Rule #16b – There are no “Small” successes

Perfect timing:! I looked down at my Feedburner button thingamajig yesterday morning and I have a subscriber. Woo-nelly-hoo. Take that all you blogs with no audience!

Anyway, this coincides with the second half of the “There are no ‘Big’ problems post”, which I have cleverly titled “There are no ‘Small’ successes.”

When starting a new venture, it’s easy to think of the eventual success. It’s easy to dream big and see the big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But just as there are no “Big” problems that didn’t start as small problems, there is no full pot of gold waiting for you. What there IS, however, is an empty pot that you can fill with gold one coin at a time.

Believe it or not, the first “gold coin” you pick up from the very first customer is worth the exact same amount as the last coin you find. It might feel a little better or please you more since it was the “first” customer, but it’s worth exactly the same amount of money as the last dollar you ever earn (not factoring in inflation, of course). The first customer is worth every bit as much as the last. The first piece of good publicity is worth just as much as the last piece of good publicity. That said, the converse is also true: just because you’ve accumulated revenue, customers, good p.r., etc. doesn’t mean that what’s on the horizon is any less important or less valuable then it was the day you got started.

Invariably, a sense of apathy will set in wherein the things that seemed so important and vital at the start no longer carry the same sense of urgency. It happens in most every business in every industry. Being “good enough” within the status quo is a lot easier then trying to be “better” outside of it. Why fight for one more customer when you already have 1,000 customers? Why trim one more process out of the supply line when it’s already pretty efficient? Why shop around for vendors when you’re getting a pretty good deal from one already? Simply being “good enough” has a sneaky way of taking your company and your team from a focused, hungry, and dedicated bunch to a group of people satisfied with the results. I will tell you now: the day you find you are “satisfied” with how things are going at your company is the day they should fire you, even if you own the place, and replace you with someone wh understands that every single instance of success is vital to making your company the best it can be.

Early on, it’s easy to say “that would never happen to me, I’m too focused. My team is too focused!” But you and your team won’t be immune to a dangerous equation: “Time + Money = A General Devaluation of Both”. Google took over the search world by pushing to be better then Yahoo!, Alta Vista, Lycos, etc. They STAY at the top of the search world be keeping that passion alive. Same goes for Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola, and the teenager down the street who started the summer mowing one lawn and now gets paid to mow twenty.

As you build your business and (hopefully) experience some success, try and remember what it was like when absolutely nothing had come from your hard work. Remember when there were no dollars and cents, no customers nor contacts nor clients, and no publicity. Remember back to when it was just you, an idea, and the belief in your soul that, yes, you could do this and along the way you’d be willing to do whatever it took to get the first customer and the first sale. If you can retain just a little of that feeling, I assure you that every “next” customer and “next” sale will feel as important as the first, which is a good thing, because it is.

There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: