However, a true business leader is one, who does not fear change, rather thrives on it! This is the only way to maintain your success, otherwise most often you may find yourself being left behind. Success comes not just when you do something different but when you continuously keep reinventing yourself. The ability to identify the changing needs with changing times is the key to long lasting and continuous success.
BE CRAZY, MAKE MONEY!
The people who can change with changing times are the ones who have a unique ability, and that is – to think different. The ability to think different keeps you ahead of others, beat competitors, and even tide over bad times. No wonder the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity took place in 2010 when the economy was in a slump (according to research done by Kaufman Foundation). Although logically starting a new business during times of recession sounds illogical, as it’s very risky to start something new and if times are bad the chances of failure become even higher, 2010 saw the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity and highest rate of innovation. It’s said when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Hence, the tough times saw the birth of the most ingenious of businesses. “Hangover Helpers” is one such business that two college boys named Regis and Kelly started. After partying all night, the next morning is the worst. You have a hangover, a messy house, and no energy to sort it out. This is where the ‘Hangover Helpers’ come in. They come with breakfast, energy drinks and cleaners who make you and your apartment sparkle once again! A simple idea, a little crazy too, but they were the first to think about it and have the courage to actually implement it, and they sure have hit the bulls eye, for these boys have been featured in Forbes magazine, on various talk shows on TV, and they have their hands full with so many hangovers to take care of!
Crazy they may sound but if you look closely all these business ideas were based on a deep understanding of human needs. When Josh Opperman saw his fiancée walk out on him just three months after the engagement he was devastated sure, but not blinded with grief. He saw an interesting opportunity here. He started a website called ‘I do now I don’t‘ just to get even with his fiancée. The site, which has been featured in The New York Times, on CNN and various other mainstream media, is now a big hit. You can sell your engagement ring to other buyers at a price better than the one offered by the jeweller from whom you bought the ring in the first place. Sounds like a crazy idea, but think about it, right from the name to the ‘value for money’ proposition, everything fits so well and connects so well with the consumer and his needs. It’s a well-packaged deal!
Finally, successful entrepreneurs are those who not just had an apparently crazy idea but knew how to market that idea well too. Consider the story of this young army officer Nair, who left the army and joined his father-in-law’s handloom business. His factory used to manufacture a fabric that was dyed using vegetable dyes. As a result the colour would bleed with every wash. When he exported the fabric to US the buyer was furious when he found consumers complaining that the colour was not fast. He threatened to sue Nair. But Nair was unperturbed. He told the American buyer “Why did you not put washing instructions on the garment stating clearly that the fabric bleeds with every wash?” The buyer was confused, and then Nair explained that this was the speciality of the cloth. It was meant to look different after every wash! An article in the popular fashion magazine named ‘Seventeen’ picked up this fascinating concept and soon the fabric became a craze in the West. Now everybody wanted the ‘Bleeding Madras’ fabric. That’s the power of packaging a concept correctly. This same Nair invested in a beach property in Goa. However, the problem was that this property was located in the south of Goa, while almost all tourists went to the north of Goa. As expected no one came to his hotel. Once again he put on his thinking cap and this time came up with an advertisement, which said that the last man to walk on this beach was Vasco da Gama. It intrigued a lot of people and he says in one day he got 1,000 queries. The resort sold out and since then there was no turning back. Yes, you guessed it right. The man in question is the Founder of The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts (named after his wife Leela) and his property The Leela Goa is today a very successful and happening resort. However, the more interesting part is that it was at the age of 65 that Nair decided to close down his textile business and think of venturing into the hotel business. Yes, it would have sounded like a totally crazy idea at that time to think of starting something at this age when most people are planning their retirement and that too a business that he had no formal training in. But he believed in himself and today, at 91, he is one of India’s biggest success stories!
BEING CRAZY COMES WITH NO AGE LIMITS!
Captain C. P. Krishnan Nair was not born rich but that did not stop him from dreaming big, even at the ripe age of 65 when he founded The Leela Group. The world is filled with similar such stories. This lady had a career in embroidery but later shifted to painting. She had no formal training but painted in her own style, drawing from memory and capturing American rural life. Initially her paintings sold for $5. In 2006 she sold one for $ 1.2 million! She was featured on the cover of Time magazine and Life magazine. Books were written on her and even a commemorative stamp was issued in her honour! What makes the story more remarkable is the fact that success came to her at the age of 80! She lived to be a 101 and in the last year of her life made 25 paintings!
He was a 52-year-old salesman of a milkshake mixer. Then one day he received an order for 8 mixers. He was intrigued for there was hardly any demand for the mixer, as it was a dying product. He went to visit the restaurant. What he found amazed him even more. The restaurant was simple with a small menu of hamburgers, fries, and beverages. He saw a potential and advised the two brothers who owned the restaurant to expand, and offered his services to become their agent and help them sell the franchisee. Six years later Ray Kroc had bought over the corporation and in a matter of time he had spread it across the world. By 2003, a McDonald’s restaurant could be found in 119 countries, making it one of the biggest restaurant companies in the world.
He started his career as a chef and then a salesman and finally had a stint in the Intelligence Service at the British Embassy in Washington. The job at the embassy was too stressful and he left it to buy a small farm and lead a calm life. However, at 37, without any formal training and any knowledge about the business, he opened an advertising agency, which we today know as Ogilvy & Mather. David Ogilvy had never written an advertisement before but he was confident of his ability of understanding people. He was the one who made Dove a huge success when he wrote a simple headline that read, “Dove is one-quarter moisturizing cream”. Many more fantastic ads came out from his agency and soon O&M was a big empire.
Colonel Sanders was 65 when he thought of a chicken recipe that he could sell to restaurants and make money. After being rejected 1,009 times he finally found success and today we enjoy his fried chicken recipe at the KFC restaurants. The old man you see on every KFC outlet is Colonel Sanders. Let that image be a source of inspiration and let it keep reminding us that success comes to those who are crazy and crazy ambitions come with no age limit! You just need to really want it!