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Think Like an Entrepreneur

a chess game which has similarities to having to think like an entrepreneur“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” ~ Ancient Proverb.

“Begin with the end in mind. Then put first things first.” Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*.

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In business school, we’re taught to define our goals, given our available resources, and then find the critical path to reach them. This is called causal or predictive reasoning, according to Saras Sarasvathy.

She teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia and is the author of Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise and recently released an updated version of this book in paperback.

She says that successful entrepreneurs don’t think like MBAs. In fact, they do the opposite. They use effectual reasoning. Entrepreneurs who reach bigg success use the resources available to them. They let goals manifest themselves over time given their creativity, direction and connections.

Entrepreneurs think differently than MBAs

There’s a great article on Harvard Business  site about Dr. Sarasvathy’s research. It asks if MBAs or entrepreneurs are better suited for today’s business realities. Bill Taylor, the author, says it simply:

  • MBAs focus on the upside; entrepreneurs focus on the downside.
  • MBAs assume it’s a zero-sum game; entrepreneurs think win – win.
  • MBAs thrive on certainty; entrepreneurs thrive on uncertainty.

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george I’m even more confused than usual. I just don’t know what to think since I sort of fit into both categories!

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marylynn
Do you feel like you’re getting pulled in both directions at once, George?

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george
I feel like I’m getting stretched like Stretch Armstrong!

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marylynnWell, there is an answer. You just have to know when to use causal reasoning and when to think effectually.

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We define bigg success as life on your own terms. You are the entrepreneur of an incredible enterprise – your life – whether or not you’re an entrepreneur in the traditional definition of the word.

That’s why we think this research is so fitting not just for business owners, but for everyone:

When things are uncertain, think like an entrepreneur.

It appears that, in the years ahead, we need to expect more of the unexpected. Entrepreneurs don’t bother trying to predict the future; they create it.

How do they do that?

They act and adapt.

They use the resources they have to try something. If it doesn’t work, they take the knowledge they gained and try something else.

If it does work, they keep pushing it. As their enterprise grows, when there is more at stake, they may switch to more causal reasoning. Or they may jump ship and start the whole thing over!

Because to many entrepreneurs, the journey is the reward. That mindset often leads to bigg success.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time as we discuss when the dream becomes a nightmare. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Is Entrepreneurship the Fountain of Youth?

one You probably intuitively know this but studies have proven it as well – our willingness to take risks declines with age. A banker we know says that the difference between junior lenders and senior lenders is …

Junior lenders want as high a lending authority as possible because that shows confidence in their abilities. Senior lenders want as low a lending authority as possible because that gives them cover!

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Entrepreneurs are hot about hot decisions

Scientists at the University of Cambridge recently released a study on “cold” and “hot” decisions by two groups – managers and entrepreneurs. By their definition, “cold” decisions involve little emotional involvement whereas “hot” decisions involved taking risk. The outcome of these hot decisions is unknown in advance; it could go either way – good or bad.

Both the managers and the entrepreneurs in the study were about 50 years old, on average. The researchers found that the managers took risks consistent with their age.

Entrepreneurs, however, made hot decisions –
accepted risk – like someone twenty years younger.

So we can only conclude that entrepreneurship is the fountain of youth. By taking risks, we act younger than we are!

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marylynn
I thought taking risk was the cause of some of the gray hairs I have to cover!

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george
And I thought it was the reason I have a lot less hair than I used to!

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We know that, right now, a lot of us aren’t in a risk-taking mood. But if the past is any indicator, it will be risk-taking entrepreneurs that turn our economy around and start creating jobs.

Risk-taking can be learned

This study also showed that risk-taking can be learned. So you can tap into the fountain of youth by learning how entrepreneurs are able to manage the risk they take.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs aren’t risk lovers. They are willing to accept moderate risks, in general. However, as we see again in this study, they’re more willing to accept risk than the general population. We can think of four reasons why they do this:

Entrepreneurs may read the situation differently.

They often have insights that people on the outside don’t have so they’re able to interpret the situation differently. We may look at a situation and see a lot of risk. The entrepreneur knows it’s much less risky because of his or her unique knowledge.

Entrepreneurs aren’t paralyzed by risk.

Many people are willing to do everything right up to the point of taking action. They develop analysis paralysis and never pull the trigger. Entrepreneurs analyze to a point, but then they just go.

Entrepreneurs are often able to shift a portion of the risk to others.

It could be the firm’s employees, customers, vendors, or financiers. As entrepreneurs get others to buy in, no matter what the form, the level of risk they are taking goes down to a manageable level. Then they know they can act.

