Some of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs have made a habit out of being successful. There are those that even make it look easy. However, do not confuse their success with dumb-luck. The majority of successful business owners worked very hard to get to where they are today. Along the way, many have developed habits to help them emulate previous successes, or even avoid repeating failures. Either way, these habits warrant your attention, and could be just what your business needs to thrive.
In part one of our series, we discussed some of the most important habits our partners at CT Homes have developed to stay ahead of the game. Now, we are proud to announce the remaining four. Here are the final four habits you need to develop as an entrepreneur:
4. Think Win-Win
We have been raised in a world where the concept of a win-win scenario is as foreign to us as, well, a foreign language. It is in our nature to be competitive, and to want to win. It is the driving force of many successful entrepreneurs across the globe. There is no shame in wanting to do better than others, nor should there ever be. Ambition is perhaps the single most important aspect that defines a person’s character. However, “winning” is inherently flawed, at least according to today’s entrepreneurial standards. For one person to win, another – by definition – must lose. Entrepreneurship becomes a zero-sum game when there is a finite goal.
It is time to reevaluate the general consensus. Of course, winning is great, but is it the best-case scenario?
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world would argue that a cooperative landscape, as opposed to a competitive one, is more conducive to a healthy business infrastructure. Mutually beneficial actions assist the whole, not just the individual. In its truest form, a win-win scenario is the result of said interactions. Each individual in a respective transaction is working towards the same goal, and, therefore, helping each other. As an entrepreneur looking to get your business off the ground, there is no better way to get ahead than to collaborate with others that have your best interests in mind.
Real estate, in particular, is as much about people as it is about business. As I am sure you have heard before, the real estate industry is a people business – and it must be approached as such. There is perhaps no greater tool to an investor than the people he or she works with. It is in your best interest to forge as many strong relationships as possible.
In able to create a win-win scenario, you must be able to demonstrate certain character traits. It is character, after all, that should dictate your “code” for human interaction and collaboration. The ideal candidate for a win-win attitude will demonstrate a propensity towards the following traits:
- Integrity: Committing to what you believe in.
- Maturity: Simultaneously expressing your opinions and minding the feelings of others.
- Abundance Mentality: Understanding that there is plenty of work to go around.
Now, more than ever, is the time to detach yourself from the concept of either/or: gone are the days in which you need to choose between nice and strict. Today’s business landscape requires both. Some of the finest business owners the real estate industry has to offer understand that win-win scenarios are the culmination of both courage and consideration. In creating a win-win scenario, you are solidifying yourself as a colleague others will want to work with.
5. Understand, So That You May Be Understood
There is perhaps no greater enemy to the entrepreneur than ignorance. A distinct lack of knowledge or information can essentially ruin one’s career before it even gets started. However, ignorance can take many forms. More entrepreneurs than I would like to admit do not have an adequate understanding of the field they represent. Some might think they know everything, when – in fact – they know very little. Some may even think ignorance is bliss, but they couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, ignorance can just as easily represent a failed attempt at communicating. Failing to understand where someone else is coming from is the equivalent of disregarding him or her altogether. It is perhaps the worst form of ignorance there is, or at least for an entrepreneur looking to expand their business. Again, most businesses are built on relationships. How can you expect to build a working rapport with anyone that you don’t understand? More importantly, why would they want to work with you if you aren’t willing to understand their point of view?
You must first seek to understand, so that your own perspective may be understood. Proper communication is a key part to any business relationship.
As it is in life, communication is an essential skillset in business. That is why we are taught how to read, write and speak from such an early age. But what about listening? Listening is just as important as speaking when two people are trying to communicate. You can’t have one without the other.
Not unlike most people, you probably prioritize your opinion over others; you want to get your point across. Everyone is guilty of it at one point or another. As a result, you may ignore the other person completely. That is because you are probably listening with the intent to reply, not to understand. Chances are you had a response in the chamber before they even validated their point. You filter everything you hear through your frame of reference and make a decision. Consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes. Does any of this ring a bell?
As an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to rid yourself of this destructive habit. Do not listen with the intent to reply. Simply listen to understand. Only then will you truly understand what others are trying to say. Your subsequent understanding of a respective individual will only help you to be understood. Make an effort to understand those you work with.
At the risk of sounding redundant, some of the most successful business models revolve around the idea of cooperation. The collaborative effort of two or more parties almost always outperforms the individual. That said, teamwork could increase productivity and account for new solutions to old problems. However, a team-oriented work environment isn’t something that is formed over night. It is something that takes time to establish.
Synergy within a company is something that even the most successful entrepreneurs have a hard time emulating. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and be better off for it. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their personal experience and expertise to the table. Combined, a team should be able to produce better results than the individual. It is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The hard part is duplicating the whole.
The true secret to synergy is acceptance: the valuation of other people’s differences. Differences should be seen as strengths, not weaknesses. Each individual team member should compliment another, and be able to contribute to the final product. However, it is the sense of belonging to a team that cements the synergistic concept.
Allow your workplace to foster a healthy work environment, for you and your employees. Promote interactions and team bonding. The results will surprise you, and could go a long way in helping your company. The appreciation you show your team will surely be reciprocated.
7. Reflect & Repair Deficiencies
Whether you are a relatively green investor with little to no work experience or a seasoned veteran, it is always in your best interest to stay at the top of your game. In other words, it is never a bad time to reevaluate your current position and make adjustments accordingly – as long as they are for the right reasons. Do not make changes just to make changes.
One of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur is to set up of a series of checks and balances that keep your mind and body sharp. The minute you are complacent, you will start to slip. Therefore, it is always important to preserve and enhance your greatest asset: yourself.
Focus on maintaining a balanced life. There are four areas, in particular, that deserve your utmost attention:
In properly maintaining these four areas, you are promoting growth and change in your life. In fact, with the proper dedication, keeping your mind and body sharp will assist you in establish the six previous habits we have discussed up to this point. It is more than likely that these physical and mental attributes will increase your capacity to handle challenges that present themselves. Conversely, neglecting to keep your mind and body working efficiently will result in the opposite. Without adequate physical and emotional health, the simplest tasks can seem monotonous and downright exhausting.
Of course, feeling good is the result of a disciplined lifestyle. It is not something that will happen over night. It is entirely up to you to renew yourself. Find out which of your attributes need improving upon and make it happen. With the proper desire, knowledge and skill, you may be able to turn your greatest weakness into a prominent strength.