After being in business on my own for 13 years, and my observation of other successful businesses, I’ve come to the conclusion there really are only three ways to succeed in business.
Success Strategy #1: The “Hot” Product
If you have a hot product, you can screw up a lot of things and still be successful. You don’t have to be the best marketer. You don’t need a great product name or branding. Your service doesn’t even have to be that good. In fact, you can make mistakes and people often don’t care because they want what you are selling so badly.
One example of this is the iPhone. Despite the shortcomings of AT&T service, millions of people bought the iPhone, and often stood in line for hours to get one.
Another example, again courtesy of Apple, is the iPad. Despite a name that was ridiculed when it first came out, the iPad is a huge success. People want the product. They don’t care what it’s called. They want what it enables them to do.
If your product or service is a hot commodity, very often nothing else matters.
Success Strategy #2: Born Salesperson
I have seen quite a few service professionals who also happen to be well-trained salespeople, or just natural salespeople, do extremely well. Their marketing and branding isn’t necessarily stellar. Their products or services aren’t all that revolutionary. But they know how to sell and they are willing to sell, sell, and sell some more until they achieve success.
In that most of us are not born salespeople (and frankly, most folks I talk to hate selling), this is not the path to success for the majority. However, for those who excel in this area, and could sell ice cubes to an eskimo, it is a very viable strategy.
One caveat here, if your product or service doesn’t live up to your sales ability, your success will be short-lived. As I always say, you have to be able to live up to your promise, or you’ll develop a tribe of resentful and unhappy customers, and that will eventually catch up to you.
Success Strategy #3: The “Tortoise” Strategy
Named after the fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, this strategy is the one where “steady wins the race.” It’s where you marry solid expertise or a good product, with good business skills and marketing know-how, and a good dose of patience and determination.
This is the path to success for the majority of service professionals. While most of us have a quality product or service, it’s not the norm to have one so great that people will overlook all else to get it (success strategy #1).
So, to compensate for that, we need to make sure we are working in our “wheelhouse” and building our business around our greatest strengths and expertise, and combining that with a solid business strategy, consistent marketing, a plenty of dedication and patience.
It is very possible to build a solid and profitable business using The Tortoise Strategy. Yes, it often takes more work than success strategy #1. It may be slower than success strategy #2, but it’s certainly more comfortable for most people.
If you’re in business for the long haul, this is good news. It means as long as you have substance and dedication, you can succeed.