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8 Pointers on Becoming the Steve Jobs of Your Business

Picture this: You running down the street chasing that twenty dollar bill you just dropped. Caught in the wind, it’s running hard and fast on the ground — avoiding every attempt you make to stomp it down.

Oh, and guess what? Don’t look now, but there are 99 other entrepreneurs just like you scurrying after your same picture of Andrew Jackson.

Yes — you’ve just seen a vision for what you’re doing as an entrepreneur. You and 99 of your closest friends. All doing, acting and saying the same things. Like 1,000 brown cows in the field — melding into one big brown noisy mess chasing the same straw of grass.

Look, there are a million tech entrepreneurs out there; but only one Steve Jobs. A hundred books have been written on time management, delegation and outsourcing; but only one Tim Ferriss with “The 4 Hour Workweek”. And speaking of cows; the importance of unique value propositions has been written about forever; but here comes Seth Godin with his “Purple Cow” and hits it out of the park.

Do you want to stay a brown cow or do you want to be purple and stand out? What about your business?

Seriously. It’s time to be different. Like Steve Jobs. Be unique. Stand out. And watch your whole world change when you do.

So how do we do this in a crazy world where in reality it’s not just 99 other entrepreneurs pining for the same twenty; it’s more like a thousand?

Reaching out to my good friend Ray Edwards, entrepreneur, speaker and author of “Writing Riches”; we spoke on this matter for 72 minutes with Ray opening up his best wisdom and pouring it on the table.

Ray has had the good fortune to work with stellar clients such as New York Times Best-selling authors Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (creators of Chicken Soup for the Soul), Joel Comm (author of Twitter Power and The Adsense Code), as well as Armand Morin, Alex Mandossian, Jeff Walker, and many others.

You’d be a smart soul to grab these 8 pointers and apply it in your own situation today…

1.) You must be you and not be afraid of it.

There is only one you. Embrace it. Be authentic. Be real. You may not like Tim Ferriss; but he is definitely the real Tim Ferriss. Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs. He decided to be himself and wasn’t afraid of who he was. You need to do the same. And because there is only one “you” — it stands out when you’re true to yourself.

As Ray told me; “People are looking for signals about who they can do business with. And the clearest signals are when they get a sense of knowing who you really are and what you stand for. Howard Stern is very polarizing. You either love him or hate him. There’s no middle ground. But he’s figured out who he is and has no problem telling you without mincing words. So you’ve got to do the same. You’ve got to break through the noise by being who you are and standing for something.”

2.) Being you draws the right customers to your business and keeps away the problem customers.

Separating you and your company from the pack is of utmost importance to rise above the noise. By being yourself; you draw a clear line in the sand. Steve Jobs did this brilliantly at Apple. He established himself and company in the early days as the “anti-Microsoft” by simply being who he was.

As Ray explains; “When you can openly share who you really are; what you discover is the people who are like you will be drawn to you. And the people who are not like you will naturally withdraw. But that’s okay because you’re not selling to everyone. And I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to start using language like “Well, we’re not right for everybody and here’s the kind of people we’re right for…” By doing this one thing; you can remove all the grief from your life that comes with problem customers.”

3.) You and the Power of Synthesis.

MP3 + Internet + Cell Phone

Formula worth billions. Call it the iPhone. Another Steve Jobs original. Oh, but wait. Jobs didn’t invent MP3 music; the Internet or cell service. No; but what he did do is called “synthesis”. It’s the same concept Tim Ferriss used to write about time management and outsourcing.

Ray put it to me this way; “Take all the information and research that exists on something. Synthesize it in a new way that is filtered through your own unique viewpoint and then present it in a way that’s never been presented. And now, you’ve just created something that stands out. Tim Ferriss did this and created a whole new category and is untouchable because no one can be Tim Ferriss except him. And of course Jobs did this with virtually everything he introduced.”

4.) Find your resonant audience by building a bonfire.

What’s going to attract more attention; you lighting a single match and holding your hand over it to protect it from the breeze? Or you dropping that same match onto a pile of pallets stacked 20 feet high drenched in kerosine? Yes — good guess. Jobs was perfect in his first bonfire execution with the now classic 1984 commercial introducing his Macintosh personal computer.

Ray puts it this way; “You want to find the people and the audience that you resonate with. And how do you find these people? Just light a bonfire and they’re drawn to it. Be who you are and shout that message from every rooftop you can get access to. You can build a tribe and they will follow you anywhere as long as you’re being authentic. If they sniff out you’re being fake — it’s over. So be real.”

5.) Even when you scale; you still must keep your personality in the company. It’s your baby.

Yes — this goes against the prevailing wisdom of “crowning the company”. But look at the incredible success of Jobs and Apple. His personality and stamp are still all over that place — even after they scaled to billions in value and tens of thousands of employees.

As Ray stated; “I think removing your personality from your business at any level is a mistake. I don’t think Apple would be the most valuable company on the face of the planet if Jobs had removed himself from being the face of the company. And I think for smaller companies, it’s really important to keep your personality at the front. You will be resisted and people will call you an egomaniac. But you know better because you built the company. You’re the founder and you know what your vision is. My advice? Be more out front with your personality.”

