Almost every time we talk about the principles of business strategy, - the five forces framework or the principles of competitive advantage — I get the same question. “These ideas are more than 50 years old,” business starters often ask. “Isn’t there anything more recent?”
Unfortunately, this question demonstrates a lack of understanding of the nature of knowledge. It the same as saying to a maths professor who is explaining the principles of calculus, “These ideas are more than 100 years old. What are the new ideas?”
It took decades to figure out the basic principles of business strategy, and now that we have figured them out, we should not be valuing them any less because they have been clear to us for 50 years or more.
I know that you have read over 1000 books on business strategy, perhaps you are even a professor of business administration. There is absolutely nothing noble in the principles am going to share with you, what should be noble is the heart at which you are reading it with. Sit back, relax and enjoy
The basic principles are:
Aside for business purposes, you need to have enough information on whatever you do in life. Research in this sense is not to buy a million and one books on what you want to do. I am talking about you taking your time to ask questions. Visit places, compare and contrast, read books not library. Be sure you have enough knowledge. They say experience is the best teacher, don’t start and fail in the name of having experience, why do that when you could learn from those whom experience has taught? More people on the other hand feels too ‘big’ to be taught not knowing that age is a student in the school of taught. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you need to be ready to learn. Never get tired of learning. You could stumble on even greater ideas. Just recently, we gave some young entrepreneurs funds to start up their projects, in the cause of releasing the grants to them, I noticed the only female amongst them was exceptional, of course she had great business skills and the presentations that got her a chance for the grant was spectacular but and a very BIG BUT, she was not ready to learn. After releasing the grant to her, we called to check how her project was fairing and she did not disappoint me. She said she was in the process of registering her project. Hun? How should registering a business name be a stumble block to a canteen project? She gave other excuses but they were not enough to stop her from kick starting her canteen project. We again counseled her and she immediately jumped back to work. We could have helped her register her enterprise at a shorter period of time or give her better ways to go about it instead of waiting for weeks. Ladies and gentlemen, someone close to you has answer to the challenges you are facing, if at all you do not want to talk to anybody, google is always there to answer your questions. God is always there to solve it.
Start small, Think big
There is no crime in thinking big. In fact, the height of your dreams is depended on the height of your mind. So dream and dream on. Think big, don’t settle for less, you’ve not acquired that knowledge and faced those challenges to settle for anything small. The world isn’t big enough for you to display how much you’ve got in you. You might even need to talk to God maybe he could allow you offer heaven some of your skills.
While thinking big, you need to remember that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step. If you didn’t become who you are in one day, why then do you think that you can achieve all in one day? You must follow the law of process. One step at a time. Nothing good comes easy; the good things aren’t that difficult after all. All it takes is a process, you cannot cheat the law of process, no matter how hard a 2 year old child prays, he cannot become a father. He needs to allow nature manifest itself on him. Draft a plan for that project in order of priority. Achieve them one after the other. Don’t hope to swim in an ocean when you have not conquered a pool. Any attempt to do this would be embarking on a suicide mission. I’ve seen people looking for money to pay for the advert of a product their friends and family members are not using. They’ve not even marketed it to their churches. I will elaborate more on this issue in subsequent editions where I will highlight the many boundaries you can cross without money.
Create a Niche
There is nothing you want to do or about to achieve that has not been done before, the difference is the way you are going to achieve it. You need to create a niche for your business, what I may also call the creative advantage. This is another reason why you need to make enough research before you start any project. In the research process, you will discover those who are already doing it and see what they ought to be doing. You can then now build on the things they are not doing right and make it your unique selling point. Mind you, you also need to be sure to know why they are not doing what you are about to capitalize on. However, no matter how big or how long the company has been in existence, I believe that you can give them a run for their money. I believe that no company or person is too big to be outshined. Nobody believed there could be a social media that would send yahoo messenger packing until we had Facebook. I personally did not believe that there could be any mobile messenger that will compete with blackberry’s until whatsapp came. Mind you, the founder of whatsapp, Jan Koum was seeking employment in facebook some years back but was rejected. He went back to develop whatsapp. He later sold the application to facebook for $19 billion. Whatsapp as an application forced blackberry to make their messenger accessible on other operating systems. What is that dream you have, create a niche and people will be forced to follow you. When you create a niche for your business, marketing becomes easier. You may have an idea for what everyone is already doing but don’t do it the same way everyone is doing it.
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. How many times a day do you think about something you need to be doing for a long-term goal, or perhaps a new year’s resolution? Several times, I assume. However, acting towards it might have been – put off for another day? “Umm—now’s not the time, maybe in a while” “I’m overworked today, maybe tomorrow”. “I could get on with this the next month when my exams are over” or worse: “I won’t be able to do this at all, because it’s a waste of my time.”
Excuses, Excuses and more Excuses! The problem here is not “the time” or that other task on the list. The problem is simply one thing: Lack of Focus.
Here are tips on how you can stay focused on your goal and keep yourself from making excuses at neglecting, procrastinating, and eventually failing at achieving your goals.
Focus on One (Or Two Major Goals): Part of the reason why we fail at achieving one single goal is because we are trying too hard to juggle and achieve too many all at once. You don’t want to “drop the ball” just because you tried too hard to throw too many in the air and keep them up. Until you have fully achieved and completed one or two major goals, you shouldn’t move on to the next.
Log Your Progress You can update your current progress to allow yourself to visualize how far you are getting on with it. A daily log of tasks related to your most important goal will allow you track your progress and map out your slowing or growing rate of enthusiasm.
People also create vision boards for daily inspiration. You can create a collage using pictures, articles, text, or anything useful that you can stick to, related to your goal.
Follow a plan: Have you planned out how, when, and where you will achieve your goal? Plan out what you will be doing (and how) each day, each week, or each month to move towards your goal. Set an attainable time limit to make it realistic and achievable. Put it on paper and regularly check how well you are doing according to your set plan.
Ask Yourself Why You Are Pursuing the Goal: You must have a strong reason to pursue the goal, and if you don’t give yourself one, you won’t be able to feel motivated to achieve that goal! Knowing exactly why you want to achieve that goal and constantly reminding yourself of the reason(s) is an essential part of remaining focused.
Learn to Say No: One of the biggest problems faced while trying to achieve a goal is not being able to say “no” to distractions. Do you keep putting off your goal for something else that just came up out of nowhere? Sometimes, a simple text message, call, notification, or knock-knock does the job of putting your goal on hold for the rest of the day. Learn to say no to any and every distraction!