3 Ways to Succeed in Business

Tortoise and the Hare

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.

About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

3 comments on “3 Ways to Succeed in Business

  1. Ah….The Tortoise Strategy! Love that you chose that name. So often I question why it seems to be taking so long to get where I want to be. Especially when we are bombarded with stories of folks that had that one-hit-wonder that made them rich in a short period of time. I can’t count the number of times I’ve lamented the fact that I was not the inventor of the Pet Rock!

    Thanks so much, Debbie, for reminding me that my slow, methodical plodding will result in a more stable and healthier business.


  2. Tracy, thanks for sharing. I’d be wary of any stories about one-hit-wonders or getting rich in a short period of time. Usually those folks have years of preparation that led up to their current success. Just like when you hear the stories of the music artist who is an “overnight success,” they’ve almost always paid their dues for years before achieving that “overnight success.” You just don’t hear about that.

    BTW, the inventor of the Pet Rock was an advertising veteran who had a fluke idea and ran with it…and knew how to market. While the Pet Rock made him a millionaire, the success of the Pet Rock only lasted about 18 months. He tried to follow up on that success with two other products, both of which failed to attract the attention of the Pet Rock. Showing that sometimes, success is a fluke or the result of an incredible idea and the perfect storm, however that’s not usually the case for long-lasting success.

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