elitefts™ Sunday Edition

1. Be different.

I am putting this one first on the list because it seems to be one that everybody agrees with but few really follow. As you read this, I am sure with 100% confidence that this is not the first time you have read this. I can name dozens of people in the strength industry who claim state to this same suggestion, yet when you look at they're marketing and positioning, it is exactly the same thing we have seen dozens of times before. While there is something to be said with following the lead of others who have come before us, this is not the same as using the exact same form, style, and technique. You need to follow what they followed- not do what they did (or are doing).

There are many ways you can "be different" and separate yourself from the rest of the pack, and since these are very easy to research, I will leave you with a couple to think about. First is to be yourself. It is very hard for someone else to be you. We are all created unique and have different experiences and perspectives.  If you embrace this and tie it into your work, there is no doubt it will be unique, stand out, and be different. With this in mind, you want to make sure you are the same across all mediums. Meaning, you are what you think, act, and do. There are many people who think they are one thing, act like something else, and do another thing altogether. It is important to bring all these together. This is what will provide you with character and integrity.

One more thing to think about that relates to the first: As noted, we are all created unique but also have different experiences. To become better in business, you need to increase your experience and education. Get outside of your comfort zone. If all your know is training, take some time to study a subject completely non-related. If all your time is spent in the gym, work, and home, find time to go places you would never usually go and do things you have never done. This will provide you with a broader perspective, as well as allow you to see your own business, products, and clients in a different way. Many of the best business ideas I have ever had came to me while reading, watching, and doing things that had absolutely nothing to do with elitefts.com or training.

 2. Persistence.

This is the key to winning against those who are bigger and more experienced than you. The longer you can stay in the game, the more you will learn and the better you will get. In any endeavor there will be those who will rise to the top faster than others. This can be due to better timing, marketing, relationships, people, luck, etc. Many of these companies (or people) catch a great wave and just ride it out as big and as long as they can. The smarter ones realize what is happening and take advantage of the situation and become better as the company grows. However, most just ride the wave and when adversity hits, they get crushed. Before they know it, they are a sinking ship of debt. Those who can grow and become better at the speed of the business are the ones who will prosper.

On the other side of this are those companies like the majority of us have founded, own, run, or work for. These companies are not growing at a staggering rate, and they face major adversity several times a year. In many cases, this adversity has us all asking if it is even worth it? Why do we do this? How will we get through this one? Or simply just just make us wonder, why? The risk and uncertainly isn't easy for anyone, but we all have it. If you want to succeed, you have to understand that this is part of the process. It comes with the territory, and it is VERY necessary if you want to grow and get better. It is when these problems occur that you can truly see your weaknesses and opportunities. If you have enough persistence to ride out the adversities and learn how to use them to become better, you will be the one standing in the end. You may not be the business that doubles sales year-in and year-out, you also many not be the one that grows by double digits every year, BUT you WILL be the one that is still operating. This alone is a huge accomplishment in today's economic world and should be the #1 goal of all business. While it may seem like a pesimitic rule, the #1 goal should be to keep the doors open. I do believe in planning big, having powerful objectives, and long range forecasts, but none of these matter if you can't keep the door open and power on.

To me, being persistent means many things, with one of the most important being a very strong desire to not quit and the financial fundamentals and disciple to do what you need to do to keep the business operating.

3. Know the details before you start.

Let's just say this is a lesson that is usually learned the hard way. While researching this column, I found a story from Warren Buffett that nails this point perfectly. When he was a kid, him and a friend were hired by his grandfather to dig out the family store after a snow storm. After spending all day shoveling snow, they were paid less than 45 cents for all the work they had done. They failed to get ALL the details before starting the job.

While this is a very simple example, it does illustrate a very valid point. Many times when you establish relationships with clients, suppliers, employees, etc., too many things are assumed. These assumptions need to be address before the deal begins. I could spend hours naming examples of some of these, but I will say they can range anywhere from the exact time an employee is supposed to be to work, to the small print you find on the back of a contract that most people will never read. If you do not take the time to know the details, it can and will BLOW up in your face. If you don't believe me, ask ANYONE who has been in business for 10 years or more, and you will hear hours of stories that deal with this very simple point. MANY businesses have been lost to this one very simple aspect. If you can't nail down the details before you start, then it's time to reassess if it is really something in which you want to get involved.

There are many other points that can be made, but these are the first three that came to my head. They are also the three most popular I see when speaking to other people about their business, and the top three that come up in discussion when I am speaking with others about the aspects they feel are the most important to a business's success.