There is a universal rule in business:
Don’t be afraid to do what’s already been done; just do it better.
In the weeks past we have been focusing on the art of discipline. My hope is that you have since been able to find what it means to live a life of intention and enjoy the peace your newfound freedom reaps! Today kicks off a brand new series : The business of your dreams.
When you are working to make a living from something you hold dear, it is a very personal affair. Actually, every detail can begin to seem like you have to filter it though you “feelings” before you can make the right decision. The problem lies in the fact that we are hopelessly fickle dear maker. We may “feel” a certain way today, but boy can that change fast! My advice to anyone out there who has since navigated this journey with feeling is that there is a better, more reliable way.
Your success thus far has been mainly attributed to your determination. While this will forever be true, it is time to introduce another, sometimes some powerful unit of measure: your Competitive Landscape. Who you are serving, what you are serving them with and how you are serving them is just as important to your mission as any amount of dedication. In order to uphold the integrity of your mission, you must first reveal all that your market demands. You must aim to stand out in a sea of those who might be just as dedicated as you are. You must aim for greatness.
Your Dream; From Good to Great
Greatness comes from focus, dedication and a willingness to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. In order to focus on what you can do best, however, you must first uncover it. In his book Good to Great, author Jim Collins expounds his theory of the hedgehog concept. His concept is derived from the parable of the clever, devious fox and the simple steady hedgehog. The fox is continually devising new tactics to help him capture the hedgehog, but the hedgehog continually and quite easily defeats the fox by doing his one timeless trick: rolling into a thorny ball. He tells his readers to simplify their mission by honing in on the talents and passions specific only to them. Plainly said, you will always be at your best when you are focusing on what sets you apart from your competition.
Collins offers three steps for finding where your focus should lie. Here goes:
First, understand and articulate what your central passion is. Go ahead, take your time and then write it down.
Second, understand and articulate what you can do better than anyone around you. Same rule, write it down.
Third, uncover and understand your economic drive. The core of this last answer should center around your profits. What will propel growth in your profit margin? You might have to do some research for this answer. When you have a decent grasp, write it down as well.
Look at each component laid out in front of you. Collins goes as far as to direct his readers to encase each of their answers in a separate bubble. As the bubbles are drawn together, the middle portion should begin to develop as the bubbles overlap. This new area reveals where your focus should always be. This is the place where it all your hopes and dreams begin to make sense. Some of you have already known where you want to focus, while others have only been guessing thus far. What Collins breaks down is that whatever you decide your business should be, your choice -- your mission -- should line up with who you are and have always been. The results of Collins hedgehog test paints a picture of your core -- that little thing which gives you the most potential in the world.
Thoughts for the road:
Even though the business of your dreams is extremely personal, you must do what it takes to make sure what you are offering is so great it will pull your target audience away from their previous purchasing choices. How do you ensure that will happen without feeling like you are compromising? Always take your customers feedback to heart and always make sure your focus aligns with filling their needs. They are who you are doing this for. They are who you are serving. Serve them well and serve them passionately.
When you realize you can produce something the world needs, your drive for excellence grows stronger and stronger. You will be known for what sets you apart. What sets you apart is your hedgehog! Still need further proof? Try asking your closest friends these two simple questions: 1) What attributes do they think of when they hear your name? 2) What skills do they see in you and your business ideas that are unique?
*You can find more on Jim Collins navigation tools here.
Until next time.