Learn how Senator Ted Cruz leveraged his gifts to gain a strategic foothold and how to apply it to running your company.
From watching clips of Ted Cruz’s all night speech, it is clear that Senator Cruz is a committed individual and an incredible speaker. What’s more is that he used his gift as a speaker to pursue a vision that he has. He did it in a way that was very public, drew attention and demonstrated a clear advantage – a glaring point of differentiation between himself and other Senators.
Essentially, he found something that he wanted and found a way to leverage what he was better at than most people to pursue his goal. Which is a great lesson for any of us who are interested in doing anything significant.
What is important, however, that despite not achieving what appeared to be his short term goal, he planted himself in the minds of voters as someone who can get the job done.
As a business owner, knowing what your company’s true strategic advantage is should be the foundation of your company’s strategic planning. Your customers will buy from you because they can align themselves and their needs with what you can deliver. In the service industry, most often, that advantage might be in the form of the people, be it the interaction, their intelligence, ability to speak or persuade or some other aspect. However, it could also be a process, such as a learning model or a “black box” process or something else entirely.
For example, global consulting firm Bain & Company highlights both its people and the hiring practices it uses to capture its people. It appears that it invests heavily in creating an attractive workplace, gives its top-tier recruits extensive training and support and provides its clients with the best of the best in the management consulting industry.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, on the other hand, leverages its commitment to sustainability as an advantage.
Interestingly, Senator Cruz probably realized that most people – not even his closest allies – would watch the entire 24 hour event. If he was trying to reach anyone in particular, they probably did not hear most of his speech, catching highlights on CNN or some other news outlet like many people did.
Nevertheless, he made an impact. It may not be felt immediately, but voters and other politicians see the value and potential in his action and potentially envision how aligning with him and his beliefs could produce the results they are looking for.
Like the Senator, as business leaders, we must understand that despite our best efforts, we may not get immediate or incredible results. Therefore, we must think about how the present actions or investments can or will impact the future of the company. We must help potential customers understand how we can help them achieve their goals. You probably know that probably 4% of the people or businesses that you are touch are looking for what you are selling right now; you want to be the firm the other 96% chooses when they are ready to purchase.
Lastly, despite knowing that the immediate results might be dismal, despite speaking to what probably amounted to a handful of people, he did not let fear or frustration keep him from starting and following through to completion.
Fear often grips business owners, keeping them from making the investments that could potentially create opportunities. If you recall the recent post “What Ails You?” about the two gentleman in the ice cream business – one went on to start Mr. Green Tea, the other to start Häagen-Dazs; fear may have been the reason that the first one missed out on what became an an incredible opportunity.
If there is a bird in the hand and two in the bush, don’t be afraid to pursue the two in the bush.
If your goal is to build a company that is extraordinary – one that stands out in the marketplace and continually leverages its strategic advantages to gain market share and pursue market leadership, you won’t do it passing out business cards and having coffee. You have to get out there and show what you do. Publicly. So when people are ready to buy, they buy from you.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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