According to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, there is a mechanism called “natural selection” through which, the most advantageous members of species -featuring a unique variation of a trait (e.g. a special kind of wings) - can survive and grow, while the less advantageous ones tend to vanish.
Although Darwin’s theory has been disputed, the concept of evolution is widely accepted in biology as well as other scientific disciplines, as it can explain a whole lot of naturally happening phenomena. Now, take this principle (of natural selection) and transfer it to the entrepreneurial arena. Businesses which are capable of changing and adapting to competitive environments are the ones that survive and flourish.
The difference is that-in contrast to the animal world-a business, headed by humans, can change and grow on purpose; and this is accomplished by creating and implementing a successful strategy. Thus, a business strategy is nothing but a roadmap leading to desired outcomes (sales, profits, growth); in addition, to be robust from an evolutionary point-of-view, a good strategy should be based on the unique competitive advantages of the enterprise.
This a simple, yet effective, model of communication that can be applied in sales situation (convincing a client to buy your product / service) or/and in interpersonal relationships (for instance, when having an argument with your spouse…).
The first stage is called “diagnosis” and refers to our ability to comprehend the situation. You see, most people are so overwhelmed by their own problems, lost in their thoughts and concerns, that spend little or no time at all, to actually understand other peoples’ needs. This sort of “selective blindness” (or deafness if you prefer) to external stimuli, may be considered a defense mechanism, aimed at protecting us from absorbing stress coming from our environment (to put it simply, we have so much worries to deal with, that we don’t want to bother ourselves with other peoples’ problems…).
Yet, the solution, or at least the first step, of effective human communication is listening and caring for the other party. Therefore, in the first, diagnostic stage, and before presenting our point, view or arguments, we should ask the other person what is going on, what’s happening right now, from his/her point of view; thus, a salesperson may ask a prospect “-How do you deal with the X issue right now?” (e.g. a gym trainer may ask a prospect -“how do you take care of your body, how do you exercise to keep yourself in good fit?”).
While there are a lot of techniques on how to increase customers' awareness, approach potential customers, present the product in the most appealing way, and close the sale, still something is missing...
What is not mentioned in sales books and seminars, is this "magic" ingredient that makes sales efforts successful and distinguishes them from failures. In fact, the factor that makes the difference, is merely human thought! What salespeople think before, after, and -most importantly- during the sales process is key to the outcomes they harvest in the end.
For instance, consider a sales representative talking to a potential customer, while at the same thinking: "I am going to fail", "I have little chances of success", "My product is not that good", "The customer is going to reject my proposal", "I am a failure!"... Is this professional conveying a message of confidence and enthusiasm to the client? Not at all! On the contrary, she is projecting feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and disappointment.
An easy way to define strategy would be to consider it as "the route that leads you to your goals". In other words, by applying a successful strategy you should be able to get from point A (the current situation) to point B which represents the desired state of things, where you'll have reached your goals. So, what are the characteristics of a successful strategy?
a) A successful strategy is one that works! If something does not work, change it! In fact, this is more easily said than done. Companies, professionals, people often get stuck in unsuccessful, lousy strategies and practices, because they are reluctant to try out something new. Being flexible is important!
b) A successful strategy should be relatively simple and easy! Complicated things rarely work. People want simple things that require a minimum effort. You should be able to describe your main business strategy in no more than 150 words; follow the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple) principle.
Most people think of leadership as something related to business and the corporate world in general. For instance, the word “leader” may bring to your mind a CEO, a general manager, a business executive, a politician, somebody who is in charge etc. Of course, this is not a mistake. Indeed, people in high-level positions are supposed to be leaders. But do they really act as leaders? And what are the characteristics of a leader or the so-called “leadership skills” one should possess in order to lead successfully?
If you think for a while, leadership can be found in everyday activities and roles we may have during the course of our lives; you can be a leader in your family, a leader in church, a leader within your colleagues or friends etc. Thus, to the extent that you are required to play an active role in something, you are leading. Hence, leadership skills are needed not only to business executives, but to the average person, in order to be able to face the various adversities of life effectively. What does this mean?