My parents always told me that I needed to work hard in order to be successful. As I started growing up, I realized that not only was this not true, but the hardest working people I knew were always struggling and people who weren’t working half as hard were ten times more successful. This made me re-think everything.
I know a lot of rich people and they approach business very differently from the way most entrepreneurs do. Some of them work hard and some of them don’t, but they all work SMART. I know, you’ve heard it before, “working smart is more important than working hard”, but, what does working smart mean anyway?
A friend of mine explained this to me with only one word: “leverage”. He told me that rich people are experts at using other people’s resources and helping them benefit them from the same deals they do.
Other People’s Money
Successful businesspeople know that you don’t need your own money to succeed. A lot of people have a lot of money and they’re just waiting for the perfect opportunity to invest it.
Other People’s Connections
Let’s say you’re trying to get an appointment with the CEO of a venture capital firm. Would it be a lot easier if your partner introduced you to her?
Other People’s Ideas
Successful people get approached all the time by entrepreneurs with great business ideas.
Other People’s Time
Maybe you have the money, an idea and the connections, but don’t have the time to launch a new venture. Well, there are thousands of qualified people out there who have the time to help you.
Other People’s Experience
If you were to open a restaurant, would you rather do it yourself or with someone who already owns five successful restaurants in town?
Last But Not Least – Create Win-Win Situations
Just to be clear: using other people’s resources doesn’t mean that they’re doing you a favor. You have to offer them a deal that works for them too.
Successful businesspeople are connectors. They use other people’s resources to build great things. They see the full picture and put the pieces together. Learn from them and emulate what they do.
A thought provoking act. This is exactly where I draw the line between selfishness and business. Truth is, connectors are great at giving but it’s harder for them to take. I highly recommend reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, where he explains the three types of people who, once connected, can create a buzz, a viral spread of anything. The connectors, the mavens and the salespeople.
Which one are you ?