One of the challenges of being an entrepreneur is that you’re expected to be functionally OK in a wide range of areas — sales, marketing, services, support, operations, engineering, etc. Only, entrepreneurs are typically great at one thing and not good at the other stuff, especially if it doesn’t interest them. Now, this gets even more difficult in that you’re often limited by the best person you’ve personally seen in a specific role.
Seen a good sales leader in action but not a great one? How do you know? What does a great sales leader do that a good one doesn’t do? This is especially tough if you’re in a city or area without a strong startup ecosystem as it’s even harder to find a great person to learn from, even if they aren’t on your team. As much as we like to read blogs (including this one!), there’s a very real human element that comes from seeing greatness in action. One of the best resources to help is a strong mentor, advisor, or investor that’s worked with great people in the desired area. Leaning on someone who knows what greatness looks like is the next best thing to knowing it yourself.
How do you meet more people? Put yourself out there. As Byron Wien says in his life lessons:
Network intensely. Luck plays a big role in life and there is no better way to increase your luck than by knowing as many people as possible. Nurture your network by sending articles, books and emails to people to show you’re thinking about them. Write op-eds and thought pieces for major publications. Organize discussion groups to bring your thoughtful friends together.
The more people you know, the more likely you are to encounter greatness or meet people that are one degree moved from greatness in the area you need the most. While it’s difficult to appreciate without experiencing it, once you’ve worked with a great person in one area, you’ll want a great person for every area.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that entrepreneurs are limited by the best they’ve personally seen?