E-commerce is a jungle, pure and simple. The idea of guiding yourself through this ginormous maze with competition trying to put you out of business at each step forward is near impossible. The lions who occupy the online marketplace have years of marked territory and will bite to kill without hesitation at the very first scent you give off. It sounds discouraging but it’s in fact a vital piece of knowledge for your survival.
On the outside the jungle looks pretty. You may notice many success stories and outwardly polished manuals on how to succeed, yet inwardly, as you pan closer to the roots of the pretty looking flowers, you’ll find that they are older, dirty, and had to survive a long time before it was able to present itself in the way you understand it now. The very first step to finding success is commitment. Once you enter the jungle, there should be no going back. There will be excuses, and reasons to want to cave in, but you’ll never reach the end if you quit. Being committed means staying focused. In other words, never be lazy! Understand that this business requires you to operate will full strength without ever getting tired. The moment you feel lazy, is the moment all of the hard work you may have given before will mean nothing now that a competitor picked up on the “lazy scent” you’ve been trailing for a while.
Remember the lions are out to get you, but also remember that people lose focus and give up everyday. Which means you have equal opportunity as everyone else. It’s those who grab ahold of these advantages who eventually survive the jungle experience and become the dominant dog in their industry. For every big brand name you’ve heard of, there are most likely hundreds or thousands of unknown brands trying to become the next big thing. Some succeed, but most don’t. The difference lies in a number of important details.
One being leadership. Business owners who hire people to lead the team or lead themselves, are a major contributing factor to the company’s success. If employees do not receive direction and guidance from the person who had the original vision for the company, the company will fail. If the employees do not believe in the cause of the company or are not excited everyday to go in to work and make a difference, the company isn’t performing at optimal requirements, and will ultimately fail. Two being the research and the blueprint necessary to execute and dominate. Without proper data and strategies, along with the means to execute these plans, the company has no chance of ever growing to become something greater. Three, being the wisdom to understand what the company needs. Each company was created to serve a purpose, and each company requires something different to be able to fulfill its purpose. Knowing the key differences in the company’s strengths and weaknesses will be a major advantage or disadvantage to whoever is sailing the ship. In some cases, businesses fail to realize or acknowledge their weaknesses, whether that may be out of pride, or simply because they gambled more money and energy that they could afford, and this is all they have. They believe too much in a lost cause, and it holds them in a state of equilibrium with no potential for positive change.
In business you must be mentally, physically, and financially prepared. The jungle is dangerous and does not play nice for the new guy. The only constant in the world of business is change. Just like Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said. ”Change is the only constant in life.” and as true as that is for life, it is for business, and the only wise move you could make is adjust and change with the wind, and like they say in sports, you win some, you lose some. It’s just the way of things.
Now the difference between successful and unsuccessful people is the ability to pivot in times of change, sense and leverage early trends, and being able to pick yourself and the weight of a company up when things go awry. The things you could do now as a new or even a well known established company is to constantly self-improve. Riding off bad habits, and replacing them with healthy activities that contribute to positive train of thought, and actions. Provide value and train those below you, in business and in life, because one day you won’t be around, and your company will need to survive during hard times without you. The best of the best are always mentored. This was true for Steve Jobs who mentored Mark Zuckerberg, (now two of the biggest companies in the entire world) Steven Spielberg who mentored J.J. Abrams, Benjamin Graham who mentored Warren Buffett, and even Pope Benedict XVI considers Pope John Paul II to be his mentor. Good fathers act as mentors to their children. Many fathers consider this a big reason why they became fathers at all; to mentor and teach their children their ways and to have a piece of them live on. Now this may not be the case for everyone, each of us have our own unique set of reasons, however, the rules are still the same. Those who learn from others with experience are going to shorten the learning curve and receive knowledge that isn’t public information. Companies who are looking to grow or are seeking advice that could provide momentum, are the ones who will grow, because they are taking steps through the jungle. Some steps may be harder than others, and some may challenge you to give up, but do not give up! The jungle is not forever. It’s a sort of qualifying process similar to what Navy SEALs go through before they earn their title of a SEAL. The training is intense, it’s demanding, exhausting, and it’s meant to break you. Your mental and physical abilities are pushed until the point of giving up, and most actually do. It takes a special type of person to finish the process. But in the end it’s worth it. In the end everything comes together and makes sense. In business it’s the same. You’ll be pushed to your limits, you’ll be challenged by your environment and by the people around you. Mostly by the ones closest to you, yet in the end it will all be worth it as long as you are dedicated, make the right decisions, and don’t give up on your journey through the jungle.