Opinion

The secrets to rising and remaining at 'the top'

5 min read

31 October 2019

Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk all have a truly innovative approach to business. Successful SME owners need to do the same to remain 'on top' in their sectors.

For aspiring entrepreneurs commencing their own business journey, achieving a similar level of success would seem almost impossible. But this, however, is where true innovation starts: In the mind.

So, what personality traits make one person stand out from the rest? And how can we, as business leaders, give ourselves that same cutting edge that ensures we perform at the highest level?

Have a vision for change

Vision and values

You have risen to the top, but do you have the vision to remain there?

How many times do you hear the elevator pitch from an individual business owner and feel completely uninspired by their references to why they are ‘different’? I am assuming the numerical response to this question is high because, in the majority of cases, there is no authentic point of difference.

How to claim ‘true’ innovation

Better customer service, a unique operational process or a particularly talented team does not provide enough kudos for an organisation to claim true innovation, but rather showcases that they can perform at a higher level to their closest competitor.

The Business Leaders or the ‘greats’ who have succeeded with their innovations would have experienced the same challenges, hurdles and hardships as every other entrepreneur.

Disruptive business leaders, however, have a true and unwavering vision for change. A vision that has the capability to completely redefine a product or service offering and dominate their market sector. This is true difference.

Have relentless persistence

As Henry Ford famously said, ‘Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently’ The difference between the business leaders who rise and stay at the top is relentless persistence.

Look to the ‘greats’

Where Henry Ford used failure as a means to learn and fine-tune his innovation before finally launching the first Ford T-Model, Walt Disney was fired from multiple jobs due to his lack of imagination before winning 22 Academy Awards and establishing the first Disneyland in California in the 1950s.

The Business Leaders or the ‘greats’ who have succeeded with their innovations would have experienced the same challenges, hurdles and hardships as every other entrepreneur.

The key difference is that they simply would have maintained relentless persistence – knowing and believing that their business idea would succeed, regardless of any failures and defeats experienced along the way.

Break conventional rules

The businesses and brands that stand out within any given industry, will have broken conventional rules from the outset. As their market operates in one way, they will operate in another, leading and redefining the industry sector in their wake.

To rise and stay at the top within any industry sector requires an enviable vision for change, underpinned by relentless persistence and a genuine lack of complacency to drive consistent innovation.

However, breaking free of convention doesn’t just mean introducing an alternative approach. It means constant innovation, where only the business leaders who consistently re-evaluate their proposition and always seek to improve their product or service, will be the ones who continue to disrupt and perform at the highest level.

Retain the vision for change

Ultimately, to rise and stay at the top within any industry sector requires an enviable vision for change, underpinned by relentless persistence and a genuine lack of complacency to drive consistent innovation.

But most of all, it takes courage – an admirable level of bravery and unwavering belief that you will make it, no matter how many times you fail and no matter how long it takes.

For these entrepreneurs, business is a journey. They know they will reach their end goal, despite the number of detours experienced along the way.