Success Formula: Why Most Businesses Got It Wrong

What_s Your Company_s Success Formula_

Most businesses have it wrong when it comes to what it takes to be successful. There’s no one-size-fits-all success formula, but there are certain vital pillars that all businesses successfully have in common. By understanding and implementing these pillars of success, you can set your business up with tips to be successful in life.

What is success to you?

For some people, it may mean making a lot of money or having a high-powered job. But true success goes beyond just material wealth. If we correlate success with the 6 most significant positive motivators, then success means achieving: 

  • Wealth
  • Rank
  • Accolades 
  • Identity 
  • Purpose
  • Adventure

There are countless success formula books and articles out there on the formula for success. But the truth is, no single success formula fits everyone. What works for one person may not work for another.

However, there are certain key pillars that all successful businesses have in common. Understanding and implementing these pillars can set your business up for long-term, real success.

Formula of SuccessFormula of Success

If success were the result of a formula, we would achieve it more consistently.

— Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads™ 

The thing is, there’s no such thing as a success formula. But that doesn’t stop people from trying to find one.

In reality, success is the result of hard work, dedication and perseverance. It’s about trial and error while constantly adapting to the ever-changing landscape.

There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Anyone who tells you otherwise is spining you a tale.

The truth is, there is no single success formula that fits everyone. What works for one person may not work for another.

However, certain key pillars are essential for any business to succeed. You need to focus on these key pillars if you want to achieve long-term success.

Do you know them? If not, you can keep reading. Or you can book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads™. We help businesses in the home services industry create their unique success formula. 

The Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc Fallacy

People often associate correlation without causation. Basically, this means we associate 2 things together, assuming that the fact that one thing occurring causes the other thing. 

The fancy Latin fallacy: post hoc, ergo propter hoc, which means, “after this, therefore resulting from it”, is more often a red herring. 

For example, a statistics study will show you that the increase in ice cream sales is directly correlated to an increase in crime. While ice cream is particularly evil to the lactose intolerant, the actual cause for an increase in crime was actually the warmer weather.  

Every business is like a wee little baby. There are certain things that all babies need to thrive, like food, water, shelter, and sleep.

If you want your business to succeed, you must ensure it has the critical ingredients for success, like the baby. The problem is that most companies are missing one or more of these vital ingredients.

What are the critical ingredients for business success?

You need to connect the dots before you can achieve success. That’s what logic says, right?

Success shouldn’t follow cable TV ads, raising your prices, or handing coupons out at the front door. Because it did come after trying one of these things, logic likes us to assume that “if you connect these dots before your next attempt, success will surely follow.”

However, Roy says, “Success is not a dog that can be led about on a leash.”

In fact, most businesses have it wrong. They think that if they do more of what made them successful in the past, they’ll continue to be successful in the future. This is the fallacy I elude to. 

The problem is that the world changes too fast for that to be true. The business landscape is littered with companies that failed because they didn’t change with the times.

Take Blockbuster, for example. In 2000, they were worth $5 billion. But by 2010, they were bankrupt. The reason? They refused to change their business model to accommodate the new way people watched movies (streaming).

On the other hand, companies like Netflix and Amazon saw the writing on the wall and changed their models accordingly. As a result, they’re now worth billions.

The moral of the story is to be successful. You have to be willing to change with the times. You can’t just rely on what worked in the past; you must adapt and evolve.

So, what does this have to do with the success formula?

Well, most businesses get their formulas for life wrong because they are unwilling to change it. They stick to the same old tips and tactics, even though they are likely not effective anymore.

Common Misdiagnosis of SuccessCommon Misdiagnosis of Success

Another common misdiagnosis of success – and one that’s much easier to explain – occurs when we judge results too quickly. We see the early stage of success and call it a failure. That is because when you’re doing exactly the right thing, the results will often worsen before they get better.
— Roy H. Williams

What Roy said is a critical point often misunderstood. Just because something isn’t working right away doesn’t mean it’s a failure. It could just mean that you’re on the right track, and the results will come eventually.

There are some obstacles to success that you can’t avoid. These include the three-body problem and the J-Curve.

The Three-Body Problem

The three-body problem refers explicitly to the motion of three objects, such as the Sun, Earth and Moon, or a star and two planets.

The problem is considered difficult because it is impossible to predict the future motion of the bodies without knowing their present positions and velocities.

It was first studied by Isaac Newton, who showed that there are certain types of solutions (now known as periodic solutions) in which the bodies return to their original positions after a specific time.

However, the general problem is still considered unsolvable, and even today, very few solutions are known.

The three-body problem has applications in many areas of astronomy. That includes the stability of planetary orbits, the formation of stars and galaxies, and the dynamics of clusters of stars. It also has applications in more earthly pursuits, such as the movement of vehicles on a highway.

Similarly, the things that create success can not be fully calculated in advance due to this problem. Trying to attract and hold your customer’s attention is another excellent example of this.

The J-Curve

The death of the seed precedes new life.

