Hidden Keys To Ultimate Success – That Most Entrepreneurs Miss
Countless articles have been written about the entrepreneurial climb to success.
What have we learned, exactly?
The climb is steep and arduous. The footing is precarious. The packs are heavy. The mountain tops are often beyond our reach, and we often stumble. And sadly, more of us fall than make it to the summit.
The Fortunate Few
This article, however, is written for the fortunate few who actually make it.
Against all odds, we climb and climb. Our muscles strain, our hearts quicken, and then all at once we breathlessly reach the top. Blessed victory!
But then something unexpected happens.
We stand and cast our gaze out over the surrounding vistas — our prize for accomplishment — only to discover that we are surrounded by endless new mountains, stretching off toward the horizon, some even higher and more dangerous than the one we just conquered.
It begs the question: Should we stop and treasure this one success, or continue climbing until we reach the pinnacle — the highest mountain we all strive for?
To get this far has taken all of our strength and resources. Deep down, we know that to continue we must find the hidden keys to ultimate success that we so far have missed. What are they? Who do we ask?
Unfortunately, these are questions unanswered by education, ignored by those who fail and closely guarded by those who succeed. I guess we’re on our own? So let’s consider these questions for a moment and see if any lights go on. Let’s be creative, and give serious thought to what’s missing.
Two Hidden Keys
The first key is this:
The climb to the top is more rapid and sustainable — if you help someone else.
This is a very important lesson, lost for decades by traditional business, but reemerging as a core principle of Social Media. When before it was all about selling – the focus of Social Media has changed the landscape — now it is all about serving.
To be ultimately successful, it is imperative that you put the needs of others — your customers and potential customers, employees and stakeholders — ahead of your own.
This does not mean that you must sacrifice your own success, it merely means that you should be cognizant of the needs of others as a key starting place. When you meet those needs first, your needs will be correspondingly met.
This key success factor seems obvious, but business has long held that products and services, whatever they are, must be sold. Even if that sales process does not meet the actual needs of the consumer.
The founder of the Ford Motor Company once said of his first automobile. “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” That sales process was obviously successful, but in today’s world, Ford’s management has materially improved upon that approach. Today they ask, “What do you want in your new Ford automobile?” Through remarkably agile Social Media campaigns, led by Ford’s masterful Social Media Director, Scott Monty, Ford is gradually reinventing itself. They have begun climbing their ultimate mountain, and when they reach that pinnacle they will be the masters of all they see.
For entrepreneurs, that same ultimate key to success applies. For those unfamiliar with Social Media, their first reaction is to sell, and sell, and sell. They flood their Twitter streams will sales language, thinking that the old rules still apply. They don’t.
We now live in an era where buying patters have changed. They are diametrically opposite to those of only a few years ago. The imperative now is service, not selling. For those entrepreneurs wishing to scale their last mountain, helping others is the new key to success.
The second key is this:
Collaboration with others is the new path to the top.
For those of us who make a living in Social Media, for example, I have a question by way of explanation: Why is it that no Social Media company has captured the lion’s share of the market? When you mention donuts, Dunkin’ Donuts comes immediately to mind. When you mention coffee, Starbucks pops into your head. Why is there no one Social Media company taking the leadership role? There are two reasons for this, I believe. They both have to do with collaboration.
1. Unwillingness to Partner. Even the biggest money makers in Social Media are apparently unwilling or unable to collaborate with other professionals where their skills might be useful. Take Twitter for example. The top ten agencies in the field, who daily advise entrepreneurial businesses on how to amass a large, engaged Twitter following, have a total of only 14,350 Twitter followers between them, (as of 5/9/11). The most skilled agency has less than 5,000 followers.
Is it that they are understaffed? Not likely, as they have hundreds of employees. Is it that they don’t care, or possibly feel it is unnecessary since they are doing millions of dollars in business? Perhaps. But how is that credible with their potential customers?
I don’t wish to be critical, as all of these companies are highly professional, well-respected and hugely profitable, but if you are expecting other businesses to take your Twitter guidance seriously, should you not have a substantial Twitter following yourself?
Before I undertook to advise others on Twitter, I spent a year building a 41,000 person Twitter following. And knowing that my customers tend to be smaller entrepreneurial firms, I did 100% of the work myself to illustrate that it could be done by one person.
The point of all this, is that companies of all sizes should collaborate for mutual success. There is no reason for smaller companies to avoid integrating, formally or informally, into a larger whole. The resulting organization could be formidable.
We now live in an open world, and there should be no reason for the dog-eat-dog competitiveness of years past. Certainly, all of us that make the Twitter-sphere our home, should be open to partnering with fellow Twitter travelers. It best serves our needs, but more importantly the needs of our customers.
2. Unfamiliarity with the Joint Venture as an Engine for Growth. The corollary to the above unwillingness to partner, is the unfamiliarity with the joint venture as an engine for growth.
Imagine the Social Media behemoth that could be created, if the top practitioners or companies in the 14 separate Social Media disciplines — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, WordPress, web programming, graphic design, sales, marketing, cloud computing, public relations, strategy, execution and management — were to combine their skills in a mutually beneficial joint venture. There would be no overlap, no wasted energy or resources, and enhanced profits for everyone.
Similarly, and a more powerful key to success, would be joint ventures between Social Media practitioners and other companies that share the same market segment. Traditional advertising agencies, with no Social Media expertise, joining forces with Twitter experts, for example.
With a little creativity, customer-centric joint ventures of all types could be created.
Whatever your product or service, marketplace, or skills — failure to adopt these hidden keys to success would be a real shame. For those of us who care about achieving more than a modicum of success, these hidden keys have the power to unlock unprecedented accomplishment. If we don’t energize around these opportunities we have only ourselves to blame.
Getting in touch with me is very easy
If you or your company are wishing to harness the power of Social Media, or if you feel a joint venture possibility exists, I am very easy to get in touch with and I am eager to help. Simply call the number below. During normal business hours, (8 AM – 5 PM Scottsdale, Arizona time), it is my direct line. Otherwise, just leave a message. If you would prefer to exchange email I would love to here from you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or click the email badge below. I promise I will get back to you within 24 hours.
If you found this post useful, you will love my eGuide — Trajectory: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Business with Twitter