Business owner. Industry leader. Both sound great. Both are admirable goals. But while many might think those terms are synonymous, they are not.
At the core of the issue is focus. Are you focused on your store, your profit margin, your individual success? If so, you are a good business owner. Or do you believe that a rising tide benefits all the ships in the harbor? In other words, is your focus expanded beyond your four walls to consider your community, your supply chain, your related industries and even your competitors? That’s what will set you apart as an industry leader.
I recently read some thoughts from Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO of Anytime Fitness. His point was that many gym operators, even the most successful ones, were acting more like business owners than industry leaders.
If you want to make that transition, there are several things you can do.
Partner with related businesses. Let’s look at Runyon’s business as an example. An Anytime Fitness club could join with a local nutritionist and even a financial planner for classes that offer members a holistic look at “fitness.” It’s an approach that says “We can all find benefit in working together.”
Get involved. If you are a successful business owner, then your chosen industry has been good to you. Be good to your industry by getting involved in trade groups and local organizations. Reinvest some of the talent, knowledge, skill and resources that your industry has given you.
Brand yourself as a leader. Review all of your branding efforts, TV, print, radio, billboards and on hold. Does it educate people about your industry, presenting yourself as a reliable and knowledgeable go-to resource? If you want to be an industry leader, you need to present yourself as one.
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