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Feb 10, 2021

Sometimes, we as entrepreneurs and CEOs implement “normal” or traditional strategies that we learned in our business schools. These may be the strategies that are supposed to work or the strategies that many other companies are using, yet we don’t see the results we were expecting. In this episode, we’re going to talk about one of the most common reasons this happens, and we’ll discuss a more effective way to accomplish what matters most.

Doing Things The Same Way as Everyone Else

Years ago I began working with a company that had a very talented, successful, and intelligent executive. This executive (who was not the CEO) had graduated from a great business school where he had been taught strategies and models that have been widely used to run many successful businesses in the past. 

The problem was, these were the same strategies and models that were being implemented by a huge number of businesses around the world. If most business leaders are following the same business strategies and models, then the business with the best resources is often going to win. This could spell disaster for the entrepreneur starting out with fewer resources and brand recognition than the larger companies. 

This is one of the reasons why close to half of all small businesses fail within the first five years and only 1 in 3 stay in business for 10 years (Source: Forbes). They simply don’t have the resources to compete head-on with the larger, more established companies.

Finding a More Effective Way

When I started working with this company, they gave me a very ambitious goal. To achieve this goal we decided to go into a niche that had two Fortune 100 competitors already dominating it. These companies were well-established in this space and had far more resources than we could ever have. I knew we could not compete with these companies head-on with the “normal” or traditional strategies they were already using. Instead, we needed to do something different and compete in a smarter way. 

So, we asked ourselves: “What is the most important thing we need to do?” Once we figured out the answer to that question, we went on to ask ourselves: “What is the most effective way to get that done?” 

Why can’t you just do anything the normal way?

The strategy I created based on the answers to these two questions was new and very different from what this executive had been taught at his business school. Over time, my strategy of doing things in a non-traditional way very understandably started to be a little frustrating for this executive. I completely understand where this successful executive was coming from, and I may have felt the same way if I had been in his shoes. He was taught strategies from professors much smarter than I am. 

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