In sports you always hear announcers talking about momentum. Alike in business, you hear about companies with momentum, riding some combination of innovation, timing, good decisions, great service, some luck, media attention and several other factors into a commanding market share. And everybody is jealous. I must admit that I often cringe when I pick up my copy of Fast Company to see what 23 year old is riding momentum into a massive payout. Momentum is what everyone wants … but nobody really knows how to get it.
You can certainly put some pieces in place to help you when momentum arrives – talented staff, streamlined processes, outstanding customer service practices, a mindset of innovation – but lots of companies have all these, and they too are seeking momentum. So what can you do to create that groundswell that leads to and onslaught? The first thing is a dramatic shift. Doing something merely different isn’t good enough anymore. It must be dramatic, in that there is some sort of appealing story behind it, and it must be a shift, which implies a change of direction in how things are done.
The second thing is that you need to stick with this for a long time. You might think that companies that have momentum are startups that catch a lucky break in an emerging industry, but what you are seeing online with companies like Google and YouTube and Twitter is rare and not the norm. Most companies are carrying out their dramatic shift for years before enough people take notice to create that critical mass you need to create momentum. The question you have to ask yourself is “Do I have the patience?”