In about one week, “42” The True Story of an American Legend will be in theaters. It is, of course, the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues since segregation.
As a fan of baseball, Jackie, and people everywhere that are willing to take risks to break down barriers, I will be at the theater.
In this article I want to talk to you about the rewards of being first but also the risks involved and how to limit them. The first website listed at the top of Google gets about 40-50% of all the action according to various studies. The other 9 sites get to split the other 50%. Knowing why would make for an interesting conversation but the point is to KNOW the rewards for being first.
Being the first to do something often leads to being the most remembered.
Most people have an easier time remembering the first over the second:
- First African-American baseball player – Jackie Robinson…2nd…?
- First President – George Washington…2nd…?
- First Ammendment – Free speech, religion, press, etc…2nd…? (okay…this is an easy one because of what is going on right now)
Being the first can be great positioning. The perception is that first is the equivalent of “best” in a lot of cases.
Being the first to try a new method, strategy, service, or other in your business comes with risk as well. The person first with the machete at the front of the line walking through the jungle, gets to choose the direction. This person also gets to be the first to confront BIG scary animals and critters.
The first (in business) to try new strategies, ideas, and methods may burn through resources and make mistakes as their is no clear-cut blueprint to follow.
A solution (in business anyway) is to be the first in your industry or in your area but NOT the first overall. This way it will appear that you are the first (to your customers, clients, patients, etc.) but there is a success path to follow by observing others. Observe with a strategic eye…in everything you do. You can pick up marketing ideas, operations ideas, and service ideas by watching OTHER industries.
Many people believe Henry Ford invented the vehicle. He did not. Most people believe Henry Ford invented the assembly line. He did not.
Henry Ford was manufacturing vehicles and wanted his company to be more productive. While visiting a stockyard in Chicago he noticed something. Henry saw how productive it was to have the meat on an overhead trolley and as it passed by, each worker did his part. Henry brought this idea to the car manufacturing business and he changed the world…and got rich.
To save you some Google time:
- 2nd African-American baseball player – Larry Doby
- 2nd President – John Adams
- 2nd Ammendment – The right of the people to keep and bear arms.
Have you picked up any great ideas and tweaked them to fit your business?