A snippet from the article entitled 6 Things I Learned from a Notoriously Insane Innovator published in Inc Magazine and written by Stacey Epstein.
The full article details a number of things (6 actually) which Stacy learned from working with Lars Dalgaard. Lars founded and grew SuccessFactors, a cloud-based HR software business which was acquired by SAP for $3.4 Billion in 2011.
I want to draw your attention to this article because the lessons are pretty straightforward for a small business owner to consider and implement and if they helped to grow a business to a value of $3.4 billion, they might be worth looking at.
The headings of the list are copied from the article, but the comments are my interpretation and adaptations.
- Never be satisfied. This is the point which made the whole article stand out for me. The original article notes that Lars devoured information about everything, he would email examples which he found on websites from some completely unrelated company and say “we should do this.” So if somebody who can grow a business to a value of billions takes time to learn and copy from other unrelated companies then perhaps you could as well.
- The status quo is lame. Don’t aim to be the same as everybody else. Aim to make your business uniquely yours, but unique in ways which are of value to your customers. The goal is for your customers to see that doing business with your competitors is at best average, but doing business with you is ‘as it should be.’
- Don’t take no for an answer. New ideas tend to take persistence and as George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Just be strategic where, when and with whom you are unreasonable.
- Talk to customers. Constantly. Profits come from customer satisfaction not the other way around. Find out what how to do better for your customer by talking to your customer.
- Look bigger than you are. I’m not sure that I agree with this, but then again I’m not the billionaire.
- Care for your people. This seems like common sense to me, but the fact that it is one of only six points raised tells me it is worth repeating and keeping at the front of your mind.