8 Tips for Success from Entrepreneurial Leader Bill Taylor

As an entrepreneur, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and a bestselling author, Bill Taylor has shaped the global conversation about how business owners can compete. Taylor is an expert on how owners can thrive in today’s competitive market and not only will he be sharing his expertise as a keynote speaker at The NATSO Show, he sat down with Stop Watch to share insights he has gained while researching his latest book, Be the Only: Thriving in a World Where Best Isn’t Good Enough .


ACKNOWLEDGE THE COMPETITION In the current operating environment, business owners face a plethora of competition. “Fundamentally the job today is no longer trying to be the best at what lots of other people do. It is to be the only one who does what you do,” Taylor said. “The real opportunity and the real challenge is to admit to yourself that we’re in a world that is more fiercely competitive than ever and your competitors are more competent than ever.S

SET YOURSELF APART Once operators understand the fact that they are facing increased competition, they should ask them - selves what they offer that their competitors don’t and identify the experiences they’re creating for their customers. Taylor said, “What are the promises you’re making that only you can make?” To identify what they are best at, Taylor suggests business owners ask themselves what their customers would miss if the company were to go out of business tomorrow. “In almost any in - dustry there are so many competitors that if company A goes out of business Company B, C and D would be happy to serve their customers. You have to ask yourself, ‘What are we doing that if we stopped doing it our customers would feel that absence?’ That is the beginning of understanding what are the kernels of distinction that make us different and compelling,” he said. Taylor told Stop Watch, “Ultimately successful companies today are willing to do what other companies can’t or won’t do.”

GO BEYOND CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES Too many business owners allow themselves to believe that if they’ve been successful in the past, maintaining the status quo is risk free, but that isn’t true, Taylor said. “Playing it safe may wind up being the riskiest decision of all. If you’re open to what is going on, you see in industry after industry that new entrants, new experiences and new technologies are changing the logic of business. So we have to assume that simply doing more of the same is not a prescription of more success but instead a formula for eventual failure,” he said. To remain successful, business owners need to create a sense of “positive dissatisfaction with the status quo” so they become comfortable with experimenting. Taylor suggests operators start with small changes. “Over a few years, taking little bets might create a line of sight into how they can create big change in the future,” he said.

 LOOK PAST THE NUMBERS Data and analytics are important, but they don’t always tell business owners the full story. “You can’t let what you know limit what you can imagine,” Taylor said. “We worship at the altar of information, but my sense is what is in short supply today are provocative sets of imagination.”

 BE OPEN TO POSSIBILITIES One of the most important roles within an organization is to reshape what is possible and to look for dramatically new ways to solve an old problem, Taylor said. “Look for services and offerings and experiences customers don’t know they want until you provide them to them,” he explained. A challenge within any business, particularly those that have experienced leaders, is that it can become harder to see new opportunities and recognize important patterns because expertise and knowledge can get in the way of innovation, Taylor said.

COMMUNICATE ACROSS THE GENERATIONS Particularly in family businesses that include multiple generations, it is important that different age groups communicate with each other. “There needs to be conversations where the new, young crowd says to the predecessors, ‘We want to make sure you don’t get too comfortable with the formula of success you’ve had up until now. We’ve grown up with a different technology and with different expectations of customer service,’” Taylor said. “They have to be the force that tries to get the older generation dissatisfied with the status quo and open their mind to a new willingness to experience new opportunities.”


INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY WISELY Technology can be a powerful force in any company, but it is best used when it enriches a company’s capacity for human connection and interaction with their customers, Taylor said. “Don’t look at technology as a way of eliminating the human touch but to provide it,” he explained. Technology, such as self-serve kiosks, can enhance the customer experience because it eliminates the opportunity for error. “Customers who order their own stuff are more accurate,” Taylor said. “The question then becomes, ‘With that staff resource freed up, what does it allow our employees to do to add to the experience to make it more fun, interesting and colorful so now customers are pleased that they got the sandwiches they wanted and the experience is more memorable?’”

 OFFER A PERSONAL TOUCH Taylor said that in a world with increased focus on technology, anything business leaders can do “to infuse their organization with small gestures, little touches, modest symbols or rituals to show customers that we’re treating them not as a data point as a demographic or market segment, but as a real life flesh and blood human being” holds value, adding that for business owners, it is just as important to be kind as it is to be clever. “We cannot loose sight of the human factor in business and you have to look for opportunities to go the extra mile, so do a little something your customers will give you extra credit for,” Taylor said.

via Business Feeds

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