Entrepreneurs understand that their world is accelerating. Growth is exponential. Technologies are converging. Business lifecycles are collapsing. Communication is instantaneous. But consider this, in a race between a 1920 Model T Ford, whose top speed is 45 miles per hour, and a new Mercedes-Benz sedan going 100 miles per hour, the Mercedes will win. There’s no question that the Mercedes can travel more quickly. Yet, which driver is more comfortable, more in control? Which driver is sipping a latte and listening to Enya?
Absolute speed is important, but relative speed is everything. Similarly, professional football has gotten undeniably faster in the last generation. The players are bigger, stronger, and more agile. Yet, after ten years in the league, star linebacker Ray Lewis said, “Nowadays the game has slowed down so much. When I sit and watch film from ten years ago, and I watch now, I think, wow, why would I take that step, or why would I even go that way?”
“It’s all about angles,” Lewis added, and “all about knowing where the players are going to go before they even think about doing it. It’s about recognizing the formations.”
For Ray Lewis, experience and constant study slowed the game. He never claimed to know the future. Only, that if he paid attention, he could anticipate how events might unfold just a little bit before his opponent.
There’s a word for this ability to read angles and recognize formations. It’s not “smart” because Lewis was always a smart player. It’s called “wisdom,” and it’s about reacting to things faster than others because you can recognize the shape of the near-future a second, a day, or a month before others do. It’s about finding ways to turn absolute speed into relative speed—so you can enjoy that latte even as the world passes by at 100 miles per hour.
Hacking Speed for Entrepreneurial Wisdom
As an entrepreneur, wisdom normally accumulates one day at a time. But if you could hack this pace, one-day-of-experience for one-day-of-work, you might be able to slow the world down even as it accelerates. And that ability, as Ray Lewis discovered on the football field, would be a game-changing competitive advantage.
Below are three ways you can hack speed and accumulate entrepreneurial wisdom:
1. You need to embrace speed
If you are a skier, do you complain that the snow is cold? Of course not. You dress for the weather. You recognize cold as the thing that makes skiing possible, even enjoyable. On a mountain slope in winter, cold is a given. For a twenty-first century entrepreneur, speed is a given. Choosing to embrace it is the first step in slowing things down and creating an advantage.
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” – John De Paola
2. Be a student of today
If the entrepreneurial world is accelerating, so too is our ability to analyze, forecast, predict, integrate, and disseminate information. Take advantage of all the smart people helping us to make sense of the world. Read the blogs. Listen to the podcasts. Follow your industry on social media. Take some quiet time every week to study the angles and check the formations.
3. Seek wisdom in experience
That’s what Ray Lewis did during his career and what other great players do today. That’s what smart entrepreneurs do, too. I’ve spent the last few years writing about the history of American innovation. It’s been an eye-opening and productive journey. Nothing puts events in perspective and slows the world down better than “studying the videos” of the entrepreneurs who preceded us.
For example, one of America’s first serial entrepreneurs, Eli Whitney, saved his bankrupt musket business with a spectacular (and maybe deceptive) product demo; wouldn’t it be good to understand how that entrepreneurial “formation” came together?
Alfred Sloan of General Motors found himself more than 40 points behind Henry Ford in market share, yet, less than a decade later, GM had passed Ford, never looking back. As a modern entrepreneur, that would be a very helpful “video” to watch.
Likewise, J.K. Milliken’s use (and overuse) of employee benefits to create a loyal workforce and John Merrick’s leveraging commercial success to fight for social justice both have modern applications, as does Elizabeth Arden’s ability to sense and then shape consumer needs.
“Trade your busy life for a full one.” – Courtney Carver
These stories are reminders that, while others might focus on absolute speed, you can manage the relative speed of change. Be a student of today, study the historic formations and angles and learn from experience. Enjoy the latte.
What part of this article resonated most with you? Share your thoughts with us below!
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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make
Are you completely new to networking?
Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.
It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?
Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.
Rock up with confidence
If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.
Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!
Where to go networking
If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.
For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!
If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.
Get more leads and referrals
This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.
Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.
When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!
Grow your business
By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.
We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.
2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.
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