You can accomplish anything you set your mind out to do. I speak to hundreds of students at various universities. My goal is to make them believe that anything is possible.
I grew up playing sports. I practiced hard. I played hard. And I was good. I applied that same philosophy to my studies, and eventually to the business world. Too many people accept mediocrity in business, and in life.
Jordanism: Work ‘til it hurts. Then push harder.
In other words, you have to work until you are the very best at what you’re doing. I haven’t gotten to be as successful as I am today because I’m the smartest at what I do. I’ve gotten here because I work the hardest. I never stop. I don’t give up until I’m the best.
I learned another important lesson growing up: not only do you have to be the best at what you’re doing, you also have to differentiate yourself. I knew I wanted to build an ad agency that was unlike any other agency out there. So I did. I built Zimmerman on an inverted purchase funnel model. The purchase funnel was built by Allison Fisher. For years, awareness was at the top of the funnel and profitability was at the bottom. I inverted the funnel to put profitability at the top and awareness at the bottom. My hypothesis was that your marketing and advertising plans should pick up where your business plan leaves off. The goals of most business plans are more profits, more margin and more market share. So for me, it was clear and simple: Allison Fisher’s purchase funnel was inverted. Profitability needed to be at the top and awareness needed to be at the bottom. A brand that’s profitable has awareness; a brand that’s profitable generates revenue; a brand that’s profitable has margin; and most importantly, a brand that’s profitable most likely has significant market share.
Zimmerman wasn’t built like all the other agencies out there that focus on output. Zimmerman has always and will always focus on outcome of the work. We call that Brandtailing™: building a brand over time, and building sales overnight. Yes, we took our fair share of criticism for it along the way from other agencies. But now we’re the 14th largest agency in the country and Madison Avenue is copying us.
Jordanism: Don’t be an imitator. Be an originator.
A few years ago, I was inducted into the Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship’s Hall of Fame. At first I was surprised. After all, don’t you have to be old to get inducted into the Hall of Fame?! In any case, they asked me who my mentor was. My response? I didn’t have one. If I had modeled my career after somebody else, I would have been an imitator, not an originator. Too many people today try to model themselves after other people – they watch their speeches, they study their career paths, they read their books. They don’t allow the real them to come out because they’re too busy trying to imitate someone else. Carve your own path. Be the best you can be at whatever you’re doing. And set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Build your success on your own terms.