I recently put together a chain of thoughts for one of my businesses because I felt like the team was in need of direction, when it came to the creation of opportunity.
My leadership style is always built around suggestion. I’ve chosen this method because when you impose something on your employees or partners then they don’t ask why. They think: the boss imposed this, so that’s what I must do. If you suggest something, people will (hopefully) think about it, understand it and then realise why a change is necessary. By doing so, I try to try to foster growth amongst the people I work with.
Most people think that you stumble upon the opportunities in life, as if it depended on luck and not on effort. People also think that if you don’t get any opportunity, its the hand that you’ve been dealt – again, that’s not true. Agreed, opportunity in life is not equal for everyone across the globe but for the western world it is all pretty much the same and it all comes down to your drive. Never say you are willing to do more than the next guy unless you really are.
Fact: There is opportunity everywhere. It is important to identify it and act upon it. Most people go through life without realising all the opportunities that are open to them. For entrepreneurs this is different.
1) There are a few things that you can do, as an automated process to increase productivity and up the chances of deals coming your way. Basically, you need to make things happen for yourself because there is no free lunch (that said, we don’t want free lunches / handouts anyway).
2) When you talk to people; always try to make connections in your head and try to match them to someone you already know. Think ahead. Business is a game of chess and you always have to plan your moves ahead because more often than not you will have a good opponent who does just that.
3) When you get an opportunity presented to you, act on it immediately in any way you can. You have to plant the seed. Make calls, send emails and connect to people.
4) Focus on the task at hand; don’t do a million things at once. If you go to a restaurant and there’s a hundred items on the menu, chances are that not a single one of them is the best you ever had. If you go to a place that has five items on the menu, there’s a good chance you will be enjoying a specialty you will remember. Focus is the key in any creative process.
5) When you have an idea, take 15-20min to analyse it. Write it down and then research it with the tools that we all have at our disposal. Does it already exist? Who is the competition? There’s a bunch of basic questions you should quickly be able to answer to situate yourself and find out if the idea is something worth pursuing or not.
6) When you come across something that you think you can sell, take the time immediately to sit down and write up as many people you can think of in your circle who could have an interest. Later you go back to that list, expand it and reach out to them. You have to always act on opportunities and not leave them for later or cast them aside.
7) Business and successful entrepreneurship is really about being like an octopus, have your hands in many pots and stir the soup! You have to be the jack of many trades and show that you can in fact master them!
8) Reach out, be proactive, build your network and professional reach – every day until you have grown your circle to a critical mass. Then you can slow down and grow it selectively. When you have a good contact for everything that can emerge as a business need, you’re in a good place. If you have two or three contacts in each field that you can use if one doesn’t work or fails to deliver, even better.
9) Maintain and foster all relationships with kindness because you never know where the next deal will come from ! (I know I’m repeating myself).
10) If you are struggling to see where the next deal will come from; reach out to the people you know and ask if they have any needs that you can fulfil or if they know someone with a need. A good entrepreneur will always pursue the needs of the world. A great entrepreneur can anticipate the needs of the world and be first to market.
11) The creative process of generating business starts in a calm and controlled environment and you have to find out for yourself, what the best process for that is. Some people have their ideas during workouts, others by driving or listening to music. Start you process with that activity and then proceed to work immediately.
12) There are networks and forums that you can explore to connect with people. You have to reach out to people in a simple way, don’t take up a lot of their time until you have their attention.
13) Always be 100% aware of what you are selling and what opportunities you have in your pocket so that you can use them or act on them at any given moment. Plant seeds – as many as you can, regardless where you are or who you speak with.
14) If you are proactive towards others, do favours for others, the time will come that they will recognise your generosity and send business / ideas and contacts your way. Some say it is karma, others say it is simple physics. I just think its common sense and you need to invest yourself in order to make progress in life and in business.
15) Take time to think, share ideas in your team, find small opportunities that you know can come to fruition quickly and at the same time, build your reputation and pursue larger opportunities. Since there are no shortcuts, we all have to earn our seat at the big table by proving ourselves time and time again until our value is recognised.
16) Always be efficient, as fast as you can but don’t rush… If you rush you make mistakes and will need to spend more time correcting them.
17) Open your eyes to opportunities around you at all times and allow yourself to make the connection in your mind. After a while, this will become automated and you can grow more.
18) Analyse quickly what is worth your time and what isn’t. Pursue all types of deals with the same enthusiasm, regardless of the money you can make.
Those were some of the points that I shared with my team and I hope they are food for thought for you as well.