Back To Basics: The Keep-It-Simple-Strategy For Starting A Winning Business
It seems today that just about everyone’s got a different approach to business. Some say you should focus on one-upping your competition, while others say it’s best to be original, while still others recommend reinventing the wheel and forgetting about competition altogether.
Trying to navigate all these different tactics can be extremely overwhelming, especially because of the intense pressure to get it right… or else suffer a hit in your business.
“In a business environment that is changing faster and becoming more uncertain and complex almost by the day, it’s never been more important to choose the right approach to strategy,” says the Harvard Business Review.
So how exactly are you supposed to sort through all the information and decide which strategy is best for you?
One successful businessman says his winning strategy is sticking to the basics — the simple principles that have stood the test of time.
Meet Brent Underwood, founding partner of Brass Check, a creative advisory firm that has produced and marketed content for major clients like Google GOOGL +1.11%, American Apparel, and Tony Robbins. He’s also the founder of the #1 rated hostel in America, HK Austin.
Underwood shares how he’s made it happen using classic techniques on this week’s episode of Unconventional Life, “Why The Business Basics Are Your Best Bet.”
Underwood graduated from Columbia University at the age of 23, the youngest graduate student in his class. During a college study abroad trip, he says he discovered a passion for traveling that would serve as the inspiration for him to later create his own hostel.
“I love traveling, I love interacting with people, and the hostel’s a way to travel—it was a way for me to backpack all around the world. I was exposed to so many different perspectives and the excitement of traveling,” Underwood says.
By 2014, he had stayed in over 150 hostels in 30 countries. A seasoned expert, he decided it was time to open up his own hostel.
Underwood recalls having little startup capital to fund the project — but that didn’t stop him. Instead, he stuck to the timeless principle of making due with what he had and pouring money into what mattered most.
He says he forewent serving breakfast to guests in exchange for purchasing high-end mattresses—which guests have been raving about ever since. “Everything else—the atmosphere, the common room, the location, the book collection, the guests, the reviews—was secondary, and, to some extent, outside our control. But if we could make at least the beds an unforgettable experience, we knew we would be putting money on a sure bet,” Underwood says.
Today, HK Austin is the highest-rated hostel in America, which Underwood credits to his application of simple, sound business advice. Below, he shares three tips you can use in your own practice to replicate his success.
1. Hire faster than you think you need to.
As a business owner, it can be difficult to let go of things getting done “your way” and delegating responsibility to others. After all, things might not be completed to your standards, and quality could suffer. But trying to do everything yourself is a sure path to destruction, Underwood says. Your skills are needed to run the business, and you can’t do that while you’re focused on all the nitty-gritty details. Hire employees to take care of the small stuff, train them to do their jobs well, and commit yourself to what really matters.
2. Look no further than your own community.
It can be tempting to want to solve a problem or provide value on a massive scale—which is why so many businesses try to serve a worldwide market. The problem is, they find themselves disconnected from the world’s needs, only able to speculate or approximate because of the vast size and distance, and as a result end up serving no one. Underwood says he conquered this problem by serving his local community in Austin, TX, home of the HK Austin. This allowed him to oversee important matters such as adhering to city building codes and tailoring the guest experience. Hone into your own city because you know its needs best of all.
3. Cut the distractions and focus on the actual product.
So many business owners believe they have to have every aspect of their business perfect—from their business cards, to their website, to their logo, to their social media accounts. What they don’t realize is that this is actually a massive distraction from their actualproduct. Focusing on how many Twitter TWTR +2.19% followers your business has, who might never become actual customers, doesn’t produce profits at the end of the day. The best businesses are the ones that strive to make their products and customer experience the very best they can be. Focus on your product first and foremost, and the smaller details will take care of themselves.
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