"The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success: Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation and Communication." ~ Michael E. Gerber
In this chapter you will learn the 3 Golden Rules that drive the success of every business, large and small. You will learn the RIGHT Questions to ask yourself if you truly want to do business SMARTER.
The fact is, business is very simple on the surface. You will hear this recurrent theme repeated everywhere in The Golden Game of Business Success Series... almost to the point of repetitive nausea. To WIN...
You must fully understand the RULES... or you will loose — either accidentally or by default.
You must PLAN to WIN... or you are defeated before you even get started.
You must PLAY to WIN... or you will not just get beaten by a fierce competitor... you will beat yourself to death.
We repeat this because it is vitally important that you not only "get it" but have it running background 24/7 in your subconscious. We need you to instinctively and intuitively react, respond and condition your every thought around this centralized idea.
Center Your Thoughts On The Center...
Before moving on, , I want you to think about what would happen if The Denver Broncos showed up at the Pepsi Center here in Denver for a good old game of hoops with the Denver Nuggets. We're talking old school here: Elway as QB, Smith as Wide Receiver and Elam as kicker. World champions one and all.
The opposing team is fielded by Melo, Chauncey and AI. Point guard is world famous J.R. Smith. WOW... What a TEAM with a capital T!
Each team runs onto the court a bit confused as to who is going to play what position. Worse, the Broncos haven't even seen the NBA Rule book... let alone a play book. Each team sits on the sidelines staring at their worthy competitors... with the cold glare of "mutual mystification" showing on their faces.
The Nuggets, who do know the rules of the game... and have a well-worn play book... wonder what's going to happen after tip-off. Elway stares at Elam and wonders if Jason can even kick a basketball, let alone get it in the hoop.
Smith looks over at Billups and mutters to himself something about how the hell is he going to get around, over or under a 6 foot-3 giant that has arms longer than a goal post. Worse, Rod tries to find anything that even looks at all LIKE a goal post.
Only then does Melo walk over to shake John's hand and ask, "You guys good to go?" Elway breaks out in a raucous laugh and says, "Excuse the devil out of me, but what game are we playing here? I thought we were going to do a little Stadium Football but I don't see the goal posts."
Melo says, "Football? We ain't no stinkin football players... the name of the game in our house is Basket Ball, bubba!"
"Full contact or flag bucket ball?" the always competitive Elway asks.
"Street rules," Melo advises.
"Let's get it on," Rod chimes in.
Can you even BEGIN to imagine the chaos that would ensue?
Champions without a clue!
Not sure WHAT game they are playing... not sure who's playing at what position... not sure what the rules are... not certain how the game is won or lost?
Without goal posts, even the best football players are clueless about the purpose of the game. Their entire life they were trained to "Get Ball... Run With Ball... Go Towards the Goal Post."
A confusing mess, for sure. No clear goal, no clear rules... no play book that they can count on. No way to win it, so just play like a bunch of fools and hope for the best.
Have we made our point?
If you are in it to win it, you have to know what game you are playing... the rules of the game... and have a playbook detailing who does what, when. Then, and only then is it smart to "get it on" or you are going to "get wasted!"
The old adage "Never ever play poker with a guy named DOC... never ever shoot craps with a guy named BONES" is especially true in business.
No matter how great the players, it would be impossible for the world's greatest football team to beat the world's greatest basketball team... at basketball. Likewise, it would be impossible for the world's greatest basketball team to beat the world's greatest football team... at football.
Different rules. Different play books. Different skill-sets. Different ways of keeping score.
Obviously, you have to KNOW the Rules. And it's no different with the game of business.
Yes, knowing the RULES are vitally important, so let's make 100% certain you know them before you make one more ill-fated decision... or take one more well-intentioned action.
Let's cover one more big point before drilling down into the details.
Several years ago, Theodore Levitt, publisher of the Harvard Business Review and numerous books on "The Marketing Imagination," asked a simple question...
What is the PURPOSE
Put another way, WHY does a business EXIST... and more to the point, why does your company exist?
We know what you are thinking, "This is a STUPID question, because everybody knows what the purpose of business is — it's to make money!"
Actually, that is NOT the right answer, any more than the purpose of life is to breathe. Think about it.
Of course you have to breathe to live. Without oxygen, you will die.
But that's not WHY you exist as a person, right? To just wake up breathing... go through the day breathing... go to sleep breathing... then repeat this pattern for say, 92 years.
You inhaled oxygen and exhaled CO2, but did you really LIVE? No, you simply existed. Big difference.
So, if making money is NOT the purpose of business, what is?
To GET and KEEP Customers.
Why else would your company, exist, if not to serve people?
Thus, the overarching PURPOSE of ALL businesses is to create a steady stream of NEW customers to buy whatever it is you have to sell... then create interesting new ways to KEEP those customers returning for more. It is this continuous CREATIVE PROCESS that Ted Levitt dubbed The Marketing Imagination... a way to think about your business where Innovation is King and Marketing Queen.
Is that all?
Of course not! You have to make MONEY from all the inspired, innovative ways you employ to Get and Keep customers returning. Or, like failing to breathe, you will certainly die. Money is the oxygen your business requires to survive.
But making a buck or two is not its fundamental PURPOSE.
