In business, everyone hopes that their next brilliant concept is the one that puts them on the map — and maybe even redefines their industry. Unfortunately most people don't know what to do to advance their dreams. It's what you actually do with those dreams that separates success from failure, along with your mental approach to the challenge.
A well thought-out game plan is essential for success, but none of it means anything if you don't have a mindset to match. In truth, it is the single most important thing to remember as you move forward. Everything starts – or can stop dead – with your attitude.
A positive mindset is your most valuable weapon in your quest for success. You will face adversity along the way, but understand that you have to believe in yourself or no one else will. Being positive is contagious. Potential partners and customers can smell a winner just as much as they can detect apprehension. Moreover, adversity can actually bring new opportunities to you, even as it scares away your competition.
It's not easy to face one's fears, especially when the stakes are high. But many people will stop short of their goal because they lack the determination and courage to keep going. Take advantage of whatever situation you're in to push the envelope. Make it your highest priority to understand and embrace the knowledge that there is always a way and that nothing will ever stop you. Change your mindset and you can change your life.
Steps to success
The first thing you have to remember is that competition is fierce. It's a tough world out there, so ask yourself how you can differentiate yourself in the market. Don't assume your idea is unique (even if it is) and that this quality alone will lead you to the promised land. It won't.
Whether it's a consumer or industrial product, identify exactly who you are going after and do everything possible to understand who they are. This includes all the demographics about them and what makes them tick. You can't sell to your potential customers if you don't know exactly how they think and what they want.
I'm in the fitness and health business, and my challenge has always been to find products I personally believe in that will benefit my customers. Moreover, what can I give them that is better than what my competitors are offering?
One of my big sellers is the Micropedic Pillow. I originally saw a version of it in the office of the company that owned it. I was having neck issues at the time, so I took the pillow back to my hotel and slept on it. Although it wasn't selling well for them, I really liked the support it gave my neck. However, it was too small, so I offered some suggestions along with the proposition that the company allow me to change the product itself, redesign the marketing and sell it under my name.
Once they took me up on my offer, I worked to develop the sales points the consumer would relate to and understand. I made the pillow my own and turned it into a huge hit. Since then, I've sold millions of these pillows and built a brand. It wound up being a win-win for everyone!
I'm constantly on the look-out for these kinds of opportunities with potential partners. I regularly take meetings with manufacturers and other companies to discuss possibilities. Sometimes it leads to a deal, other times not, but keeping these lines of communication open is important and can be very beneficial for future opportunities.
It's important to be hands-on with your research. I'm not big on hiring consultants to do this job for me. After all, only you will have your own vision for success. No one else will know your dream like you or care as much. So you have to take the time to put it together, armed with your own hard-earned knowledge. In this way, you can directly compare your efforts with what your competitors have done – and then make yourself different and better.
When you're selling, keep your approach simple – it's got to be innovative, while simple to understand. Don't get caught up in anything overly complex or technical. Doing so can really bog down your efforts and spell instant doom. Instead, be clear and straightforward in your approach; something along the lines of, "I believe in this product because it does (fill in the blank). Nothing else has ever done this as well before." Think of it as making a statement to your customer and apply this messaging to your entire outreach process.
Of course, it's not just about marketing, but the actual product itself. It is extremely important that your product truly delivers on your claims. Merely claiming it's better than the completion won't get you very far. Showing what it can really do is always better!
Most people who fail in their dreams don't realize how close they were to achieving it or understand what went wrong. Take control of your destiny so you can realize your vision. Dare to be successful with a carefully mapped-out strategy combined with a can-do attitude. The only thing stopping you from success is you!
About the author: Tony Little has been a television and fitness icon for more than 20 years. Inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2006, the man known as “America’s Personal Trainer” has appeared on national television shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show and Nightline. Little's exercise videos have earned him 14 Platinum Video Awards and nine Gold Video Awards. Like Tony on Facebook and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Edited for clarity and brevity by Nicole Taylor. Have a great entrepreneurial story to tell? Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.