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The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

August 28, 2008 / Toby Dayton

There Are Few Secrets To Business Success

I recently came across an amusing and quite insightful story in a book I’m reading at the moment. When B. Dalton was buying other booksellers around the country back in the 60’s and 70’s, a B. Dalton executive traveled to L.A. to talk with Louis Epstein, the founder of Pickwick Book Shops. Towards the end of the conversation, the B. Dalton executive asked Epstein what the secret was to his success in selling so many books. Epstein replied, “If you put a hell of a lot of books in front of a hell of a lot of people, you will to sell a hell of a lot of books.”

It constantly amuses me when I hear founders, entrepreneurs, and executives describe their business in a way that implies they possess some magical secret(s) or have mastered some phenomenal complexity. Even more pathetic are the business people who are in constant pursuit of this perpetually elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that will bring them instant fame, fortune, riches, and marketplace dominance.

While there certainly are a small percentage of businesses that depend heavily on real trade secrets, intellectual property, and/or incredible complexity, the vast majority of businesses do not. Typically, the factors or ingredients for business success are, or at least should be, really simple. Deliver a great product or service that meets a real need in the market. Hire smart people and let them do their job. Out-service the competition. Delight your customers, etc. And while the plethora of business adages might seem trivial, overly simplistic, and trite, they always have and always will remain true. The formula or strategy for business success is usually quite simple to understand. It’s the execution that creates so many challenges.

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