6 Fail-Proof Ways to Give Yourself the Leverage to Succeed

by Peter Voogd, Startup Collective, Time

Work on your greater vision and you’ll find a way to succeed

By applying the power of leverage to business, you can (with less effort) accomplish a lot more. Without it, you increase your risk of burnout and frustration, and limit your rewards.

Put simply, leverage is all about multiplying gains and making money work for you. In this challenging new economy you need every advantage you can get, especially in entrepreneurship and business. Gaining the competitive advantage isn’t easy. Chaos is almost guaranteed, but the upside outweighs the tough times. Here are six fail-proof ways to give yourself the ultimate leverage.

Position Rather Than Prospect

Everybody is looking for prospects, clients and customers. This never-ending search process will eventually burn you out, and is tough to scale on a consistent basis. An easier way to approach your business is to position yourself as the leading authority — the expert, specialist or the trusted advisor — on your subject. This takes very strategic and intentional action, but the rewards are exponential.

When you’re perceived as the expert, people will start coming to you. Be more elite and exclusive. Define what makes your business different. Once you figure out what makes you unique, get more attention. Start leveraging your experience through other peoples proven platforms. Whom could you connect with that already has influence and impact within your target market? Some examples include publications, podcasts, features, magazines, speaking events and sponsorship opportunities. You will expand your reach a lot faster.

Know That Plans Fail, But Movements Don’t

Reposition your business and make it about something. Think about Disney; it’s not about movies or about amusement parks or about cruises — it’s about being part of a brand where dreams come true. Or think about how Subway went from being a fast-food chain to a weight-loss program. Most companies, whether startups or billion-dollar corporations, don’t have compelling stories or visions behind them. The entrepreneurs on a mission bigger than themselves are always attract top-tier talent. Life becomes much more fulfilling when you’re involved in a movement or a cause greater than yourself.

Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and you certainly don’t need to figure everything out yourself. Find something that is already working and make it better, or find your niche and do what the best are already doing. In an interview I did with Gary Vaynerchuk, he said, “A penguin cannot become a giraffe. So just be the best penguin you can be.”

A smart person learns from their mistakes. Those wanting world-class results learn from other peoples’ mistakes so they can shorten their learning curve. Nothing will make a bigger impact on your future than the people you associate with on a daily basis.

Become a People Developer

As a young entrepreneur, I had to realize I couldn’t do it all by myself. You not only need a solid team around you, but you need to know how to develop and lead that team. When you watch sports, you’ll find the most successful teams are the ones that play very well together. They complement each other, and they all have one single focus: winning.

The same goes for business and life. The people you have in your inner circle are your team. Who needs to be on that team to make sure it’s a “dream team?”

Create Raving Fans and Advocates

Business is the management of promises, and if you can consistently deliver and exceed the promises you make to all your customers, you’re ahead of the game. It’s much more expensive to get a new customer than it is to take care of the ones you already have. The purpose of business is to create raving fans and advocates who will go out of their way to promote what you do — not because you asked them, but because they want to. Every person in your organization should be responsible for outstanding client support and service, from the reception to the mail room to the CEO. You must create a culture where people are passionate about meeting clients’ needs.

Work on the Business, Not Just in the Business

One hour every week, work on your business as opposed to in your business. Most people get so caught up in the day-to-day grind of making everything work properly that they forget about working on the vision. So once a week, every week, work on your strategy for the year and where you want to be a year from now. Plan your long-term strategies before you plan your tactics: where you plan on going, who you want to be, and what types of clients you want to attract.

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