There is no shortage of good advice, quotes and sayings that entrepreneurs can use to guide their efforts each day as they grow their business. The challenge with advice, quotes and sayings is that they tend to be light on details. If you need a shot of encouragement, short sentences that contain nuggets of wisdom is a good way to go. But what do you do when you need more than that? Where do you find real examples that best reflect the type of business you are building?
Working in a silo can be tough. As an entrepreneur you have to find a way to motive yourself to pursue the idea your company is working on. I think that many entrepreneurs believe they are special (which they may be) but the truth is that many others have come before you and will come after you. There is nothing new under the sun and sometimes finding other examples of what you are trying to do can help you grow your business quicker and uncover opportunities you may not have thought of. The other thing I notice with entrepreneurs is that they have a hard time admitting that someone else in the market may be better than them. Ego and pride can be a wet towel over any business and in particular can prevent a business from growing and creating real value.
Warren Buffett announced that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought $206,000,000 worth of shares in RH, also known as Restoration Hardware. The news caught most people off guard because RH is a high end furniture company which is perceived as boring and not very exciting. Anyone who thinks that has most likely never heard the CEO, Gary Friedman, talk about the business. In a recent interview Gary Friedman mentioned that he leads his team to admire, study and model themselves after three other companies: Apple, Berkshire Hathaway and LMVH. They model Apple by trying to build an integrated eco system of products, places, services and spaces. They model themselves after LMVH which is a luxury platform for luxury margins. Lastly, they model themselves after Berkshire Hathaway so they can be capital efficient, generate significant cash flow, enjoy a low cost of capital and produce industry leading returns. With perspective and a line of sight like the one presented by Gary, it’s hard to believe Warren Buffett and others didn’t invest sooner. A growing company with vision is a company that creates real value.
Don’t get stuck in a silo thinking you or your business is one-of-kind and the problems or challenges you are facing are truly unique. They aren’t. There are entrepreneurs every day that are trying to grow their business and instead of reinventing the wheel, they are borrowing the best ideas, emulating the best results and striving to be leaders in their market in their own way. Find others that have gone before you and take lessons from them on how to get to where you want your business to be.