult and outside your comfort zone stuff today, instead of falling into the trap of putting it off to do something that is easy and that you enjoy, all the while kidding yourself that you are working toward your business goals. This is harder for some people than others and is described by some Olympians as the only difference between someone who goes for a jog in the evening to keep fit and someone who ends up being a world class athlete; that is the ability to focus and really put the hours into training, to stick at it and not give-up.
If your idea is based on something that you are really good at or are interested in, that can help, and who knows where you will end up. For instance in the case of one of my really long term clients who are in the Aerospace sector, they have been in business almost 50 years and love it today as much as they did when they first started. I guess this is one of the unknowns of any project - who knows how you'll feel about things in the future, but if you are really passionate and focused about it now, right at the beginning of your journey, then chances are you will still be passionate and focused in 50 years and that is a bloody good place to start.
You need - THE PASSION.
#4. THE MOTIVATION
This is optional or critical depending on how much you want to succeed. Everybody needs to make a living, you may have an idea and want to see it realised or you may just want to be your own master so there's motivation right there, or maybe for some, passion and real interest in your idea will be enough, but you need a strong goal and/or need, to make it all really big.
Were you poor, hungry and destitute as a child? Did you feel that everyone else had the new toys and not you? Did you generally have an insecure up-bringing? Or are you just really competitive? Maybe you're a bighead, a huge ego, a show off, an egotistical showman who believes that what you do is just infinitely better then what anyone else can do. Self-promotion for you is not only second nature, it’s an everyday prerequisite. These and others can be good motivators to really succeed in adulthood and as an entrepreneur - you may not be very popular, but you may well be rich!
Basically you need to be a little bit broken and it seems that a lot of top money makers have a sob story; a creation myth that they can peddle to explain their rise to riches. Can this kind of hard-core motivation be manufactured? Can we use method? Can we train ourselves to think this way? Maybe that is a subject for another post on another day, but it seems that this kind of extreme motivation means that you are not likely be a very happy person and unfortunately that comes with the territory. It's up to you, if you want big success there will be a lot of worry and sleepless nights, equally you could aim to make a very good living and enjoy a more balanced life.
The choice is yours, but either way you will need - THE MOTIVATION
This post is not about how to summon up a great idea or the motivation to see it through. This post is intend to help focus the mind on the 4 essentials at a time when you will have a lot of distractions.
In the end these are just my observations, my opinions of what I have seen and experienced, you may have a different take on it, but maybe that's the point; the more ideas the better. Anyway I hope you found it useful and will come back for more soon. I will be very interested to hear your thoughts on the above, so please do leave a comment.
CtA - LEAVE A COMMENT, COME BACK SOON.
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