Business and public opinion: know when to break out from the herd

Know when to break out from the herd

Public opinion plays a role in every business decision. In defining the vision for a company, developing products, planning advertising, and providing customer service – what the marketplace thinks or what competitors think is always of critical importance. Many businessmen follow the existing trend their entire lives, but great entrepreneurs know when to strike out on their own and create a new public opinion.

A prime example of this is the development of the iPod. Prior to the iPod, there were some 50 different devices on the market that played mp3 music files. Most of the songs played on these machines were downloaded illegally from websites like napster.com. The player manufacturers didn’t care about any of that – they were too busy fighting over small margins on the hardware.

Enter Steve Jobs. He saw a bunch of hardware vendors fighting for business from a small market of young people who thought music should be free. The public opinion at the time was that music should be delivered on compact discs and played on home and car stereos. Jobs thought about all those music buyers and what it would take to shift their opinion.

Then he talked to musicians and music publishers. They weren’t happy with the mass piracy taking place on the Internet. He came up with an idea that allowed publishers to distribute music over the internet and collect royalties, while at the same time making it easy for the mainstream music-buying public to get the music they wanted: he invented iTunes. And the iPod has enjoyed market share in excess of 70% ever since.

As it is in business, so it is in life. Many people are busy reacting to what they believe to be public opinion. But there is no joy in constantly chasing after a moving target that probably isn’t the right target to start with. In fact, the stress can kill you.

Real leaders understand that public opinion was made to be changed. Going beyond public opinion can be as profitable in life as it is in business. We need to always stay on the course that is right for us and let public opinion change to take us in. Find out what brings joy to your life and go after it – forever.

Craig McClure has 30 years experience in marketing and sales. He founded, operated and successfully sold CreativeWare, Inc., a software reseller. He currently provides marketing and sales consulting services. For more information about living unlimited visit People Unlimited.

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