David’s victory over Goliath, the biblical story of how a young shepherd boy defeated a fully armed giant warrior with no more than a sling and a stone, holds important lessons for South African entrepreneurs according to Dov Girnun, Founder and CEO of Merchant Capital.
But is it possible that David’s victory is not as unusual as we’ve been led to believe? Davids win all the time notes Girnun.
Look at the Miami Open last month, where Daria Gavrilova– an underdog – confronted and triumphed over Maria Sharapova, ranked world No.2 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), in the first match of the tournament.
Related: Why Meditation is For Hustlers Too
With this victory, No. 97, Gavrilova knocked Sharapova out of her quest for her first Miami Open title. Tennis, and less recently David and Goliath, clearly has a few things to teach SME owners when it comes to overcoming the odds against larger rivals.
1. Be agile
SMEs can defeat large competitors by outmanoeuvring, out-imagining, and outperforming them. Large, lumbering companies are seldom prepared to confront nimble and fast-moving adversaries. They tend to be crystal-clear about what they are and are not, and what they want to achieve. They are rigid and consistent.
2. Use leverage
Leverage is the ability to do more with less; to ask yourself: ‘How can I position my business to compete favourably with fewer resources?’ David knew that Goliath was taller and stronger, so he asked: ‘How can I defeat Goliath without engaging him in hand-to-hand combat?’ That answer came in the form of leverage: His sling.
3. Be brave
Entrepreneurs are perfectly positioned to work as challengers to their bigger, more established competitors, because they take more risks, question the status quo and remain more alert.
SMEs are also able to operate in smaller niches; to tailor everything from product features and distribution to advertising to a specific market.
4. Have faith
Faith is the ability to act despite tremendous doubt. As an entrepreneur, you must never see competitors as infallible. You must see a chance to out-perform them.
To illustrate, if you’d had the opportunity to ask Daria Gavrilova or even young David whether he believed that he could beat his rival, each would’ve offered you a confident Yes (regardless of tremendous doubt). Otherwise, why compete at all?
5. Have focus
Giant companies suffer when they lose touch with the essence of their business: the customer. Remember that the value of one customer is always greater for an SME than a large corporation. Say (and demonstrate), ‘Your business is important to me.’
“Research shows that the world’s most competitive nations are those with the most entrepreneurial activity, making SMEs the greatest job creators in emerging economies,” says Girnun.
“Entrepreneurs need to know their worth and stay true to themselves and their businesses, once they do, success is in their hands.”
Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business
Throughout the year, the Virgin co-founder shared what he thinks are the essential elements to success.
If there’s one thing Richard Branson knows, it’s how to run a successful business.
Throughout last year, the Virgin founder shared what he thinks are the keys ingredients to building a successful company with each letter of the alphabet, which he slowly revealed through the 365 days.
From A for attitude to N for naivety to Z for ZZZ, check out Branson’s ABCs of success.
How Reflexively Apologising For Everything All The Time Undermines Your Career
How can you inspire confidence if you are constantly saying you’re sorry for doing your job?
I’m one of those weird people who gets excited about performance reviews. I like getting feedback and understanding how I can improve. A few years ago, I sat down for my first annual review as the director of communications for the Florida secretary of state, under the governor of Florida.
I had a great relationship with my chief of staff, but I had taken on a major challenge when I accepted the job a year prior. I didn’t really know what to expect.
Youth takes charge
I was 25 at the time, and everyone on my team was in their thirties and forties. I came from Washington, D.C., and was an outsider to my southern colleagues. I was asking a lot from people who had been used to very different expectations from their supervisor.
I sat down with my chief of staff who gave me some feedback about the challenges I had tackled.
She then paused and said to me, very directly,”But you have to stop apologising. You must stop saying sorry for doing your job.”
I didn’t know what to say. My reflex was to reply sheepishly, “Umm, I’m sorry?” But instead I immediately decided to be more cognisant of how often I said I was sorry. Years later, her words have stuck with me. I have what some may consider the classic female disease of apologising. When the New York Times addressed it, five of my friends and past coworkers sent it to me.
In it, writer Sloane Crosley got to the heart of the issue:
“To me, they sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic. They are employed when a situation is so clearly not our fault that we think the apology will serve as a prompt for the person who should be apologising.”
Topic of debate
I’ve talked at length with other women trying to figure out this fine balance. The Washington Post, Time, and Cosmopolitan have all tackled this topic. Some say it’s OK to apologise; others criticise those who are criticising women who apologise. Clearly, I’m not alone in dealing with this issue. In fact, I’m constantly telling the people I manage that by apologising they give up a lot of their power.
Here’s the bottom line: Don’t apologise for doing your job.
If you’re following up with a coworker about something they said they’d get to you earlier, don’t say, “Sorry to bug you!” If you want to share your thoughts in a meeting, don’t start off by saying, “Sorry, I just want to add…” If you’re doing your job, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.
That’s what I think. And I’m not even sorry about it.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell
If you’re in need of a little motivation, check out these quotes from Dell’s CEO, founder and chairman.
There’s much to learn from one of the computer industry’s longest tenured CEOs and founders, Michael Dell. As an integral part of the computer revolution in the 1980s, Dell launched Dell Computer Corporation from his dorm room at the University of Texas. And it didn’t take Dell long before he’d launched one of the most successful computer companies. Indeed, by 1992 Dell was the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company.
Dell’s success had been long foreshadowed. When he was 15, Dell showed great interest in technology, purchasing an early version of an Apple computer, only so he could take it apart and see how it was built. And once he got to college, Dell noticed a gap in the market for computers: There were no companies that were selling directly to consumers. So, he decided to cut out the middleman and began building and selling computers directly to his classmates. Before long, he dropped out of school officially to pursue Dell.
Fast forward to today. Dell is not only a tech genius and businessman, but a bestselling author, investor and philanthropist, with a networth of $24.7 billion. He continues his role as the CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies, making him one of the longest tenured CEOs in the computer industry.
So if you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration, take it from Dell.
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