6.) It’s a P2P world.

As my friend Mike Muhney, CEO and co-founder of VIPOrbit says; “Both B2B and B2C are dead. It is now the age of P2P (people to people).” It still freaks me out when I work with an entrepreneur and they talk of their target market being “mid size businesses”. No. You are a human being, and your team members are human beings and your customers are human beings. People to people my friend.

Even Ray agrees on this point; “There are smart, educated people who vehemently disagree with me on this — but people don’t do business with corporations. They do business with other people. I may shop Wal Mart because they have the best price; but the minute somebody else has a better price; Wal Mart is history. But look at Apple fans. They are fanatics about Apple because of the personality Jobs infused into the company and its products.”

7.) Everything becomes automatic because your products and brand is subsequently sold by your customer.

How would you like to have your own unpaid sales team of 10,000 fanatics pitching your wares? Jobs still has millions.

As Ray explains; “Once you find your resonate audience and they’re attracted to your products and services; your advertising and marketing become merely a process. Your audience becomes a loudspeaker and does the marketing for you. Even though Apple spent lots of money marketing the iPhone; what really sold the iPhone was people who had one saying to other people; “You have to get one of these. Look at this.”

8.) Mission + Vision are the only place to start.

What do you think your purpose is? What’s the purpose of your company? And if you say “to make our investors wealthy”; you’d be dead on the wrong track. As mentioned in my Forbes article; “Why No is the Most Powerful Word You Can Use in 2013”, knowing your higher calling mission and having a vision is the only rock from which you can launch your rocket ship.

Ray tells this story; “Your mission is your purpose. Your vision is is how your mission shows up in real life. Steve Jobs clearly knew who he was and what he was here to do. And he had a vision for how he was going to do that and what we see today in Apple is a result. And I have people tell me that this mission and vision stuff won’t work for their business. Somebody once said to me, “Well I run a medical practice. This kind of thing won’t work for me.” Baloney! It works for Dr. Oz.”

Final Takeaway

Yes — you have the power to be the Steve Jobs of your business. So please stop trying to be like all your cronies chasing the same twenty. Determine right now to be different. Be yourself. Stand out. And dare I say watch a section of the world — your own little profitable niche — beat a path right do your front door.

NOTE: If you don’t know me, I’m Eric. Husband, father & life-long entrepreneur

If you’re an entrepreneur, let’s you and I connect right here.

Seriously. Here’s a killer formula:

Your Wisdom + My Wisdom = More Success

(You can also find me hanging out on Google+, Facebook or Twitter @MightyWiseMedia.)

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About the Author: Eric T. Wagner is a husband, father and life-long entrepreneur. After starting multiple businesses, Eric is now focused on helping other entrepreneurs find the path to success in business and life. You can also catch his gig on Forbes or connect with him on Google+.

Comments

  1. Eric, thanks for this post: it’s inspiring!

    Each point is very helpful, but the one that resonated the most with me is the #6. I’m currently working with a company that sells products online.
    Its blog posts don’t make people’s personality shine, and the entire company can’t express its personality. As a result of this, it doesn’t make many sales, even though its products are the best in its niche.

    On the contrary, one of its competitors, sells mediocre products, but because of his personality, he currently sells a lot more than my client – we are now working on the personality of my client’s company to improve its results.

    As you said, we are in a P2P world, and it’s crucial to connect with people.

    Thanks again for this awesome post!

    • Eric T. Wagner says:

      Thanks Mauro. And you’re right — just like you I have watched entrepreneurs go down the tubes with great products and services. They just lacked personality and the ability to communicate effectively. Sad really because it doesn’t have to end that way, right? :-)

      Thank you for sharing… Eric

  2. Hey Eric

    Lately, I’ve been exploring and researching the science (and art) of how to tell great stories. Something I’ve realized is that at the center of great stories, are great characters; and at the center of great characters is authenticity, and a genuine reflection of both the good and bad.

    I think entrepreneurs success is often contingent upon understandings of self. You captured that masterfully in this post.

    Thanks. I look forward to reading more in the future.

  3. Eric, that’s a great metaphor of 99 people chasing the $20. With the rapid way the Internet is changing, it feels to me like someone is printing tons of $20s and throwing them into the air so that the chase becomes frenetic. It’s hard to keep up with all the changes, but what remains consistent is who we are while change happens. People hire people they like and feel good about. Thanks for writing this post. Very inspiring!

    • Eric T. Wagner says:

      Thanks Kristina. Good point on the constant change and why sticking to who we are is important. Nice. And thanks for your kind comments as well. Appreciate it. :-)

  4. Eric, great article and I love your metaphor of the crowd of entrepreneurs chasing the same $20. I agree that our brands need to have our personality all over them and I’ve certainly done this with Staging Diva. Early on I went against the prevailing wisdom in my niche and came out boldly against what were common practices. There was plenty of backlash but I stood my ground. I’m still here 9 years later having helped over 7,000 entrepreneurs in 22 countries.

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