In my new book I explore practical methods for creating a remarkable business. I explore tools and models to help management fulfill the potential of their business. But do we want to fulfill our potential? It’s much easier not to fulfill our potential.

  • If you are one of the 21.3m one man bands, carving out a living for yourself, then building a business is the last thing on your mind. Fulfilling your potential means something different from a CEO with 60 staff. But there are common risks. You both can’t afford your brand, your reputation to die, to be invisible. You both need to be aware of the competitive landscape to survive. Of course it’s easier not to worry about such things.
  • If you are a CEO of a business with 5 staff or more, you are already in the top 8.5% of US firms ranked by staff numbers. Maybe that’s good enough. Why employ more staff with more overheads and more risk. Who needs to be in the top 100,000 firms out of 27m that employs 100 people or more? Because that just might give you a more predictable, less stressful business but then again that would not be easy.
  • It’s easier for the sales manager to turn up for the Monday sales meeting with the same questions. Much more difficult to change the pace of the meeting, hold it on a Tuesday, not hold it at all.
  • It’s easier to write a long 1000 word blog post, that rambles through it’s subject, than a laconic 400 word heartfelt narrative that you experienced personally and really want to share.
  • It’s easier to turn up and present the same old PowerPoint message rather than a heavily prepared, insightful, fully researched inspiring piece that compels action.
  • It’s easier to come to work and put in the hours than to be over curious about how things should work. To ask yourself what is missing from the structures and processes that are supposed to be driving growth.
  • It’s much easier as a marketer to generate sales leads and push the blame for lack of closure on the sales team than to reach out and examine the true performance of those leads with an open mind.
  • It much easier to work inside your department and not step outside your comfort zone than it is to work across departments in a cohesive manner, embracing conflict  to launch that killer product.
  • It’s easier to lose than to win.
  • It was easier for Barnes & Noble to follow the same route as Borders than acquire in March 2009,  Fictionwise (see my post) a leader in the e-book marketplace.
  • It’s easier to continue with the same mix of business than to choose one or more unique markets to dominate.
  • And finally of course it’s tough out there and this down economy is a great excuse if you need one, to take easier routes. Emotionally it is never easy cutting costs but if it’s the only strategy you deploy then I’m sorry as a leader you have taken the easy route again.
  • Below I have listed the top 10 companies from this year’s Inc 500. Not a Facebook among them. Many sectors covered. All finding unique markets to define and dominate. And I’m sure these results were delivered with a ton of hard, tough decisions and risk. Extraordinary growth to inspire all of us.


The full Inc 500/5000 link is here.

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Surprising value of being the best in the world.
Creating The Magic Years.