It’s an interesting fact that very few of the world’s most successful businesspeople, set out with money or success as their primary target.
- They aimed to be valuable.
- They aimed to make the world or the marketplace a better place.
- They aimed to make a difference.
However, money or success was not their primary focus.
Here’s how they did it!
Steve Jobs famously said:
“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money”.
If Jobs was focused primarily on the money or success, he’d have been able to cash in when he was in his 20’s — super rich and exceptionally successful.
When Einstein said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”, he showed where his focus was. Again, it was about the value. Einstein carried on working until his death, even though he could have quit decades earlier with his reputation set in history forever.
To understand how the most successful and wealthy business owners achieved their success, we need to look at why most business owners struggle.
In it just for the money
You can usually tell pretty quick, when you encounter someone who is primarily in it for the money. It’s extremely unattractive. And this makes it very hard for them to succeed.
Here are some examples we see all the time, which you will recognise instantly:
- They are the salespeople, whose eyes light up like a wolf when they spot a potential sales victim.
- They are the ill-informed marketing gurus who STILL say the money is in the list, because they haven’t figured out the value is in the community.
- They are the affiliate marketers, who leave spammy links and comments on blogs and Facebook.
- They are the pests, who send us unwanted spam email.
- They are the pushy business owners, who corner us at events. The ones who pretend they want to know about our business, when we know it’s that old, cringe-worthy networking tactic.
- They are the struggling restaurant owners, who use slightly lower quality ingredients and hire slightly lower quality chefs, and end up with a low quality restaurant that no one recommends.
- They are the kind of business owners you thought of, as you were reading those examples.
Clearly, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy or successful. I want you to become both. My point, is that it’s very hard to be wealthy or successful, if they are your primary focus.
Here’s how to succeed without focusing primarily on the money
Consider for a moment the businesses out there, who struggle. They set financial targets and then push average products and average services to average clients who pay them average prices. These business owners then think people just won’t pay higher fees. This is factually 100% incorrect! People won’t pay above average fees for an average, commodity service. They happily pay above average fees and prices for premium, high value products and services.
Now consider the businesses who earn a fortune and succeed. They offer products or services, which are meaningfully different. Their products and services attract the attention of people looking for that special value. They set growth targets, based on a foundation of delivering excellence and delighting their customers or clients. I wrote about this here.
They end up selling valuable products and valuable services to valuable clients, who pay them extremely well.
The way forward for smart business owners
Focus on value. Create products or services that are meaningfully different from the competition. Solve better problems. Create work you are proud of. And delight your customers at every opportunity.
Persistently create value and use marketing to make it visible. People are extremely attracted to value and they pay a premium for it too. Just ask the owner of any high priced Apple product, the owner of a luxury car or the client of any leading service provider.
Get this right my friend, and the money and success will follow.