Entrepreneurs are able to handle and live with “entrepreneurial terror.”

They can handle the stress that comes along with the risk. They are able to ride the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride.

So what we learned today is that entrepreneurs don’t act their age. And that’s one of the secrets to their bigg success!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we talk about another study that shows that a happy friend is worth $20,000 in the bank! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image by Kreon)

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

tribes
On The Bigg Success Show, we’ve been talking with Seth Godin about his incredible new book, Tribes. So far we’ve discussed:

Part I: what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why quality trumps quantity

Part II: why Seth became a leader, the power of one, and the importance of leverage

Today we wrap up our conversation. Let’s get to it!

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Change and chaos creates opportunity

Read more

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 2

tribes Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued chatting with Seth Godin about his great new book Tribes. Last time, Seth told us what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why the quality of a tribe is more important than its quantity.

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Why Seth became a leader

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marylynnSeth, you said that a leader connects the tribe and gives them a voice. Obviously, you’re the leader of a tribe. What motivated you to be a leader?

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seth_godinWhen I see things that are broken or aren’t the way they should be, when I see wasted resources and talent, it bothers me. I want to do something about it. I want to talk about it. I want to point it out. I want to help people see that there’s a different path. What I discovered, mostly from my blog over the last six or seven years, is that there are other people like me who are itching to make a difference. All I do is tell people stuff they already knew. All I do is give names to things that are already out there. But by giving it a name, by talking about it, I’m allowing people to say, “That’s right. The emperor has no clothes.” I’m allowing people to go to their boss and talk about remarkable products in a clever way or go to their boss and talk about treating people with respect instead of spamming them. By giving people this ammunition, what I’ve discovered is that I thought they were doing something for me, by letting me influence the discussion. They’re actually doing something for themselves because they, even more than I, want to see these things fixed and improved so they reach their potential.

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The Power of One

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georgeWell Seth, you’re being very humble when you say that you’re just saying things that other people have said. I think you say them in a way that cuts through and clarifies so we all understand. One of the things you talk about in Tribes is the power of one.

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seth_godinHere’s the bad news – there’s all this leverage. There’s all this opportunity. If it doesn’t cost any money to find and lead and connect a tribe, if you can start your own online radio or TV show, if you can have your own blog, if you can use Meetup to connect people in 500 cities, if it’s all available and then you don’t do it, you can’t blame anybody else. That’s your choice. The punch line of the book is this is now an obligation. It’s an obligation – for anyone who cares, for anyone who wants to see change happen – for them to go make that change. One person is all that it takes to change the agenda, to keep people out of poverty, to change the way your school district works, or to get elected. One person is able to now leverage the work and enthusiasm and passion of hundreds or thousands of people.

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The future is about leverage

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georgeWe’ve gone through this recent financial crisis. Partly it’s a result of too much leverage. So in a financial sense, we can look at leverage as perhaps a bad thing. But you talk in your book about leverage and how leverage as a leader can help you impact change for the good.

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seth_godinWell, let’s be really clear though. Leverage isn’t good or bad. Leverage is the way tools work. If you have bad intent, if you have selfish intent, if you have non-transparent intent, you can do all sorts of horrible things with tribes. We’ve seen racism and all sorts of other things amplified by this sort of leverage. The problem in our financial community is not because of leverage. The problem in our financial community is that selfish individuals made short-term decisions in the dark without telling everyone what they were doing. Leverage is the only thing that’s going to get us out of this financial problem and it will. Our future is now all about leverage. Our future is about the fact that one person in Tucson can have a clever idea and have it designed by someone in India, built by someone in Guatemala, and sold by someone in Buenos Aires. That’s extraordinary because we can do that in two weeks instead of two years. If we have good intent, if we’re willing to stand behind what we’re doing, then I’m incredibly optimistic.

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marylynnHere’s another thing that’s really exciting about this day and age. As you say in the book, marketing used to be about advertising which is expensive. Now to get the word out about that product you created in two weeks, it’s about engaging your tribe. So that makes it less expensive and easier.

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seth_godinIf you look at the most popular blogs in the world, almost all of them did not come from the mainstream media. The people who had all the money, all the access, and all the power, they all failed. Nobody’s going to CBS, The Today Show, or NBC online to hear unique, honest voices. They’re visiting real people, or groups of people – like the “Huffington Posts” of the world – because great ideas win. Great ideas attract enthusiasm and passion. So corporate money doesn’t work the way it used to.

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Seth is also the founder of Squidoo, where you can find a special page about Tribes.

