The question on today’s blog is for business owners of any industry to consider. What motivates you to succeed?

We all need a healthy dose of motivation at times. As business owners it can be easy to feel stuck in a rut. So today, we’ll look at a few of the most successful business owners and draw on their inspiration.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Founder and CEO

We all know Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of this company called “Amazon”. Jeff has a concept his whole team buys into. It is called the “Day 1” approach. Jeff has long lived by this idea that each day he starts is “day 1”.

He says: “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death,” he said. “And that is why it is always Day 1.”

He further explains that Day 1 companies are the companies that:

  1. Stay focused on customers
  2. Focus on results and not process
  3. Look outside the company
  4. Make decisions quickly

“The process is not the thing,” Bezos wrote. “It’s always worth asking, do we own the process or does the process own us? In a Day 2 company, you might find it’s the second.”

Do you treat each day like it is day 1 in your business?

Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

Sam Walton was a simple man with a brilliant business mindset. He was hard working, starting his days at 4:30am. He expected results from his employees. But the thing that perhaps most contributed to his success is his ability to identify and implement efficiencies in his business.

Sam identified early on that one of the biggest costs he faced was transportation. He came up with a solution to place a warehouse within a day’s driving distance of any Walmart store and thereby decrease transportation costs dramatically.

He is known as saying: “You can make a lot of mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient”.

What efficiencies have you identified in your business recently?

Joe Gebbia, Airbnb Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Joe Gebbia, but chances are you’ve heard of the company he cofounded, Airbnb.

If you’ve never read the story of how Airbnb began, you must! It is an incredible story.

Essentially, Airbnb was founded because Joe and his buddies, who were living in San Fransisco, were flat broke. They couldn’t afford to pay their rent and had to do something. Turns out, a big conference was coming into town and all of the hotels were booked. They seized the opportunity and offered an air mattress in their apartment for a fee. They did this for several nights and it worked out really well. They decided to turn this into a business! They built a little website and called it Air Bed and Breakfast — referencing the air mattress. 

But it didn’t work out. There wasn’t a large sold-out conference every weekend. Plus, they weren’t the only ones with the idea. Others were getting into the same market. They had to do something to build exposure. At the time, Obama was running for office and was campaigning in their town. They capitalized on all of the hype by creating “Obama O’s” cereal which they sold for $40 a box! Major news outlets such as CNN covered this story and they used the exposure to plug Airbnb on air. Amazing. 

As Airbnb began to grow throughout the years, Joe once said the biggest challenge they faced was not in marketing or the funding, it was in building trust with users. The concept of people sleeping in the homes of strangers was not welcome by many.

So how did they solve this problem?

First, they decided to take measures to build trust. Then they realized their marketing and communication efforts needed to be completely focused on communicating this with their audience. 

There are some lessons that all business owners can take from Joe and his co-founders at Airbnb. Sometimes things don’t work out the first time. Sometimes it takes outside the box, creative thinking. It almost always comes back to brand awareness and addressing your weaknesses. But in addition, they were keenly aware of the message their audience needed to hear.

In your marketing, are you telling your audience what you want them to hear, or are you communicating what they need to hear.  

As you look for motivation and inspiration today, consider how these wildly successful business owners were able to help their businesses rise to the top and how you also can apply these same principles to your business!