The 3 P’s of Success

Photo shoot 1 017 (resized)Most people can’t run a successful business for the same reason they can’t have a successful relationship. They lose sight of what they’ll feel later, because they focus on what they feel now. They sacrifice long-term joy for short-term happiness. In a world consumed with convenience, we want to have everything and we want it now. We want it our way. It’s all about US. And it’s about when WE’RE ready. That’s not how success works. Never has. Never will. Success is the reward of doing the right things, the right way, for the appropriate amount of time. Many of us don’t achieve the fullness of our success because give up too soon. This happens in relationships and in business. I had this happen to me once.

There was this girl. She was amazing. She was beautiful, funny, intelligent, had a strong work ethic, a Christian; she was a good girl. She had everything I could ever want. Now, if you know me, you know I don’t make emotional decisions, and I admit that I am as bad at relationships as I am good at business. I’m often told I will be a bachelor forever, and that I don’t give anyone a fair chance. We can debate those later. Anyway, I was in love with this girl. She had my heart in her hand. Even without a title, she had my total commitment. But I wasn’t ready for a relationship. Relationships come with obligations and requirements that I wasn’t able to give. This had nothing to do with wanting other women, or keeping my options open. I was preparing for the future. I was building a business and it required my focus. I wanted to make sure when I’m we were finally in a relationship, I could fulfill my responsibilities as a man, and as HER man. I couldn’t imagine my life without her, so I wanted to make sure I could provide for her a life equal to, or better than, what she had before me. If I ever get there, I want to ensure that work is an option, not a requirement, for my wife. And I want to make sure that if I ever have children, their only thoughts of college will be WHERE to go, not IF they can go. That’s what I think a man should do. ( However, I will not pay 1 red penny for my child to go to the universities of Alabama or Texas) Because of my business building, I didn’t have the time needed to focus on a “traditional relationship”. But I was willing to compromise as best I could to make something work. I knew there would be some sacrifices on her end, but I told her “If you give me the time. You’ll have everything you want and more. I’m committed to you and I have no desire for any other woman in my life but you.” All the things she wanted she would have had, and then some; in time. Unfortunately, she wanted them THEN. She didn’t see a future, and she chose to move on. It crushed me, but that was her decision to make, and she did. It crushed me, but I had no choice but accept it. Having a relationship THEN was more important to her than having ME later. I’m not saying her decision was right or wrong, that isn’t my place to say. I know some of you are thinking “Well if you loved her so much, why didn’t you just give in? That way you wouldn’t lose her.” The answer to that is easy. You don’t shortchange a person’s future, for instant gratification today. We both wanted to the same thing. I wanted to be able to give it to her consistently, not for a limited time. But this is what many of us do in our own relationships, and in business.

Success in our personal lives and professional lives require, what I call, “The 3 Ps of Success”: Planning, Preparation and Patience. Each of these must be executed fully in order for any of it to work. Many of us get the planning part down easily because it is centered around what WE think. It’s based on OUR ideas and what WE think works.

Preparation is where we start to fail. Just because you know what you want, doesn’t mean you’re ready to have it. You still have to prepare. Writing a business plan doesn’t mean you’re ready to start your business. You may have to clean up your credit report in order to secure some financing. You have to get proper documentation. You have to do research to source the proper resources, and vendors you will require to do the business. You have to identify your market. Then you have to research how to best appeal to their market. You have to establish a brand. Then you have to research how to best make your brand attractive to your target market. All of this happens before you even decide on a name. The planning and preparation phases can be as stressful as the execution.

After you have completed the planning and preparation stages, you HAVE to have patience. Without patience, you are sure to fail. Achieving success requires patience. The limits of your patience will be tested. Many don’t realize the roller coaster ride success will take you on. Things will be great one week, and you’ll be pulling your hair out the next. You’ll have record sales one month, and the next month, you can’t buy a customer. You’ll have to turn down work one week, and the next you’ll be checking to make sure your phone service is working because you’re getting no calls. You will feel the highest of highs. But you will also feel the lowest of lows. When the lows come, that’s when most people give up. Especially if you’ve been low for a while. But if you are willing to be patient through the darkness and uncertainty; if you hold on when you feel there is nothing to hold on to. If you have the will and the strength to see the big picture and not get caught up in the emotion of where you are in the moment, you can have everything you ever desired, and then some.

No one ever says achieving success is easy, but everyone says it was worth it. Running away and giving up only prepares you to run farther, and give up more often. You have to have faith. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” You have to have faith in order to have success. You can’t just give in to emotions because you’re not currently getting what you want. As the famous quote says “You have to do what you HAVE to do now, to do what you WANT to do later.”

God bless and dress well.

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

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Focus on Your Market

Photo shoot 1 017 (resized)Just because everyone uses the product you sell doesn’t mean everyone is your market. Most brands carry products that exist in multiple market price points, and the success of the brand is usually dependent on facilitating and cultivating THEIR specific marketplace. I know this may sound confusing, so I will use my firm as an example.

