Sometimes I’m accused of over-simplifying things. Maybe that’s true but I do believe that the principles of business ARE actually simple. The basics are that you have to make a profit by selling valuable goods or services that people want to buy at high enough prices and in large enough quantities to ensure your longevity.

That might sound a lot easier than it is especially when you take into account customers constantly evolving expectations, the actions of your competitors as well as any macro events outside of your control. However none of this alters the fundamentals of what needs to be done, as described above, to carve out a niche and prosper.

The key is to focus on what you can control, not worry about what you can’t. One way of doing is this to adopt the mantra of “just be better” at everything you do.

Plan and prepare better. Budget and report better. Anticipate future problems better. Deal with current problem once only so they don’t recur. Write shorter, punchier proposals. Be friendlier. Collect debts faster. Ship products faster and more accurately. Run better meetings. Dress better. Share information better. Assign responsibilities and deadlines better.

And finally deliver whatever you promise on time and on budget, without exception. You can’t do “better” than that.

A successful American budget airline uses the “just be better” approach with its company ethos of “Wheels Up” imploring its staff to come up with safe and cost-effective ways to get every flight to its destination on time. They implicitly know that if they can do this better than anyone else in the market then they have a valuable service that people will buy and the company will prosper as a result. It has worked remarkably well for them. As a result, they spend more time in the air than any other airline in the world.

“Just be better” is a fool-proof and simple business strategy that requires only one question to be asked – “can we do this better?” It can be asked by anyone at any level within any company. And it can be used at any time without notice. It is incredibly powerful.

So the next time you ask yourself – what should we do next? –  focus on what you can control and consider whether your best option is actually to just be better (at what you do)…

image courtesy of Nike Better World.