When was the last time you had a deep conversation with somebody who is not part of your business but fully understands your challenges, ambitions and ideas as an entrepreneur?
As entrepreneurs, we face very different challenges and have different ambitions from most people.
By definition, we are outsiders, rebels and ChangeMakers.
We tend to be surrounded by people who are either part of our business or who think our ambitions and ideas are crazy.
How many people in your circle challenge your ideas, give you a different perspective and celebrate your successes with you instead of envying you?
What is the Box?
The “box” is your business and everything that happens within it. It’s every situation you’re involved in, and every challenge you face.
You may have clients, partners and employees who can give you advice and ideas. The problem is that this input comes from the inside and is by nature limited by the box itself.
Inside the box, ideas and what seems possible are limited by the walls and ceiling of the box. Only an outside perspective can help the impossible become possible – and even doable.
But My Friends Are Outside the Box, Right?
Yes. However, does that automatically mean they are the right people from whom you should seek input and advice?
If you are one of the lucky few who is surrounded by encouraging, optimistic, positive entrepreneurs who challenge you to think bigger and bolder, then you definitely belong to the top 1%.
However, for most entrepreneurs I know, that’s not the case. They are surrounded mostly by well-meaning friends who are good people, but don’t understand entrepreneurial ambitions, big ideas and bold personalities.
Before consulting your best friends and family members for advice, ask yourself whether they really “get” you.
Why Get Outside the Box?
Have you ever faced a challenge you thought was insurmountable and then somebody, who had no idea what happens inside your business, offered an idea that suddenly made the challenge conquerable?
This happens because somebody from outside the box has no walls to limit them. It happens because the outsider has a different perspective and is free of your mental baggage.
What Happens at the Edge of the Box
Sometimes, someone who has no idea about your business brings up a random thought that you then use to overcome a major challenge in your business.
However, if you think about it, it’s not the idea itself that matters. It’s what you do with the idea. The idea – by itself, left outside of the box – has no value. The value comes from taking the idea and enriching your box with it.
For instance, I recently worked with a CEO of a startup with 15 employees. He was drowning in work, 12 hours per day, 7 days a week.
In the two hours we spent together, we talked about how he could free himself of energy-draining work and re-organize his business so that every employee could do what they are best at and love to do – starting with him.
I advised him to get rid of services that make little profit, and offer only the 20% of services that make 80% of the company’s profit and have the biggest impact.
Then we talked about identifying the 20% of clients who generate 80% of the revenue, duplicating them, and getting rid of clients who were a pain in the butt.
Now, the ideas alone would have sounded great. But they were not the most important added value I brought in.
What I helped him conceptualize was a way to adjust and implement those ideas in his business so that they could create the biggest impact.
Ideas alone are not worth much. There are plenty of them around. It’s about discovering “ideas worth acting on”, and then applying them to your business so they create maximum impact.
How to Constantly Live at the Edge of the Box
Imagine if you had your own board of advisors to call on to generate outside-the-box ideas and challenge you to implement them in your business.
How much could you expand your business in the next 12 months? Could you double or even triple its size?
How about your lifestyle goals?
What if your board of advisors challenged you to stay true to your values and actually design the business the way you say you want it to be? It’s unlikely that you’d end up burned out, divorced and forgetting the names of your children.
This board of advisors is sometimes called a “mastermind” or “peer-to-peer” group. It’s a setting where you get together with like-minded peers who share your values, ambitions and who understand your challenges.
It’s a group of people you resonate with, who challenge you to be your best self all the time, and who hold you accountable for the bold goals you set.
I’m putting together a select group of driven, high-performing entrepreneurs in Switzerland who are dedicated to creating massive impact in their businesses and for the people they serve.
If you want to know more, visit the ChangeMakers Hub.
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