Expecting the Exception and Not the Rule

Dell™, Baby Einstein™, Coachville™…I’m sure you can name other phenomenal brands that have achieved unparalleled success beyond the expectations of the founders, the public, and “big” business.  These companies are the exception and not the rule.  These are the companies that did it.  For each of these “break out” companies, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of other companies established at the same time in the same industries that failed or achieved limited success.

Phenomenal Success Takes Perspiration and Preparation

If you are establishing a business and dream of developing a “brand” that people are going to become fantastically loyal to or that in three years the big boys are going to want to buy, then it is important to understand the odds, the elements that lead to the phenomenal success of your idol company, and the deliverables that it will take to get there.  You may very well have that break out revolutionary product or company. And if you do, it will take more than the product to achieve phenomenal success.  It will also take sound strategy, wise investment, the right priorities, and preparation meeting opportunity.

Here is an analogy for you:  business success is like predicting the weather.  You can calculate the probabilities based upon models, experience, and known factors.  Whether you get the forecast correct or whether you get drenched on a day with 10% chance of precipitation often depends upon things beyond your control.

Clear Vision, Not Rose-colored Glasses

When working with start-up businesses, one of the challenges is to balance optimism and vision with the practicalities of execution.  Having the dream of how far you want to take your business is critical to achieving that dream. Clear vision does not mean rose-colored glasses.  Clear vision enables a business to set priorities and make decisions.

Clear vision enables you to analyze and understand how successful businesses achieved their goals.  Lessons learned from successful companies can enable you to execute a similar strategy – it doesn’t mean you will get the same result, because all factors won’t be identical.  It does mean that you will be able to avoid some mistakes and pitfalls.

Some Assembly Required – No Single Path

Understanding successful businesses and how they did it provides a foundation for you to follow a model for success.  But like weather models, success is a matter of probabilities and not all variables are captured in a model.  So even with a successful business model, individual success can still be elusive.

Franchised businesses are a great example.  The franchise concept is to provide a business in a box, a near turnkey solution – with identity (brand), operations, policies, and systems that are already established.  Many franchises include training, marketing, and other assistance to the franchisee.  The one thing that can’t be franchised is a guarantee of success.  Because there are factors beyond the business model and systems that come into play, for instance: location, psychographics of the market (the psychological aspect of buyers/customers), competition, and management style and skills of the owner, operations managers, and employees.

Success is often as unpredictable as the weather.  You can use someone else’s
“proven” business model.  You can buy a business in a box.  You can forecast ideal conditions.  What you can’t do is assume that someone else’s success is a predictor of what you can achieve.

Break-out Businesses – Technology and Business Savvy

You may in fact have the next break out concept or business.  If you do then back it up with sound business, an ability to seek out advice and skills that you don’t have, and keep an open mind and an open ear to listen and understand lessons others have already learned.  For every successful business you study on how they succeeded, study five that failed and understand what went wrong.  Learning from success and failure improves the probability of a beautiful forecast for your business.

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