Want to know a dirty, little secret about business strategy? Any strategy you execute will work. Anything. Let’s be honest — today’s business landscape is full of gurus, experts, and consultants telling you that if you follow their magical seven step program that you’ll end up achieving wild-eyed, incredibly amazing success. It’s an “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” perspective. And it can leave you confused and paralyzed into doing nothing at all.
The truth is that just about any strategy works. Any strategy. Even the crazy, nonsensical strategy that you think is completely ridiculous.
That one will work too.
Think about all the “crazy” ideas that have turned into billion dollar success stories:
- Zappos debunked the crazy business idea that helping customers too much is wildly unprofitable. They built a $1 billion company in less than 10 years by delivering an outrageous client experience.
- Craigslist debunked the crazy business idea that web technologies need to look sexy. Without any advertising or an attractive user interface and with only a handful of people they booked hundreds of millions of dollars by providing simple functions that users really want.
- Nike debunked the crazy business idea that selling athletic equipment was just about the sport. They built a brand backed by celebrities and world-famous champions that inspires fierce loyalty by athletes of all skill-level.
- Ford Motors debunked the crazy business idea that you needed a government bailout to stay competitive in the automotive industry. They added $18.4 billion in sales over two years by cutting waste and refocusing their spending habits.
- Walmart debunked the crazy business idea that consumers can’t be bought with cheaper prices. They introduced radically discounted goods and quickly generated trillions of dollars of revenue through 9,000 stores all over the world.
- Netflix debunked the crazy business idea that consumers only wanted to rent the latest movies from a store down the street. They created a multi-billion dollar industry of renting mostly older movies on laptops and living room set-top boxes.
- Amazon.com debunked the crazy business idea that books were meant to be read in hard copy — that groceries and electronics couldn’t be sold from the same website. They generate more online book business than all other online retailers combined and generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue for other sales.
- YouTube debunked the crazy business idea that video was meant for the television screen. They taught friends how to easily share memorable experiences and sold their platform for almsot $2 billion in less than a year. Their website still continues to be one of the most popular online destinations of all time.
- ING Direct debunked the crazy business idea that banking customers need easy assess to ATM machine and branch offices to invest their money. They made online banking an attractive option and radically altered how consumers save money — all the while building a billion dollar franchise.
- Dell Computers debunked the crazy business idea the consumers wanted to buy their electronics from a retail store. They removed the middle man and became the largest manufacturer of personal computers, creating one of the largest consumer e-commerce sites on the web.
- IKEA debunked the crazy business idea that do-it-yourself furniture couldn’t be stylish yet inexpensive. Today, they offer 12,000 products, employ 127,000 workers, and help 450 million consumers find the perfect piece of furniture for their home. You might call it a pretty big success.
They all worked. And all worked well.
That’s because it’s not about the strategy. It’s about the execution. The effort. The emphasis on details. The commitment to doing what needs to be done long after it stops being sexy, fun, or cute.
That’s why giving more and doing more, being better and being disciplined make the difference in whether your strategy works or not.
Crazy ideas work when passionate leaders decide to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes in order to achieve success.
Losers stop too soon.