My brand, William Wilson, was developed to cater to business men and women (yes – I also make women’s clothing). Athletes and celebrities were never my target market; nor are they now. I was just blessed to acquire an impressive client portfolio that happens to include a significant amount of them. I honestly would rather have the person that works in Bank of America Corporate Center than the one that plays in Bank of America Stadium. He’s going to be a more “consistent” buyer because he has a constant NEED for my product. Plus given the average NFL career is 3.5 years, the numerical longevity factor is far more beneficial to me at the corporate center than the stadium. That explains one part of the market place. But that isn’t the focus of this post.

I’m talking about straying from your corporate brand strategy to chase every dollar. There is no way to maintain brand integrity and chase dollars. Especially in the luxury goods market. Again, this may make no sense in the abstract, so I will once again use my brand to explain.

I sell a premium luxury product, custom clothing. My brand is known for being some of the best looking, best constructed and highest quality in the country. That comes at a price. That doesn’t mean it has to be astronomical in price, but it shouldn’t break the bank of my target client either. With the exception of my Morehead Collection. My suits range from as low as $699 up to $40,000 (my Morehead Collection begins at $20,000 and is delivered by an armed guard in an armored truck). So as you can see, I cover a large price range. However, there is a segment of my market that will never buy from me. In the industry, we call them “Hotel Ballers“.

You may be asking yourself, “What is a “Hotel Baller“?” A hotel baller is the guy that wears  custom suits, but instead of purchasing suits from established firms in the area, they wait for the guy to come from Asia, sets up in a hotel room for a couple of days and sells out of the room. They usually offer a ridiculous cheap price to get clients in the door, knowing that the client’s ego and/or taste won’t allow him to buy the advertised product. The advertised packages are usually a bunch of fabrics that no one buys. The fabric IS available. So they aren’t lying. It’s just an old bait-n-switch (common in the car business. The more desirable fabrics are sold as upgrades, usually about $200 per upgrade level. Afterwards comes the up sell. Working button holes, fancy jacket linings, monograms and contrast stitching are always lucrative add-ons. Then they hit them with the shipping and tax. The tax is ALWAYS funny because they don’t even pay tax in the US usually because they live in Thailand and China. This is usually about $250-$500 of just free cash to them. I have a friend that sells this way, and he explained it to me. And he said “William, the crazy thing is, by the time the walk out of here, they usually pay more for my suit than they would have yours. And if it doesn’t fit right, they have to add the additional time and charges of shipping it halfway around the world. It could take months by the time we get it right; and you’re right here.”

Now some have asked why I don’t try that same thing locally and eliminate the competition. I explained to him, I have a brand to protect, a company to protect, and clients to protect. My clients trust me to provide them with the highest quality products on the market. My clients want a great suit, made with integrity and high quality, and they want a fair price. Not a cheap price, a FAIR price. My clients understand that quality costs. For me to be able to compete for that business, I would have to use lower quality fabrics, have them machine sewn in China, and machine sewn. These are all factors that would possibly increase my customer pool temporarily, but a client that is strictly shopping price isn’t concerned about quality and will leave for the next guy whose product is $50 less. Then you’ve lost your previous clients AND your new ones. Worse than that, you will have lost your brand credibility. That’s entrepreneurial SUICIDE.

You will never see Neiman Marcus competing with Wal-Mart (or Macys for that matter). You won’t see Mercedes and Lexus compete with Honda or Chevrolet. And you won’t see the William Wilson brand competing with hotel suit sellers. This is not to discredit them, or their customers. They do what they have to do. It’s not about them. It’s about the William Wilson brand, and my clients. My clients have placed trust in me. I owe it to them to be what I told them I was. They come to me because they feel I offer something they can’t get anywhere else. They come to me because they want the best from the best, and they feel like I fit that description. I appreciate my clients, and would never disrespect them by trying to flip-flop to chase a dollar. I don’t focus on my competition. I focus on my market. Where they go, the William Wilson brand goes.

 

God bless and dress well.

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

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Life’s Not a Marathon. It’s a Sprint.

Photo shoot 1 017 (resized)There’s an old saying “Life’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.” That is patently false. Life is not a marathon. EXISTENCE is a marathon. All you have to do to exist is just not die. But life calls for action; attempts and achievements. Which is why life isn’t a marathon, it actually is a never -ending series of sprints.

You see, to run a sprint, you train for days, months, even years. You spend time in the weight room, practicing, and trying to beat the clock. It’s feels like you train forever. And for what? A 10 second event. Validation of all that preparation comes down to you being your best for 10 seconds. (or less)

Life is the same way. You work hard for days, weeks, months and sometimes years for that “one opportunity”. That one shot. That one chance. It may be a fortunate encounter in an elevator. It may an interview with a “Fortune 100” firm, it may be election night. For me, it may be an opportunity to land a major client.

