How to be a superhero in a business suit

Many of us grew up idolizing Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Batman, fantasizing about swooping in and saving the day. Science Fiction becomes more of a reality in a tough economy filled with corporate evils and hefty competition - or "arch enemies." From CEOs to secretaries, employees are now tasked with hanging on to humanity with larger-than-life strength.

At a time where it seems easier to complain about what’s wrong and what’s not being done, it’s refreshing to not just talk about the future, but to blast forward into it. That’s what we at ValoreBooks have to do in order to continue prospering in the e-commerce industry. Like a superhero, we’ve channeled our frustrations, anger and woes into something productive and creative. You could say our super power is perseverance, our ability to innovate in an evolving online marketplace.

Here is a list of a few other characteristics embodying a superhero that I think can empower executives to help their business survive.

Pick a super power. Determine what the company does better than anyone else and use it to your advantage. The special power will make it far more attractive and interesting. Think about the recent release of Iron Man 2 and central character Tony Stark. Without his Iron Man body armor and the core housed within his chest, he would die. In addition, create a back story for the skill set or "super power," that clearly defines where the company came from and its purpose now.

Challenge your archenemies.
Humankind is instinctively competitive. Use it to get the best solutions to the biggest problems facing the business. Human inventiveness, combined with a quest for excellence, generally produces results not otherwise achieved. Archenemies tend to be catalysts for the best of entrepreneurship, government, science and the private sector.

Help those in need. The key is to recognize, react to and discover opportunities in the worst case scenarios of business. If things like under delivering, overpromising or price gouging are present, swoop in and save that damsel in distress.  In our case, it is being there with a great substitute to the campus bookstore and offering better deals to students.

Join forces. 
Many times it’s difficult to determine a clear "winner" in sectors such as e-commerce, education, government, science and others. That’s why it’s important to bring the very best to the table, and develop entrepreneurs who are not just trying to simply be Superman, but rather be better than him.

Watch out for kryptonite. Be aware of anything or anyone with detrimental effects on the business and other employees. Remember Superman mythos; kryptonite was the only thing that could kill the hero, same goes for business.

The past year or so has challenged the business communities’ resilience with an economy that seemed something straight out of a Comic Book. The takeaway is we’ve all been tested. Many of us are more equipped now to perform larger-than-life tasks in order to survive. That’s why today’s superhero looks a lot more like Clark Kent than Superman.

About the author: Bobby Brannigan is the founder and CEO of ValoreBooks, a fast-growing online provider of cheap college textbooks. He can be reached at bbrannigan@valorebooks.com.  

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  • Loraine Antrim

    Leadership is all about being a superhero or heroine. I'd add one trait that all CEO/Heroes should have: x-ray vision/transparency. If you can't see thru the layers and have the ability to show others what you see, you're not using all your superpowers! Loraine Antrim Core Ideas Communication