Success in business begins with the right mindset. As a business ages and becomes more sophisticated, the business owner’s mindset changes.
As an immigrant who moved to the United States in 2001, I’ve personally been through several mental states as a business owner. I’ve felt the fear of failure, insecurity about my future successes, the satisfaction of attaining those successes, and the stress of trying to maintain growth. We’ve all been embarrassed when things didn’t work out how we’d planned, and felt reaffirmed when we’ve been able to duplicate initial victories.
Today, at my companies In Touch EMR and Therapy Newsletter, not only do we know we are the best at what we do, we act like it.
Traditional Thinking About Dominance
For starters, stop thinking about differentiation — go one step further. Start thinking about dominance. Raise the bar high and stand head and shoulders above everyone else. Eventually, competitors won’t see you as a threat. They will want to work with you.
Your customers see you — and only you — as the answer to everything they are looking for (for a host of needs). To become preeminent, you need to ask yourself a simple question.
What Business Are You Really In?
An article published by the Harvard Business Review asks the question “What business are you really in?”
The article emphasizes that the railroad industry was not in the business of railroads. It was in the business of transportation. The failure of the railroad industry to recognize that led to the decline of consumer use of railroads.
According to the article: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others that are thought of as seasoned growth industries have actually stopped growing. In every case, the reason growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.”
The article highlights the importance of attracting the right clients. In fact, it states: “Management must think of itself not as producing products but as providing customer-creating value satisfactions.”
The Hollywood Example
Think about Hollywood for a second. Is Hollywood in the business of making movies, or is Hollywood in the business of entertainment? The movie industry now recognizes the fact that consumers don’t care about DVDs, blue ray discs or CDs. Consumers care about the entertainment, regardless of the format in which it is delivered. That’s why children watch cartoons on an iPad during long drives, and why you watch your favorite TV show on Netflix while you’re at the gym.
The Attributes of a Preeminent Business Owner
It’s easy to show up, deliver the service and occasionally exceed expectations. That’s what most businesses do. Preeminent small business owners are in the minority because they truly understand the business they’re in. They operate at a different level. Understanding the needs of the customer is the benchmark for preeminence. A crucial key some owners miss is trust — not only from the customer, but from employees, the general public and even your competitors.
Preeminent business owners make the customer experience so incredible that it has a huge impact. Customer messages are targeted and specific, effectively building personal bridges with clientele. To have the time for all of this — to really focus on what matters — you must prioritize. This way, owners can spend time on maximum impact issues and delegate everything else to the right people in the right positions. Finally, track your metrics. Finding out what works and what doesn’t will keep you on the path to preeminence.
A Day in the Life of Preeminent Business Owners
They don’t need to market their services. They create a competitive monopoly for themselves. Their competitors try to copy them, but can’t. They also command premium prices and get paid what they seek. They typically have more compliant customers who refer others, and pay more money for additional services. They live rich, full lives (and by rich, I am not referring simply to money). They have very little staff turnover, and command respect, appreciation and trust. They don’t have to deal with frantic, demanding staff and customers, investors return their calls, and customers show up for appointments.
Mental dominance, in a business sense, isn’t about inflated egos or narcissism. It’s about a focused mission to be the best at what you do and change the landscape of business. It’s the zenith of self-belief as a business owner. It’s more than confidence; it’s a state of preeminence. It’s about creating an environment where your competitors see you as a thought leader.
Remember what business you are in and put the needs of your customers first. Then you will be on your way to creating a preeminent small business. In fact, you may find yourself at the center of a rapidly growing, dominant enterprise.
A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s site, here.