Are You Getting Gold Medal Help?

Even if you’re not normally a fan of sports like gymnastics or water polo it’s hard not to be a fan of the Olympics. There’s something about watching the best in the world that gives watching those sports a whole different perspective. I may not understand all the nuances of those sports, but I understand the desire to be the best.

Gold Medal

I clearly recall one of my earliest job interviews sitting across the desk of the big boss of one of the best ad agencies in Chicago. “Why should I hire you?” he asked bluntly. “Because I’m determined to be the best” I quickly replied. I got the job.

My desire to be the best continued when I moved to New York three years later. Like an aspiring Olympian I knew that to be the best I had to compete with the best. New York was definitely more competitive than Chicago and on more than one occasion, I felt like giving up.

Yet, I stuck with it. After losing my job I began freelancing, got some good projects and eventually started my own agency. That led to some great work for some great clients which eventually led to winning several gold medals in the award shows. I’d finally won my gold.

The qualities that it takes to be best in the Olympics — dedication, talent, training, passion — are the same qualities that it takes to be the best at anything. And, to be successful in today’s competitive business environment, every business owner must seek out and get the help of those people – those who are truly the best at what they do.

Steve Jobs realized that 37 years ago while starting Apple. Anita Campbell, Founder of Small Business Trends, is someone who realizes it now.

When Anita and I spoke she told me that, while many business owners claim they can’t afford the best help or just can’t afford it “at the moment,” they won’t succeed if they don’t change that tune. As Steve Jobs did, Anita says those business need to view high-powered help as a wise, bigger-picture investment in their business.

Another person who understands that is Ryan Blair. Ryan is a former gang member who founded his first company at 21 and now owns a company, ViSalus, valued at over $600 million.

When asked about his most valuable business lesson, he answered:

“Hire the best possible people that money or equity can buy.”

Ryan goes on to say that he did this (as Jobs did) even when he was in start-up mode, and even when he had to pay some top talents more than he paid himself.

So, as you think about your own business situation and how you might make it more successful, maybe it’s time to ask yourself a simple question:

“Are you willing to pay for the best?”


Gold Medal Photo via Shutterstock

2 Comments ▼

John Follis


John Follis John Follis heads up Big Idea Video, creator of short format, high concept video that captivates and persuades prospects. According to Forbes, 76% of marketers expect to invest in video this year and make it their #1 marketing strategy. John Follis honed his talents as Creative Director and Co-founder of Follis/DeVito/Verdi, one of Madison Avenue’s most successful, award winning ad agencies.

2 Reactions

  1. I would point out that getting the best talent in the world doesn’t always require being the highest bidder on salary. Even smaller businesses can put together compelling compensation packages by including more diverse responsibilities, flexible scheduling, training, etc. Money isn’t the only motivator and it surely isn’t the best.

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