winning (according to the Free Dictionary): 1. To achieve victory or finish first in a competition. 2. To achieve success in an effort or venture: struggled to overcome the handicap and finally won.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of this year’s Olympic events. Athletes representing countries from all over the globe, performing and competing for best-in-class global recognition for their specific event. These athletes train extensively, most of the time, from an early age. They love their sport. They’re good at it. They are laser-focused on it. And, they’ve managed to continuously improve throughout the years with the proper coaching, drive and countless hours of rehearsal for the opportunity and that one moment to prove it. When the time finally comes for them to compete, they perform with confidence and assurance knowing they have been through that experience a thousand times (at least in their own mind) so not to disappoint their coaches, their country, and most of all, themselves. It’s magical, inspiring, exciting and awesome. To be the best at anything for one moment in time, especially on a global level, is quite extraordinary, no matter who you are.
Much of this Olympic excitement and the individual athletes’ approach can be translated to business. There’s no mistaking that being a leader and the best at what you do says a lot for how you, your product/service and/or business are perceived and the sales and customers you attract once you’ve made it. Like an Olympic athlete, it says you have focused on your craft. You’re good at it. You are focused. And, perhaps you have managed to improve it or perhaps compete better than any other alternative with an exceptional solution to a customer need or problem.
Winning in Business
So how exactly can a business owner, entrepreneur or professional win in business? What are the proper steps? What can be learned from the leaders? And, what can be done now?
Personally, although I’ve heard more often than not, especially lately, from professionals that “I’d rather be lucky than good,” there is little coincidence why some businesses succeed and others do not. Sure, luck and timing play a role but, in the long run a business needs to be nurtured. Customers need to be cultivated and held on to. And, profits need to flourish in order to succeed, lead and grow. Following are a few essential elements to serve as reminders for winning in business. By no means is this an exhaustive list but perhaps a refresher to helping you earn your podium moment and a gold medal for your business in the coming days, months and years ahead.
Successful planning sets the stage for business success. It supports focus and delivers clarity. A plan is your companies’ roadmap for success and, if bought into, becomes part of the culture and supports company-wide direction. In all of my marketing courses, I teach that successful marketing planning drives successful sales. Yet, it’s surprising how many businesses operate without one. It is true that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Having a clear strategy and objectives as well as the tactics to achieve them, in a well thought out and documented plan, minimizes business risk and optimizes efficiencies and productivity.
This one sounds simple but without setting specific goals, your business could be navigating as a ship with no lights in the night. Specific goals may include: Sales, number of units sold, customers acquired, retained and/or grown, revenue per employee, and/or costs savings, to name a few. Setting a time for reaching a goal and being realistic are paramount. Furthermore, knowing your company’s full potential and managing expectations are just as important as the actual goal itself.
Benchmarking is the act of setting specific standards for your business. It involves comparing your business processes and performance to industry bests or best practices from other industries. Benchmarking can be particularly useful in helping you and your employees visualize becoming a leader. Recognized leading standards like six sigma and the Malcolm Baldridge Award for customer service are cross-industry benchmarks for excellence.
Be sure to track your business’ success and/or failure for ongoing improvement. Know where your business is at all times with the metrics that you set as standards for success. Share the metrics and where you stand with employees often to generate consensus and buy-in. Use tracking/reporting to compete amongst yourself just as Olympic athletes strive to out do their last competition. Adjust your goals regularly to accommodate and be able to clearly explain your shortcomings. Knowing where you are at all times is just as important as knowing where you’re going.
I am most impressed with every interview during the Olympics I’ve witnessed to see how confident and positive they are for actually doing what they do. Each understands their own potential and they go for it. They execute. They know what to expect out of themselves and their teammates and they move forward; no delay, no excuses. Their success has been carefully rehearsed and the bar has been set. All that’s left is simply ‘doing it perfectly’ at the exact moment it’s expected.
Know what it takes to successfully execute in your business. Rehearse it in your mind. Run different models. Be prepared for challenges as well as windfalls. Know how to pivot with your business. Execution is key to business success.
Striving for business gold and winning is no easy task. It takes years of practice, the right team and coaches/mentors, and timing. With the proper focus and process, you too can earn your chance at being the best in your business and the podium spotlight for years to come.
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Florida and New York since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over six years. He has been quoted and/or featured in USA Today, Mobile Marketer magazine, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Marketing magazine, BNET TV and Business Currents magazine, to name a few. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com, call him at 239.963.9396 and follow him on Twitter @angbiasi.