The Two Most Important Words in Comedy and Business
“Yes, and…” is the most important phrase in improvisation, and, as an entrepreneur, those words are music to my ears.
Entrepreneurs are wired differently.
Why on earth would you choose to live and breathe your work for, at the beginning, less reward than those you serve? It’s because we have to. It’s who we are. We are obsessed with what could be. And by this point, we can’t go back. The entrepreneurial adventure has rendered us unemployable.
As an entrepreneur, there is no to-do list.
No one is checking that you got X done and are starting on Y. No one is going to help you with the proposal unless you specifically ask and outline. No one is going to think around your problems.
What you need is momentum.
You need someone who’s going to give a “Yes, and…” to your “What if…?”
Entrepreneurs need someone who’s going to give a “Yes, and…” to their “What if…” Click To Tweet They say starting up with a partner is easier, and I get that. I used to have one, now I don’t. I figured I could just hire talent to make up for his absence. While you can hire talent to do a job, momentum is harder. You need to get to your daily dose of “Yes, and…”, and so often hiring in-house talent leads to “No, because…” because they are not obsessed with the possibilities the way you are.
“No, because…” kills me.
As the leader of my merry band, I struggle night and day to keep the vision before me clear and unimpeded, for them and for me. I’m constantly removing obstacles, thinking of new ways, and activating new ideas. As an entrepreneur, and business owner, there’s nothing more disheartening than being faced with a barrage of “No, because…”.
Okay, yes, asking for a new website to be designed and coded over a lunch hour is a tall order. But how about an alternate suggestion that demonstrates that you understand the underlying needs of the business? Because, honestly, I am not concerned about the logistics of what I am asking for, I am simply telling you what needs to happen.
It’s a version of “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”
When entrepreneurs have to use muscles they don’t much like using — like the “myopic-problem-solving” muscle, or the “let-me-Google-that-for-you” muscle — we lose momentum. Precious momentum. And I don’t think we recognize it. I think we need a support group.
So how can we maximize our momentum?
Maximizing momentum is best done with a group of like-minded people with common goals.
Relying on other businesses to execute services is an easy way to boost your momentum because the relationship is symbiotic. Your success is theirs, and theirs can certainly be yours.
You’ll have to hire eventually if you want to scale, but the costs associated with recruiting are high — time, money and opportunity. Harvard Business School suggests it takes a middle manager 6.2 months before they break even on ROI. Hiring is difficult, and the wrong hire — even if you catch it fast — still costs time and money, not to mention lost opportunity.
Wouldn’t it be easier to “outsource” the services needed to build momentum?
In doing so, you’re not only outsourcing the tasks; you’re outsourcing the headache.
Whether it’s administration, benefits, daily management, organization or technology, outsourcing means you vastly simplify your connection points, and you get better advice from professionals whose success is tied to your own. It’s almost like a partner, except you still call all the shots.
Ultimately, your business’ success will come down to you. Give yourself the best possible chance by conserving your energies and spending them on the right things. Surround yourself with a culture of “Yes, and…” whether that’s partner businesses or invested parties, and don’t fall victim to the friction of “No, because…”.
About the Author: Tanya Korpi Macleod is the founder of Minneapolis-based Macleod & Co. After more than 25 years of marketing and advertising experience in the U.S. and Europe, Tanya noticed the chasm that often exists between an organization’s theoretical marketing “plan” and its realistic ability to execute it. This led her to pioneer in the concept of “holistic marketing,” which redefines marketing as the complete process of bringing a product, service or company from inception to maximum ongoing profitability. Her mission is to show organizational leaders that a holistic mindset not only promotes a healthier culture, but a more profitable business.