We all know the danger of blind spots when you’re switching lanes going 75 down Interstate 380. When you have a blind spot impacting your ability to thrive in business, the results can be similarly devastating.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We all have blind spots: limiting beliefs, patterns of behavior and unproductive ways of thinking that are obvious to others but invisible to ourselves. This is especially true for passionate entrepreneurs. We have such a strong expectation for our own success that our desire to be “right” about things clouds our ability to see the “success equation” fully.
The nature of a blind spot is that while others clearly see it, we can’t. Warren Buffet explains “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”
It is evident that finding blind spots is key, but how do you find your blind spots or know when you’ve got them (you probably do?) The very best way is to connect with other people. We all have a certain set of eyes, filters through which we see things. Other business owners will share a lot of the same pain points, have dealt with the same problems and have a unique perspective that can lead to extremely valuable “aha moments.”
It is vital to get outside of your own head in order to get a fresh perspective, trigger your creativity, review information objectively and add new context to the data you are gathering so that you can use it effectively. Going beyond what you do and see each day to explore collaboration can be inspiring and help you think in a new way. Networking is unique in that it provides you an opportunity to share your business with the expectation of feedback. While we are used to presenting our business to our customers, we rarely get honest and complete feedback. With all the websites I have built, I have never had anyone submit a contact form inquiry detailing the reasons why they passed on my offer or leave helpful feedback on how things could be improved or ideas for better presenting my service. At networking meetups this is par for the course. Community Networking Events also help us explore beyond our comfort zone. It is natural to network with similar people that we know, but networking events expand our exposure to people that can offer new ideas and fresh insights. At the One Million Cups event in NewBo they even set time aside to allow anyone to briefly present their business and get feedback. I have yet to see anyone not get tremendous insight from this and I highly recommend it!
One of my biggest mistakes early on was thinking that the same reasons that I pursued web design and internet marketing were the reasons that others would find my services valuable. While every business owner is attracted to the idea of connecting with their customers online and implementing technology in a practical way, very few will be engaged by a complicated explanation of metatags or CSS. They don’t want to become a full-fledged “Geek”, they just want technology to help their business grow and reach a wider audience.
I am excited to be part of a great community of entrepreneurs in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and a member of some amazing groups of wordpress developers and brand strategists online. The valuable insights that I get from learning about other people’s businesses and absorbing the feedback I have gotten about mine has been invaluable. I have every reason to believe that by continuing to engage with my community that I will gain a better understanding of the value that I can bring to the lives of my consumers and a better understanding of how I can help others demonstrate their value.
Craig Rice is a GoDaddy Reseller, website designer and online branding specialist that helps small businesses, organizations, start-ups and entrepreneurs reach a broader audience, generate more website traffic, convert more web visitors into customers and continue to grow their business. He can be reached at https://webambience.com or https://www.facebook.com/webambience/