Continuing this train of thought, you might say there is nothing MORE important to the life blood of your business than Getting Customers... Keeping them... and Making Money. You are right.
This is what we call your Prime Directives... the PRIME #1 MANDATE, TOP-OF-MIND FOCUS... guidance that drives every decision for every manager, leader, employee, stakeholder, director, family member, friend or even members of your church — ANYONE who has skin in YOUR game at your company.
These are your Prime Directives, not because we SAY they are, but because they are the most elemental building blocks of business success... below which EVERYTHING ELSE is merely an interesting detail.
Notice that your Prime Directives are comprised of 3 powerful VERBS — "Action Words" in the broadest sense of the meaning. Chant this for 60 seconds:
Get... Keep... Make...
Get... Keep... Make...
Get... Keep... Make...
Get... Keep... Make...
Repeat until WEALTHY!
How much FUN would you have if you found a way to turn your company into a wealth-generating 5 ring circus?!
Isn't it interesting that we can reduce the complexity of business down to just 3 words?! But these aren't just ANY 3 words... they are powerful VERBS... ACTION words that provide an infinite capacity for, well, inciting action!
"The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is the cutting edge of the mind." ~ Jacob Bronowski
Find exciting, innovative and imaginative ways of creating new customers... while at the same time giving your existing customers a compelling reason to frequently come back to you — and do this where your INCOME is substantially greater than your EXPENSES — and you will ACHIEVE THE SUCCESS YOU DESIRE.
Fail to get a sufficient number of new customers... you fail.
Get customers, but fail to retain them... you fail.
Pay too much to get new customers... you fail.
Pay too much to keep customers returning... you fail.
Become a raging success at getting and keeping customers but fail to do so at a real profit... you fail.
Fail to achieve SUSTAINABILITY... you fail.
Fail to achieve PROFITABILITY... you fail.
Fail to GROW and ultimately, a competitor will steal your customers away from you... and (starting to pick up a pattern here?) you fail.
Yes, this is the reality of business. And TODAY, given the worst economy in recent history, a broken government, out of control deficits and soon to be rising taxes... it is getting tougher to play the game of business to win than ever before.
As you might have guessed, everything in this chapter has been leading up to this point. While simple to understand, we wanted you to have the context behind our conclusion that there ARE 3 Golden Rules and 3 Golden Questions that derive from them.
If you want to WIN the golden game of business, first understand the Rules of the Game... then Play to WIN:
Follow these rules, and you will turn your company, into a gold mine beyond the dreams of avarice. You will have fun. You will make a difference in the lives of those most important to you.
Don't, and you will work your butt off and still suffer the heartbreak of failed hopes and dreams.
Now that you clearly understand the Rules, here are the all-important questions that you must ask yourself 10-20-100 times each day.
From the time you wake until the time you crash, these are the Strategic Questions that must guide your every decision.
These are the Golden Questions that cause you to move beyond a status quo mentality to the proactive winner's mentality.
Every other decision you make, directly or indirectly, serves your Prime Directives. Every tactic you choose... every action you take serves one or all of your Prime Directives.
Yes, these are the truly GOLDEN QUESTIONS that will make you rich.
They provide you with the Golden Ticket to success.
Think, for a moment, how different your life would be right now had you been asking these Golden Questions for the last 6 months. What do you suppose would have happened had you maintained maniacal focus on Getting New customers?
What do you suppose would have happened had you maintained maniacal focus on Keeping Existing customers returning to?
What do you suppose would have happened had you maintained maniacal focus on Making Money?
No, not just one of the above... ALL of the above... ALL the time.
We know EXACTLY what happens when you remain totally focused on the Mission rather than drift aimlessly throughout the day:
You become powerful beyond words. You achieve the self-fulfilling prophecy of success, because you EXPECT to succeed. You GET more customers... KEEP more customers... and MAKE more money, simply because THAT is what you are focusing on.
Your focus leads you to create even higher expectations. Higher expectations drive even greater success. The cycle expands.
Yes, the Golden Questions beg you to constantly think WIN WIN, doesn't it? It asks you what are you going to do NOW... then what are you going to do NEXT to WIN.
This, is the pure essence of Thinking Strategically... Acting Tactically... and Executing Brilliantly.
You are a success, because you are asking... and answering the RIGHT questions... making SMARTER Choices and taking SMARTER Actions.
In the next chapter we will contrast business success and failure. Since our stated Mission is to REDUCE the failure rate... and INCREASE the success rate... by a full 25% in the next two years... it will help us both if you understand WHY businesses fail... what you are actually up against... and what it will take for you to break out, break free and break all the records! But, before we hand over the keys to success, let's take a moment to reiterate what you learned in the previous chapters, and combine it with the Golden Rules you learned here.
To build a wildly successful company:
You must know the RULES of the game...
You must PLAN to WIN...
You must PLAY to WIN...
You must learn to THINK Strategically...
You must learn to ACT Tactically...
You must learn to EXECUTE Brilliantly.
By asking SMARTER Questions...
By making SMARTER Choices...
By taking SMARTER Actions...
Resulting in Gold Standard Performance.
Thereby Getting More NEW Customers...
Keeping More EXISTING Customers...
And Making a LOT More Money!
"Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed." ~ Eileen Caddy