Building an extraordinary business starts with the drive to make things better.
As business owners, we're here to make a living, but we're also here to make a difference and do meaningful work that fulfils us and gives us a sense of purpose.
Whether it's navigating that latest challenge or landing that next big customer, there's always something to strive for.
Never losing sight of the change you want to make is what sets the extraordinary businesses apart from the ordinary ones.
Here are 6 important lessons to inspire your next big step.
'Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.' – Bill Gates, Cofounder of Microsoft
As the driving force behind tech giant Microsoft, Bill Gates has a story or two to tell about success, entrepreneurship, and customer satisfaction.
Microsoft's growing success is rooted in a deep understanding of what customers really want– and what makes them happy. And the only way to create happy customers is to learn from real-life examples of when a customer experience goes wrong.
Even the world's most successful companies can't keep all of their customers happy all of the time. But they can learn from their most unhappy customers and use that feedback to make their offering even better.
Bill Gates reminds us that having unhappy customers doesn't have to be a sign of failure– in fact, it can be an opportunity to learn what areas of your business aren't currently working and a chance to improve them with real, honest feedback. If we take the time to listen to unsatisfied customers and give them what they want, we can make our businesses better, turn a bad experience into a good one, and create happier, more loyal customers in the long run.
'There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.' – Seth Godin
Marketing guru and visionary Seth Godin understands the importance of game-changing ideas. As the author of the bestselling Start with Why, his ideas have resonated with millions across the globe, comprising the bread and butter for businesses on a mission to make an impact.
Whilst he is a powerhouse for extraordinary ideas, Godin also understands that the biggest challenge is often turning those ideas into reality.
Even the most remarkable ideas are useless without the motivation and drive to execute them, or at the very least a team of dedicated and passionate people to help you achieve your vision.
The world is filled with visionaries and why-types like Seth Godin, but it's the dedication and drive of get-things-done-types that makes those ideas happen.
'Always deliver more than expected.' – Larry Page, co-founder of Google
As the world's go-to search engine, Google knows how to deliver.
Building a game-changing business means going the extra mile and giving customers more than than they expect. It's about delivering a better experience that sets your business apart from the competition, one that sets the new standard and paves the way for the businesses of the future.
When we make the effort to consistently go beyond the norm, the standard, and what is expected of us, that's when we become extraordinary.
'The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.' – Socrates
Widely accepted as the father of Western philosophy, Socrates's ideas have helped shape our understanding of the world around us and our place in it.
And there is still a lot we can learn from his ideas.
As businesses, we exist to create change. To make things better for our customers. To create more opportunities for ourselves and our team. And more increasingly, to maximise opportunities for people and the planet.
The secret to creating this change is to never lose sight of the vision you are striving to achieve.
To focus less on how things are, and more on how you want them to be. To focus less on what is wrong with the status quo, and more on what a better world could look like. To focus less on your competition or what others are doing, and more on the difference you are making. To focus less on the past, and more on the future.
When we focus less on current realities and more on future possibilities, we are already on the path to creating change, and building a business that leads the way.
'Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.' – F. Scott Fitzgerald, American fiction writer
As an aspiring writer in New York City's Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald faced his fair share of rejection. His stories were rejected 120 times before he achieved a literary breakthrough with the success of his debut novel.
The road to success is paved with struggle. Remaining strong in the face of adversity and setbacks and not being afraid to start over, no matter how many times, is what builds extraordinary businesses.
'If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.' – Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker
Sometimes we have to take risks to get to where we want to be.
Whether it's launching that amazing new product or service, venturing into a new market, or taking that next leap of faith, you've probably taken your fair share of risks to get your business to where it is now.
Progress always involves some element of risk, even when that risk is carefully planned, strategised, and calculated.
Without the desire to take risks, to lead the way, and to challenge boundaries, we can't ever expect to grow or move forward. We can't ever expect to be extraordinary.
Risk creates opportunity– as businesses, it gives us a competitive advantage, it positions us as leaders, it inspires people, and it helps us respond nimbly and innovatively to changing markets and shifting customer demands.
As businesses, we should make it our mission to strive for the extraordinary, to make things better than they were before, to do great work, and to have fun along the way.