What is the magic formula to success? This is one question that we all keep asking ourselves and those we consider experts on the subject. I used to be no different. I would make random Google searches, meet industry experts and seek out people who could give me legitimate answers. Little did I know that I always knew the answer, but I wasn’t ready to embrace it.

To all those who have asked this question of me, the answer is simple. There is no magic formula. There is only one way forward, and that is to claw, grind and work your way up until you exceed the expectations of your customers and clients. I know that there were no magic lamps that got me to where I am today — as an entrepreneur and as an individual.

It is an open secret that many of us make excuses for the times we fail. As a business leader, though, you have to do something that your competitors aren’t doing — something that makes your customers and clients feel they are valued more by you than by your competitor across the road. Again, this is not a magic formula, but a practice that I adapted to set myself apart: exceeding their expectations.

Exceed what is expected of you.

As an entrepreneur today, you should know that the competition out there is tougher than ever. Offering a quality product or service is no longer enough. You have to go beyond expectations. Consider this example: It’s the weekend, and you are having a game night with your buddies, but the internet is down. You call your service provider, and it’s taking time to fix the problem. It has been more than an hour now, and your friends ask you to come back and order some food. Now, because you are on the phone, you can’t call it in. However, the internet provider representative hears this and orders a pizza on your behalf; 20 minutes later, you hear the doorbell.

What do you do now? You might be so impressed that you share your experience on social media. What did this cost the internet provider? Maybe $20? In return, it gets a loyal customer and possibly even free marketing through a customer testimonial.

There are tons of examples of small gestures by huge brands that influence people and lives worldwide. A year or so back, I came across a campaign by Cricket Wireless where the brand introduced fans to WWE icon John Cena in the most unexpected fashion; in part two of that campaign, Cena read some of the mail that he receives from fans daily. The campaign spread like wildfire across the internet.

It is these little things that I emphasize most for business leaders seeking advice, and I have also incorporated them into my company culture. Little actions, such as writing a handwritten thank-you card or sending a thoughtful gift to a customer, go a long way. Look for surprise-and-delight opportunities that just might act as catalysts to bring in new clients and retain existing ones.

Make small progress on the road to success.

Set these small precedents and lay small building blocks, and you will see yourself going in the right direction. These small things add up to become a larger whole. Remember, it takes billions of water droplets to make a river. These droplets might be unimportant individually, but together they become a force to be reckoned with. Consider your little efforts to be the droplets, and if you do things right, you can see your organization become the river.