Guest Post

The Nerve of These Quotes

by Jay Ehret

On September 7, 2005 Apple's most popular iPod was the iPod mini. That's also the day that Apple dropped it's most popular iPod, the iPod Mini. Because September 7, 2005 is the day Apple launched the iPod Nano. That took some nerve. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs spoke that day, you didn't hear him say, "We were also thinking about putting some of this iPod technology in a cell phone, but we got cold feet and decided that what we have is good enough for now."

Here's another quote you'll never hear: "The secret to our growth this past year was our total lack of courage." Or this one: "We were too scared to act, and now we're the market leader."

Come on, you intuitively know it. The future belongs to those with the nerve to take risks. The winning businesses of tomorrow are run by the owners showing courage today. That's why you won't open up Business Week and read, "We just didn't have the nerve to face the potential criticism, and that's how we doubled our customer base."

Successful entrepreneurs are willing to step outside of industry standards and innovate. It's the reason you won't hear the trade-show keynote speaker say "We were so worried about the economy that we slashed our budget and zoomed ahead of our competition."

There's just something unconventional about market leaders; they don't do things the way everyone else does. I scanned Sam Walton's autobiography and couldn't find him saying anything close to "I was too afraid to be different, so we clawed our way to the top by being just like everyone else." Nope, fear is not the roadmap to record-breaking performance.

Instead, the path to success looks something like this:
• Have the courage to take risks.
• Take risks to be innovative.
• Innovate to be unconventional.
• Be unconventional to be successful.

Being a successful business takes courage. So stop making excuses and find your nerve. Don't let anyone ever quote you saying: "We have a lot of doubt about our capability to compete, so we're looking to increase our market share by 10%."

Jay Ehret is founder and chief steward of The Marketing Spot, a small business marketing firm that empowers entrepreneurs to change their status quo through marketing.

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