When Calvin Richardson asked me to make his suit for the 2010 Grammy Awards, we had known each other for about 6 months. We ran into each other occasionally. We texted occasionally. We were acquaintances, but we weren’t  really friends. In fact when he called me, it was last minute. But he called because I had been preparing for the sprint. Every time he had seen me, I was in a suit. I represented my brand. Without me knowing, he was watching and gaining trust in me. When he called me, we had exactly a week to make it happen. We made it happen, and he was named “Best Dressed on the Red Carpet”. I had practiced for months, and I had a week to run my race. Not only on the race, I set a record.

I also failed at another race I didn’t realize I was racing in. I failed to prepare for the success. Having someone wear your clothing at the Grammy’s is a big deal for any designer; let alone for someone with only 17 months experience and no training. But to actually have your client be awarded for being the best dressed is a once in a lifetime opportunity. One that could have set me on a far more expedited path towards success. But I had no PR or media relations team. I had no media connections. I was a construction entrepreneur – turned self-taught clothing designer. I had just beat the odds and designed an award winning suit for the Grammy Awards; and NOBODY knew it. I missed a golden opportunity because that was a race I had not prepared for. I had a short window to capitalize on it, and I missed it. I wasn’t ready for the sprint, and when the starter’s gun went off, I couldn’t even get off of the blocks. I failed miserably.

Fortunately, God has seen fit to allow me to enter more races. And I’ve won  my fair share of them. But I still lose a lot of them too. I’m not the only person that prepares for these races. My peers do too. I have to prepare every second of every day to be prepared for that opportunity. Our races won’t be run on a track. They will be in life and in the workplace. Our starter’s pistol will be the opening of an elevator, a chance meeting in line at the market, or an unexpected phone call, text or email.

Opportunity doesn’t knock anymore. It sends out a mass email, and the first one that replies, and is ready to race, usually wins. Are you ready for your 10 seconds? If you’re not, trust me, someone else is. Until next time…..

God bless and dress well.

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

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Why You Aren’t Successful

Photo shoot 1 017 (resized)A greedy heart is poor soil in which to grow success. Many of us will never see success because we can’t see past ourselves to help others. God blesses us to be a blessing to others. He isn’t concerned about us being rich. He’s concerned about us serving His kingdom. He doesn’t care us driving a Bentley or a Mercedes, our kids going to private schools, us flying in private jets, living in huge houses, or living a VIP lifestyle. He is concerned with us helping others. He doesn’t care about us “keeping as much of our money as we can”. He cares about us helping those less fortunate.

I posted a picture on Instagram the other day that said, “God won’t put more on us than we can bear. Which is why some of us aren’t successful.” This is the truth. But some missed the meaning. So I will explain it. We are selfish people. Plain and simple. Sure we support causes, but they are usually the ones that affect someone we care about. But what do we do to help those we have NO CONNECTION to? What do we do for people that have no way of helping us back? Do we only vote for politicians that help us keep the most our net worth, while tearing down those that try to help those not as fortunate?

The Bible says “It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt 19:24). This is because money becomes the master. And you can’t serve two masters. God doesn’t allow some of us to reach any more success than we have because we are either too greedy, too selfish, or too immoral. We will not be able to handle TRUE success.

He won’t allow us to be famous because we’d use our fame only to glorify ourselves, not Him. The fame would turn us into more of a narcissistic than we already are. Some of us would undoubtedly become so addicted to the attention that we will do anything we can to keep it. Fame is a drug that needs to be treated like a controlled substance. When you begin to receive lots of glorification and adoration, if you don’t have people to keep you grounded, YOU WILL become a victim to it. Kind of like the men that can’t take a picture without their shirts off, or the women that can’t take a picture without showing us their butts.

He won’t allow us to get rich because, face it, we couldn’t handle it. If you’d use your rent money to see Beyonce’ or Taylor Swift, you obviously don’t make smart money decisions. If you drive a $100,000 car, but can’t afford to buy custom clothing, (or have a roommate), you obviously can’t afford the car either. So you can’t be trusted to make the smartest of monetary decisions either. Money is a magnifier. Whatever you are when you’re broke, you’ll be more of when you’re rich. If you were cheating on your spouse at Motel 6 when you were broke, you’ll cheat on them in a villa in the Bahamas when you’re rich. If you’re stingy with a little money, you’ll me even more stingy when you acquire wealth. If you feel you deserve to be rich because you sacrificed when you were broke, you will despise those who don’t get to where you are, and you will say arrogant things like ” They’re just being lazy, or making excuses. If I can make it, they can do it too.”(Like you did all the work yourself and God didn’t bless you with clients and breaks.)

If you want to be successful, help someone else become a success. Help someone that can’t help you back. Give to someone who has nothing to offer in return. Help someone make a dollar, that can’t afford to give you a dime. That is when you will see real success. That is when God will bless you. Until next time……..

God bless and dress well.

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

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