When I started Kogan, everyone told me I was crazy and that people would never buy TVs online. My mum thought I was leaving a great paying job just to be a TV salesman. Supposed business “experts” said it would never work. But we were the first to tell people about the benefits of shopping online and we’re now one of the fastest growing companies in Australia.
Now I get asked to speak at many events and after the talk, I always have people running their big ideas by me. Quite often I hear some great ones. Sometimes I’ll see that person six or 12 months later and I’ll ask them how their business is going. The most common response is: “What business?” Thinking big is an absolute waste of time if you’re not going to execute on your ideas. Here are some tips on how to turn these big ideas into a thriving business:
React swiftly and innovate: As a disrupter, take full advantage of all your competitive advantages. One of them is speed and agility. The bureaucracy in big companies means they take a long time to make decisions and adapt to changes. Exploit this and ensure your company is on top of all the latest consumer trends.
One percenters: To compete with companies that have large budgets, a challenger brand’s organisation must be as lean as possible. This isn’t easy – it’s always made up by lots of little things, which at Kogan, we call “one percenters”. For instance, when we buy apples for the office, we compare pink lady apples with pink lady apples and order them from the place that has the best price – this attention to detail and efficiency is something the big brands are generally too lazy to bother with.
It’s not a short sprint, it’s a marathon: Never let a few early successes deviate you from building a strong business that will be around for many years. The big guys have been around for a long time and you won’t beat them overnight. A lot of people who don’t know much about business often tell me: “Wow Ruslan, you’ve become an overnight success.” I tell them: “Yeah, it’s taken me 29 years to become an overnight success.”
Learn from others: A fool learns from his mistakes, a wise man from others. Always keep an eye on what others are doing. It’s far too easy to get stuck in your own world. It’s much cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
Shake things up: Only a big, crazy idea can shatter the status quo. The best businesses do things in a way no one has ever done before. Facebook changed the way we communicate. However, if Mark Zuckeberg told us five years ago his website would one day have more hits than Google.com, everyone would have laughed. Now, Facebook has 1 billion active users. True entrepreneurs have the self-belief to take new steps down untravelled roads, shatter the norm and find imaginative ways to improve lives.
Each generation is a beneficiary of the great minds of the generations before. However, an inventor needs to build on what he has inherited. Today’s generation has inherited one of the greatest opportunities in the history of man with the internet. Now, the craziest and most original minds among us have the ability to fully explore its best potential.
Ruslan Kogan is the founder and chief executive of Kogan.com.