Stop for a while and think
First, you need a rest. But not a trip to an exotic island, you need to put your daily duties aside and delegate repetitive tasks to someone else in order to be able to focus on your long-term strategy.
To put it simply, you should take a look at your business like it's not yours. Make some distance from your company and try to think like an outsider. Be in your office, walk outside in the street, think while you are shopping - but think about your company like you would think about your competitor. And be harsh to it: try to find all weaknesses. What products are bad? What could be improved? What do you think about employees? What about workflow?
Think about your own company like it's the enemy you must beat on the battlefield. Make a parallel between your company and your competitor and find all good and bad sides of them both. Do it without any feeling, show no mercy, and soon you will realize what are your company's weakest points that should be improved. Stop to think for a moment how you are shaping industry and think how industry is shaping you. Are you following the trends? Are you left behind? When did you last time checked what your customers want? Is the any start-up that is a treat to you?
Another good thing to break the everyday's routine is to act immediately when the new idea comes to your mind. You are not ready? Never mind - act! Go for it, solve problems along the way and play the game with your competition. That will bring a great excitement to you and your team and there is a great chance that your naked idea will turn to profitable product. If you fail, think what went wrong and make some conclusions. Every thing you learn will pay off some day, so don't be afraid of failing.
Don't pay attention if everybody's against you. You are businessman, right? Then act like one. Steve Jobs would never ever make iPod listening to other people: from his employees to journalists to marketing experts - they all were sure that iPod will fail the day it hits the market. We know who's smiling now. When Michael Dell decided to skip the stores and sell PCs directly that was something "nobody does! Nobody works that way!" Today, Dell is one the biggest PC makers on Earth.
Following the previous advice, one more thing arises as the truth: denial is a good sign. If everybody thinks that your idea will fail this is a good sign that you are on the right track. Sounds silly, but that's true. Take look as near or far in the past as you like and you'll see what great people do: if they think that they have a great idea they go for it. There are no obstacles for them, they break every wall on their way.
From da Vinci to Einstein to Gates, they all did things their way and they all succeeded big time. "No retreat, no surrender!" - write that on your wall and live it. ■
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