It’s been a tough 18 months for South Africa’s entrepreneurs. Out of the frying pan of the sluggish economy, into the fire of the Covid-19 pandemic. Priorities have shifted, probably forever. Businesses have shut, new ones have started. As a result, there’s never been a better time to take our businesses, and ourselves, to the next level of success.
Fact is, entrepreneurs thrive on solving problems. That’s what we do. And if the chaos of the pandemic has done anything, it’s created a new set of problems. Problems that didn’t even exist a year ago. In fact, the businesses and entrepreneurs who succeed in the post-pandemic world will be those who are able to best solve the problems of the ‘new normal’.
Simply solving problems alone isn’t going to make you successful, though. Maybe it’s the pressures of trying to survive in a tough environment. Maybe we’re all a bit Covid battle-scarred. But I’m seeing a lot of my fellow entrepreneurs stagnating right now. They’re so fixated on solving problems, and surviving, that they’re not stopping to ask which problems they should be solving, and why.
Here’s the thing. The best-performing entrepreneurs know that success isn’t necessarily about having more challenges. It’s about having bigger, better, more audacious challenges. It’s about solving more complex problems. They go out of their way to make themselves uncomfortable. That’s what drives them. That’s how they constantly grow.
Superstar leadership consultant Rich Livtin talks about this in an excellent article, 30 counterintuitive ways to get to your next level of success. His advice – admit that you’re addicted to solving problems, and start finding people who can solve them for you. My favorite take-outs that are guaranteed to tear you out of your comfort zone and set you on the road to the next level of success include:
Ask who you want to be in 10 years. Then travel through a time warp by doing what that person would do – right now. The pandemic has already been a catalyst in accelerating everything. Why not use it to accelerate our success as well?
Stop doing everything that’s not in your ‘Zone of Genius’. Spend most of your time doing only the 1-3 things that make you feel most alive. This is strongly related to the next point:
Make a list of everything that drains you and everything that energises you. Stop doing everything that drains you. Double down on everything that energises you. You will see the results immediately. In your business. In your life. Which leads us to:
Say Hell No to everything that’s not a Hell Yes! As entrepreneurs, we have limited time and resources. Let’s not waste our lives and our talents being lukewarm.
Spend time with people who are 25 years ahead of you in terms of success. Most of them will be 25 years older than you. Some of them will be 10 years younger than you. Make sure to leverage your time spent.
Think of the top 10% of your clients. Then make it your mission to have 100% of your clients be like them within the next 12 months.
Spend money on things that make your life effortless. I love this. Value your time. And use every means possible to maximise it.
Be in it for the long haul. Choose a mission to commit to for the next 25 years. Your secret weapon will be the patient execution of what everyone else knows they should be doing.
Prioritise your health, your relationships and your family above your business success. They are your true measure of success. After a recent personal health scare linked to Covid, this has never rung truer for me.
So let’s get off our self-imposed hamster wheels. Let’s level up our challenges, and the size and importance of the problems that we choose to solve. Our next level success depends on it.
Dov Girnun, founder and CEO of Merchant Capital