Are you ready to take your business to the next level? I'm talking your logo on people's shirts, super bowl commercials, raving fans, engaged employees and record-breaking revenue--quarter after quarter.
But before you go big, you have to start at home, taking time to quietly strategize what success looks like for you. And then, you have to ask yourself these 6 pivotal questions that lead to a multi-million dollar business.
1. Is our product or service the best in the world in its category?
The key to becoming the best isn't necessarily overtaking top-dog in your market. It's clearly defining your category so that you're in a category of one.
The best brands do this: Starbucks is the only franchised coffee shop that you can find off of any major highway, and that makes it the most iconic espresso depot on earth. IKEA is the only furniture store where you can get a $10 coffee table because you're assembling it yourself. (Good luck with that, by the way.) Because of its niche offerings, it's the most successful furniture store on earth.
I use this model too: I believe my keynote is the best inspirational, interactive speech to empower people at the beginning or end of a conference. By being super specific about my category, I'm able to confidently say that I am the best inspirational speaker of my kind. I'm not saying I'm better than every other speaker out there: I'm saying that because I'm in a category of one, I give my audiences an experience that no other speaker can.
So: Whether you sell shoes or booze, are you creating trademarked experiences that your customers can only get from you?
2. Are we selling our best product?
If you have a number of products or services, you'll see more return if you only sell the most successful ones. That's right: I'm suggesting that you cut down on your offerings.
Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It says that 20% of your products make 80% of your income. What if you put all of your energy into your already popular products instead of pouring more energy into your less popular products that don't sell anyway?
Crunch some numbers and see what you'd need to do to turn the 80/20 rule into the 100/100 rule where 100% of what you're offering (and investing in!) makes 100% of your revenue.
3. Do I personally believe in my product or service?
Why do I care about what you personally believe? Because the success of your business depends on YOU.
"You don't know that, Curtis. I'm just the [insert your job position here.]"
Well, you're right. I don't know whether you're the CEO or the guy who sweeps the floors. But I still know one thing: Unless every single person on your team believes that you are offering the best product on the market, your business is at risk of failing.
Why? Because passion supersedes natural ability. If you (and the rest of your team) are passionate about your product and carry that passion over to your marketing strategy and customer service, your product will sell. On the flip side, you could have the greatest product on earth, but if no one on your team is passionate about it, your customers won't be either.
4. Am I willing to work harder than everyone else?
While you're sleeping in on the weekends, there are people who are up early working on new business strategies. While you're scrolling Facebook, there are people posting and gaining fans. You may not have to work your tail off to stay afloat now, but with the rapid pace of change in every industry, we all have to innovate like our business depends on it.
If all of your marketing platforms and all of your avenues of distribution disappeared, would you care enough about your product to put in the work and make sales anyway?
When I spoke to the people at Luxottica, I learned that when the founder of LensCrafters was just starting out, he loaded glasses frames into his car and single-handedly sold them store-to-store.
That's the kind of grit that turned his business into a multi-million dollar one.
5. Am I willing to do the best I can do and then rip it to shreds?
If you want your business to skyrocket, you'll have to stop caring about it so much. In other words, you can't let your ideas become too precious to you. Practice detaching from the things that you make so that you can get feedback without taking it personally.
"Ripping it to shreds" looks like looking at your own work with a critical eye, but it also looks like actively seeking out feedback from colleagues and mentors you trust. And feedback tills the soil for crazy business growth.
6. Am I open to changing my current strategy?
Change is the new normal, which means that in every industry, there's a new kind of "survival of the fittest" occurring. In the past, massive corporations were practically guaranteed to survive, but in today's economy, no one is immune to extinction.
The most successful companies try new strategies often and don't get hung up on "the way we've always done it."
So, in order to survive, you have to adapt. If Toys R Us had realized this they could have beat out Amazon by offering new experiences that an online market can't.
Make change your new normal, and you will find that success is your new normal, too.
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