Next time, we’ll wrap up our conversation with Seth. He talks about how change and chaos are creating opportunities for all of us today. We’ll also learn what keeps Seth going. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00254-103008.mp3

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Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

Radio Show Host Charms His Way to the Top

happy On The Bigg Success Show today, we visited with Jordan Harbinger. Jordan left a high-powered Wall Street law firm to start his own business, The Art of Charm. Jordan co-hosts The Pickup Podcast, which is part of The Art of Charm network. He also co-hosts Game On, which airs on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Maxim Channel.

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marylynnJordan, you have such an interesting story. You went to law school and got this great job on Wall Street, but you still weren’t happy?

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jordanOne of the things that people fail to realize is that money definitely does not make people happy. I saw all these people making millions of dollars a year and they were miserable.

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georgeWhat got you to say enough is enough? And how did you come up with the idea?

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jordanI had been doing Pickup Podcast in law school, as a service to give back to people who had taught me a lot of social dynamics skills. It was a really fun hobby because I had wanted to be on the radio since I was about eight years old! By the time I started actually working on Wall Street, I was making quite a bit of money selling products – other people’s video sets, e-books and things like that – on Pickup Podcast. I was also getting advertising revenue. Then I hired a couple of great coaches because we had so much demand from people who wanted to learn more. The coaching thing really took off. We hired a Corporate Director to do the corporate things – organize our business and finances – that I was having trouble doing. So by the time I’d been on Wall Street for just a few months, The Art of Charm was taking off so much that I was already wondering when I could be completely sufficient. Then, due to the mortgage crisis, the law firm I was at offered a severance package if we wanted to leave. I volunteered, got the buyout, and got the heck out of there!

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marylynnSo between the job you had, and the money you were making from Pickup Podcast, you were able to hire and retain really good people. Everything just kept growing and then you were able to cut the ties.

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jordanYeah, I didn’t want to cut the ties with my corporate job until we were pretty sure that things were going to take off and be self-sufficient. Of course, it also didn’t hurt having that nice Wall Street income being funneled right back into the company to help things grow as well.

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georgeJordan, things just keep happening for you. You now have a show on Sirius Satellite Radio called Game On. Tell us about that.

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jordanThat was a “leap and the net will appear” type thing. We were invited to go as guests on another show on Maxim Radio. They didn’t like us at all. They thought we had no idea what we were talking about and there was no way to teach somebody to be successful socially. So we challenged these hosts, on air, that we could help their producer more in eight weeks than they had done in eight months. After eight weeks, he had changed so much. We went back on their show and they ate their words and apologized to us. Everybody in the office thought the producer had improved so much that we must be up to something. So they sent a memo to the executives at Sirius Satellite Radio who offered us a trial show of our own. We did the trial show and just knocked it out of the park. So they offered us our own show on Maxim.

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georgeNow, going back to the coaching, Jordan, I just have to ask – was Will Smith one of your coaches?

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jordanNo, Will Smith was not one of my coaches. It’s funny, though, that people do mention that because my co-host, A.J., is friends with the person who actually wrote Hitch. So it’s largely based on what we do here at The Art of Charm.

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george
It’s a great movie … and it introduces you to the art of charm.

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jordanIn a lot of ways, yeah, only we don’t teach how to go after that specific girl. We teach people how to be more socially successful in every aspect of their lives. It’s not necessarily going after that one girl; it’s going after life.

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marylynnIs there anything else you’d like to leave with our listeners … anything else for those entrepreneurs-to-be?

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jordanDon’t think that you need a special skill set, connections, or even have done it before, to make a successful business happen. You need to be willing to leap and wait for the net to appear. By that, I mean work really hard because, as we know, the harder we work, the luckier we get. So it’s all about starting – starting with your drive and your passion. Once you’ve found it, take it to the limit. Don’t be afraid to go after what you really want, especially young people. You have the idea now. You have the drive now. Don’t worry about being safe and getting a job first. You have your whole life to take a job that you don’t necessarily want. So you might as well go out and create the lifestyle that you want right now.

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george
That’s a great point. I love that advice, except for the hard work part!

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jordanIt really isn’t that hard of work when you are doing what you love every single day. I work a lot of twelve-hour days, six days a week here at The Art of Charm. I don’t even notice it a lot of the time. People were asking me what I was going to do for my vacation and it hadn’t even occurred to me that I needed one!

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Thanks, Jordan, for sharing your story with us!

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Check in next time to find out about something that neither men nor women seem to want as much as we might think they do. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00244-101608.mp3