Widget X

So you have a promising startup.  Do you have a million ideas that you could startup? Do you find yourself trying to start new businesses all of the time?  Are you always coming up with your next million-dollar idea?

Here’s an idea.  Stop.

Stop and think about what your impact is going to be.  Is your legacy to start a lot of businesses or is it more meaningful than that?  Sure you can be good at a few things, but you can’t be great at a few things.  You can be great at one thing.  Dedicate your life to your cause, which is your company.   Go all in.  Get intimately fanatic about what you do and let your passion guide the way.  Passion breeds innovation.  Put in your 10,000 hours and when those are done put in 10,000 more.  Make sure that you are not only a pro at the complex things, but make sure that you are a genius at the basic things.  This is the hardest thing; being brilliant at the simple things.  It’s just not easy.  A lot of people overlook the simple and focus on the big shiny objects (distractions), but have a company that constantly spins its wheels and leaking profit destined to never reach its full potential.

Know this: 99% of what your customers see are the simple things.  They don’t care about the complexities because that isn’t their job to worry about that.  It’s your job to worry about it so you can give the customer the finished product worry free.

So what kind of businessperson do you want to be?  Do you want to be the one that has a lot of good ideas – is a master of none – or do you want to be the one that is the master of the craft and paves the way for everyone else?

Here’s a thought experiment:
Think about two companies that produce the same service/product widget X.  One has been doing it for a while and has many widgets it produces.  It does well at making those widgets.  The other company just makes widget X.  It has been doing it since it started.  It is obsessed with its widget X and it constantly is looking for a better way to make widget X.  Yes, when the opportunity to make a widget Y or Z came along it could have put energy toward those pursuits, but it didn’t.  Instead it decided to make one awesome version of widget X and the customers it has aren’t just loyal, they are freakishly mad about this widget X.

Who do you want to do business with?  Who do you want to be?  If you don’t share with the world your greatness, then you are only shortchanging yourself and your unrealized fan base.

Don’t settle for mediocrity.  Leave that up to the 99.999% of other corporations to be great at.   Get obsessed, get fanatic about the simple things, exude your passion and pour it all back into your craft and release your widget X.

Rick Krenmayer, Chairman, CEO, Stasmayer, Incorporated