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Five Strategies That Can Take Your Business From Pretender To Contender

by Paul Trapp and Stephen Davis, coauthors of “Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

That quote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, summarizes why some businesses and other endeavors fall short and end up in the scrap heap of lost dreams.

The importance of preparation for success in business is much like it is for professional sports teams trying to win a championship.

Every single significant opportunity in life is a Super Bowl if you really want to be successful. The New England Patriots frequently reach the Super Bowl, but they don’t get there if they don’t practice with purpose every week, watch countless hours of video, and rise above the inevitable pain and struggles that come with high-level competition.

Being prepared for every situation along the way leads to earning their biggest opportunity, and it’s the same way for a business looking for big opportunities to grow. The key to mastering the art of preparation is constant practice.

Here are five strategies for businesses to take their preparation to the next level:

Become a disruptor. 

You want your business to stand out from the competition. To do that, ask yourself, ‘How can my company disrupt the industry? How do we position ourselves in the marketplace so that people will go out of their way to do business with us?’

Attract the right talent. 

Picking the right person – one who can be a long-term employee vital to the company’s success – should be a slow and strategic process. For a business owner, hiring people is very much like investing. Before you offer someone a job, do research, check references, and ask many questions. Do people you are considering have the attitude and motivation to succeed? Would they be a good fit with your existing culture?

Establish a winning culture.

A business culture is created at the top and cascades downward. It takes great effort and dedication to build a winning business culture where everyone feels valued as contributors. It goes beyond the professional relationship to the personal – showing compassion for employees in times of need, and recognizing exceptional efforts with tangible rewards.

Befriend Murphy. 

As in Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. Although all businesses encounter problems in a variety of ways, a strong organization can properly prepare in a way to withstand them and solve them quickly. Because Murphy is going to show up in any number of forms, when preparing to do anything, there has to be a list of solutions in place before a problem ever happens.”

Recognize and seize opportunities.

The key to seizing an opportunity is identifying a need greater than your own – that of your customer. Imagine you meet someone who can help you solve a need because he or she has the tools and experience to give you what you really need. Think about what real estate agents do for home buyers. They ask specific questions about what the clients are looking for, relate to their excitement about finding the right kind of home, and create a vision of that.

Preparedness is the key in any and all situations. The only way you learn and grow as an individual, and as a business, is to perfect your unique abilities and a team’s winning strategies through repetition.


In 2016, Stephen Davis and Paul Trapp launched Federal Conference, Inc., which provided professional event planning and management services to the government and commercial marketplaces. Federal Conference, Inc., twice was a two-time Inc. 500 award recipient and executes over 3,000 events annually around the world. They are coauthors of “Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams“.


This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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