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To Succeed, You Must Take The Market

To Succeed, You Must Take The Market

Award-Winning Entrepreneur and Creativity Expert Josh Linkner is on a mission to make the world more creative. Named the “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year” and as a “President Barack Obama Champion of Change” award recipient, Josh both inspires and entertains: in speeches and workshops alike, he provides powerful and practical techniques to jump-start creativity, getting people thinking out of the box in business and at home. Here, Josh shares his advice for organizations on dominating the market:

In Ben Horowitz’s book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, he describes a pattern more easily said than done for many startups: taking the market. Simply put, this phenomenon describes the act of seizing a large market with a visceral, carnivorous fury, much like a militaristic “taking” of a hill. In decades past, advice has been just the opposite, with “slow and steady” winning the race. Experts suggested proceeding cautiously – for businesses to build up with resources in an increasing pattern to eventually seize the opportunity. Today though, the only way to win is to get there first. It wasn’t necessarily that the iPod was the best mp3 on the market, but Apple AAPL +0.04% dominated the field first, setting itself up as the ubiquitous carrier. That ubiquity has since transferred to music streaming on phones, tablets, and other devices, beyond the original iPod. Apple’s initial taking of the market was with such gusto that it continues to resonate years later with efficacy.

If you think of your company’s aggressiveness on a “1-10” continuum, I’d imagine you’re currently hovering midway, perhaps at a “4” or a “5.” You ramp up and plan accordingly – you bring in new hires as you add on another city, perhaps. Or maybe, you allocate resources with a new product release, and then you back off to return to “maintenance” mode after the launch week. I’d challenge you to increase from a “4” to an “8.” Think of another city as your territory to be conquered. How can you go in and take that market? If normally you’d have hired three additional boots on the ground, how about 30? Become the dominant force in that territory and become the market leader, purposefully, with an aggressive sense of direction.

Often, companies pride themselves on having “won” the business from a client, or more broadly, in a marketplace. However, the act of winning implies that you were in a close arms race with another competitor, alongside you. If you’re truly taking something as yours and yours alone, you won’t have a competitor that you’d beat out to “win.”

Instead, put yourself so far ahead of the pack that it’s not even a consideration that you “won” against anyone else, because nobody else is in your league. How many clients are in your pipeline, in limbo? Go close them – get the deal done. How many more opportunities have you set up just around the corner? Stop teeing things up for the future – go close those, too. Rack up points on the board and just keep taking market by storm. Maintain your fervor and you will set yourself up for continuous success.

Why are you waiting in your office, hoping for the phone to ring? It’s a big world out there – and it’s yours for the taking.  So, go take it.

By Josh Linkner/Forbes/July, 2014