In a former life, I was running my own logistics company. It nearly killed me. Tears, fear and stress.
Business is tough, they say. You were expecting it to be fun and rewarding? What planet were you on?
I had lost the plot. I was always working for what will be instead of enjoying what I had right now.
Railing against my dumb competitors and how their cheap prices and poor service was ruining a once-proud industry. Surely my clients would see that choosing a giant competitor was a mistake. I knew why we were better. My sales staff would tell prospects how we were the best of all worlds. Why weren’t new clients flooding through the door?
But I wasn’t alone. Scores of business owners wake up at, the proverbial, 2 am wondering why they lost a customer to the supposed poor service competitor, wondering why their latest branding message or marketing blast isn’t making the phones ring off the hook and stressed at forces that seem outside of their control.
Looking back, experience tells me if your main purpose is keeping up with the competition, then you’re already halfway in the business morgue.
The competition is not the problem, YOU are the problem. Unless you are the CEO of Wal-Mart or of the same lowest-price-wins ilk, I would love to know why your competitors truly matter.
Why would you want your competition to dictate your actions?
If you knew what your ideal clients really wanted (what was truly meaningful), nothing more, and you delivered that to them perfectly then suddenly…
Suddenly, there is no competition. Other people’s prices, other people’s products. They’re not real. like Buddha would say, just an illusion.
What IS real is the people you care about and finding out a way to look after them better.
Keeping up with the Jones’ is never fulfilling in your home life, so why should it work in business? Critical point.
You don’t need to be the next Microsoft. You don’t need to find a cure for cancer. You don’t need to borrow millions of venture capital dollars with the hope to pay it back once you hit 1,000,000 members, visitors, etc… Every business has a meaningful reason for being. It doesn’t have to be connected to what you sell but it IS important that you connect to it. This connection makes all the marketing and sales really work… Without it, not so much.
Growing a solid, strong and sustainable business that takes care of the owners, the staff, their community and their clients is a superior result. Anything more is just vanity and needless suffering.
The journey of owning your business should be just as fun and exciting as the end game.
Believe. Innovate. Be Unique. Don’t spend forever on the dreaming part, just start doing it. Make it fill up your cash account. Enjoy the whole experience. The way to get there is not necessarily to “fight like hell” … Instead, get the business to a place where you can be passionate about it and enjoy the 10-20 hours a day you will spend doing it.
When you arrive at this place it will no longer feel like a fight… just a great part of your life.