Like the countless number of stars in the night sky or grains of sand on a beach, there are an infinite number of ways to build a small business. The challenge for you, the entrepreneur, is to identify the strategy that best fits your personality and company and follow it through to a successful conclusion.
One of the most popular and well-known strategies, of course, is to find an unfilled niche in the marketplace and make it your specialty. Many a well-known entrepreneur has followed this path to profits and success. It’s not the only strategy out there. Today, we’re going to look at another strategy you may want to pursue.
Even the best and brightest entrepreneurs seldom achieve success all on their own. Somewhere along the line they had some kind of help or a business partnership that enabled them to overcome a difficult challenge or allowed them to make a breakthrough. Every company, no matter the size, has a gap they need assistance with in filling. One way to guide your small business to ultimate success is to identify that gap, make a partnership and contract to fill it.
Bill Gates is certainly one of the most successful small business entrepreneurs of all time. His company, Microsoft, has products found on virtually every computer and electronic device in the world. But as big as the company is today, it started quite small. What started it on the road to its current level of dominance is the strategy it used to get going. Gates didn’t start out with Windows 10 or MS Office. No, he started by filling larger organizations’ gaps. Gates built relationships with these larger computing companies, learned they had areas where they needed help, gained their trust and provided a valued service and expertise. In Gates’ particular case, it was providing software for computing giant IBM.
At the time, IBM was THE world’s computing giant. There was IBM, and then there was everyone else. To think that IBM had any kind of computing or programming need that they couldn’t fill on their own seemed laughable. Yet Gates took the chance, asked the questions and built the crucial trust-based relationships that enabled him and his fledgling Microsoft to be the company, would fill the gaps in IBM’s personal computer business. Without taking advantage of that opportunity and those relationships, the world of computing might look far different today.
To achieve success, then, is to constantly be thinking of partnerships. Think of partnerships not that can just benefit you, but of partnerships where both sides can aid one another. Yes, Gates received valuable work, contacts and references he later turned into a multi-billion-dollar corporation. But Gates also learned things from IBM and, in turn, IBM learned some things from him. Their partnership was a two-way street. When you have a relationship and a partnership like that, no gap is too large to overcome.