The cold of winter precedes the warmth of summer.

The dark of failure precedes the dawn of success.

It seems to be a reliable pattern.

— Roy H. Williams

The laws of duality are inescapable. As Roy’s friend John Marklin wrote to him in a letter, he calls it the J-Curve:


In the grocery industry, which is the world in which I live, a key component… is the J-Curve. For example, I built a ground-up store four years ago and was told I would do ‘X’ in sales.

For two years, I did 60 percent of X in sales. As I came out of the J-Curve, I gained momentum and hit the budgeted number in year three.

J-Curves happen any time there is change, and sometimes they defy logic.

For example, in one of my stores, my meat sales sucked. So I doubled the size of the meat case and added variety. The result was lower meat sales. It took about 30 days for people to accept the change. Once they did, they liked the added variety and selections. Slowly sales increased, and today they’re at the desired level.

Very few people speak of the J-Curve.

If you wish to discuss more, I would love to do so while on campus on Valentine’s weekend.

Thank you.

John Marklin

The front side of the J-Curve is the “little death,” or the “chickening-out period.” The backside of it is “hockey-stick growth.”

Many companies have abandoned brilliant, hockey-stick growth ideas because they have chickened out. They’ve misinterpreted the early fall in sales, the J-Curve, as a failure.

Sometimes, though, we can make a mistake, do the wrong thing, and our sales drop. The problem here is that this will also look like the J-Curve.

How can companies know when to hang on and pull the plug?

As Roy says, “The only solution I’ve ever heard of is to take a deep breath, close your eyes and click your heels together as you whisper again and again, ‘The J-Curve is a bitch. The J-Curve is a bitch. The J-Curve is a bitch…’

What’s Holding Your Business’s Success? 

Often, people will tell me that their business is being held back and a lack of traffic is stunting growth. However, this problem can usually be linked back to something else that they haven’t been able to see. More traffic is simply the result of another underlying issue.

4 Most Common Invisible Problems That Limit Your Growth

4 Most Common Invisible Problems That Limit Your Growth

When troubleshooting your business’s growth, it’s essential to take a step back and look at the big picture. Four primary issues prevent selling opportunities:

Your Ads Aren’t Convincing

Need to improve your ads? Write better ones. It’s not WHAT you say, it’s HOW you say it. 

Do your advertisements speak to what customers truly care about, or do they merely talk about things they should be concerned about? You’re undoubtedly a specialist in your field. You can’t think like your consumer because you already know too much.

When working with a professional ad writer, always be open to their questions, even if they feel bizarre to you. The answers to these odd questions often lead to your ads being successful, more RELEVANT, and super interesting.

Naiveté is a positive attribute in the realm of advertising. The greatest ad writers are just as ignorant as the client.

Your Ads Aren’t Reaching Your Prospects with Effective Repetition

One way to success and ensuring your target audience sees your ads is to focus your ad budget.

Business owners utilize a wide range of advertising strategies because they “don’t want to leave anyone out.” As a consequence, they contact too many individuals with low repetition.

Bill Bernbach says it best: “Would you rather reach 100 percent of the people and convince them 10 percent of the way, or 10 percent of the people and convince them 100 percent of the way?”

While amateur marketers are recommending you spread your message around, we are concentrating your message on as much of the population you can afford at a frequency that best suits how the brain retains and recalls information. Precise frequency with the right message is the secret sauce to becoming a household name. 

You’re Already Selling Everyone who Likes to Buy What You Sell in the Way You Like to Sell it

You’re already appealing to everyone who likes to buy what you sell the way you want to sell it. To expand your business, begin selling a new category of customers or product/service.

Although you know more potential customers for your product are out there, it’s challenging to get them interested. The most successful businesses often complain the loudest about a lack of visitors since they aren’t expanding at the same rate as they used to. If your business growth is stalling despite continued efforts, you may have become too focused on a narrow niche market.

You will need to sell products (or customer avatars) you would have rather not, meaning that your definition of “your customer” may need to be broader. The specific profile of the customer you’ve been targeting doesn’t have an infinite amount.

For example, we regularly see companies targeting women 35 to 55 years old, sometimes in only affluent neighborhoods. When you expand your reach with the right message, targeting becomes more and more irrelevant. 

Your Reputation has Slipped, or Your Product is No Longer in Demand

If your reputation has taken a hit or your product is no longer in demand, you need to reinvent yourself and become relevant to customers again.

Would improved advertising have salvaged 8-track tapes, or was it a technology doomed to expire?

The declining marriage rate in America mirrors the decreasing sales of engagement rings percentage-wise. Why are jewelers surprised by this?

Online news aggregators that offer tailored story selections for each reader explain why newspaper readership is steadily declining. To many, this is no surprise.

Now, how’s your home services business looking?

Are you feeling secure with your strategy? If you’re not running branded ads on mass media, your greatest problem is that most people don’t know who you even are. Wizard of Ads™ can help. Book a call with Ryan Chute today.

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