“Nobody knows enough to be a pessimist.”
The quote is appropriate as we finish a challenging 2020, and plan for an uncertain future in 2021.
How did you 2020 finish? What are your plans for 2021?
Is your business ruled by fear or purpose?
Preparing for my customer’s annual meeting last Thursday and Friday, I came across material and slides Verne Harnish shared on Steve Jobs and Apple.
Jobs had enormous success, and challenges times as well. Steve Jobs understood the value of Purpose.
Jobs sense of purpose came from the technology he developed and innovated: computers.
Purpose is the bicycle for the mind
In several YouTube videos Jobs shares a story from a Scientific America article how human beings when compared with other species on the planet in efficiency of locomotion are about 1/3 from the top. The Condor is the most efficient. Jobs points out how someone at Scientific America had the wisdom to compare a bicycle to these other species, discovering the bike blew away everyone.
Jobs felt the computer had this same ability to help humans perform better. It was his purpose to help humans reach more of their potential by introducing and developing the computer.
Just as important Jobs believed having a purpose was critical to any business success.
Steve Jobs: “I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.... Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about; otherwise, you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through.”
Back in 1980, Jobs said, “…[T]he computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”
As Jobs saw it, “Purpose is the bicycle for the mind.”
25 Years to Achieve Over Night Success
Our biggest challenge can be looking at others and wishing it would come as easy for us.
Reality is much different. Truth is without adversity, without difficulties, no one would achieve success. Those who achieve success quickly can’t sustain it.
Two Examples: Apple hit the 25-mark in 200. That‘s when the company really started to scale. (132,000 in 2018. 137,000 in 2019.)
Similarly, Starbucks—founded as a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971—grew from 16,000 employees at its 25-year mark in 1996 to 254,000 in 2015—and 277,000 as of Oct. 2017. (346,000 employees at Starbucks 2019)
A new study by researchers at MIT and other institutions found the average founder of the fastest growing tech startups was about 45-years-old - and 50-year-old entrepreneurs were about twice as likely to have a runaway business success as their 30-year-old counterparts. Picasso painted six of his top 10 paintings after age 50 and four at age 51.
Articles like HBR’s Research: The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45, and MIT’s Management Sloan School The 20-year-old entrepreneur is a lie, Inc.’s A Study of 2.7 Million Startups Found the Ideal Age to Start a Business (and It's Much Older Than You Think), debunk the idea you have to be young to be successful. Indeed, they refute it.
PURPOSE – What are you deeply passionate about?
If you and your business struggled through 2020, if you felt like giving up, then perhaps you need to consider reviewing your purpose. My customer I met with on Thursday and Friday, lost their largest customer in 2020, not due to COVID, but due to a change in their store design concept. Their customers, larger retail, suffered significantly. Yet through all this they managed to elevate their game with a new service and find the means to generate new revenue which while not replacing all their lost customer’s contribution displaced much of it. They’re poised to grow 20% in 2021. They succeeded due to the spirited, determined, passionate, and purposeful energy of their leader.
Purpose, what are you deeply passionate about, is one of the three components to your Hedgehog Concept. Discovering your Hedgehog Concept, from Jim Collins’ Good to Great, is the inflection point in the Great companies where they began their climb to greatness.
If you’ve been struggling to achieve this year, if you’ve expired the energy you felt you had to make your business successful, perhaps it’s time to review, renew and re-discover you and your company’s purpose.
Is your business ruled by fear or purpose?
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Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.
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NEXT BLOG – Annual Planning - Start, Stop, Keep
We’ll continue to focus on what you should be doing for Annual planning. Have you completed a Start, Stop, Keep survey with your employees? Your employees frequently have the best insights on what your customers want, and how you can improve. Start, Stop, Keep an Annual Planning fundamental tool next blog.