The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before. – Albert Einstein
It is said that one of the most significant events that changed the course of American history began in 1848 when two gold nuggets were discovered. Tens of thousands of people (popularly known as ‘49ers) traveled to Northern California in hopes of striking it rich. With that many people seeking to do the exact same thing, the competition had to be steep. But not for a German-born tailor who by the way, didn’t have the choice of choosing the best web design company for his small business.
Now who is this tailor?
Levis Strauss was a German-born tailor who like everybody else had hope of finding his fortune in America – to become a huge success and achieve a major avenue for consistent cash flow.
And like everybody, he wanted to be successful and not fail. But when he looked at everything he saw – the hardships that prospectors and their families were facing, and seeing the crowd of competition he had to contend with – he knew that following the crowd wasn’t going to bring the success.
So Levi decided to ignore all the business propositions that claimed that claimed to be a sure-fire way of finding gold or access to untapped locations that only a few people knew about.
Using unscrupulous and unethical practices, entrepreneurs were telling people:
- To be successful and wealthy, you should buy a claim which will give only you access to a location that only you can mine for gold.
- Even though you’re a foreigner, the foreigner miner’s tax is mostly aimed at the Chinese, therefore you wouldn’t have to pay the taxes.
- The price of gold will keep rising. You’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams.
But here’s the thing.
Levis didn’t do any of that. In fact, he made sure not to do anything directly related to gold mining. And within months Levi had opened a store selling canvas tarps and wagon coverings to the miners and doing well financially.
You’re probably asking, “How did Levis Strauss do so well so quickly in that tough economic time?”
After hearing that sturdy work pants—ones that could withstand the punishing 16-hour days regularly put in by miners—were more in demand, he shifted gears, opening a store in downtown San Francisco that would eventually become a manufacturing empire, producing Levi’s denim jeans.
There are always people who’ll tell you, “Hey, this is how everybody else is doing it” or “Hey that can’t be done”. You know, the conformist who feels safer in a crowd and don’t see any way someone can accomplish something totally different.
But you actually really can.
But first, right now, you must decide to stop following the crowd. Be innovative. I know it may be hard work to be unique. But following the crowd is hazardous to your business.
In the crowd, people get trampled. In the crowd, you can’t see where you’re going. In the crowd, your voice is one of many therefore you can’t be heard.
Every small business owner needs to step back and really think about what is best for their business. What are you focused on today? Is it something that you know to be effective, or is it something that everyone else is doing right now?
It’s dangerous to follow the crowd when you really should be focusing on the unique value that your business offers. What do you do that really stands out for your customers? What can you bring to world that no one else can bring? Those are the questions that you need to ask yourself today.[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s dangerous to follow the crowd when you really should be focusing on the unique value that your business offers.” quote=”It’s dangerous to follow the crowd when you really should be focusing on the unique value that your business offers.”]
The fact is, like so much else in life, different ideas work for different organizations. And whilst the principal may be sound and may be entirely appropriate at a headline level, it is how leaders shape the basic idea to work for their organization that makes the difference between boosting business success and yet another change failure.
When you stop following the crowd, you can focus on the things that make you and your business totally unique – you eliminate the “pick me” syndrome. Pick yourself. Find out the dream that scares you the most and run straight towards it. Don’t follow the path of the crowd. Be a leader and chart your own course.
Today is a great day to stop following the crowd. Don’t you think so?