As businesspeople and networkers, and even in our personal lives, we often make things harder than they need to be. In the business world, there are endless opportunities to learn from the successes and mistakes of others who have ventured into the entrepreneurial waters before we did. There is an abundance of tried-and-true techniques – for communicating, for sales, and general business practices. In fact, there are so many that some of them seem too simplistic to truly be effective.
So, what do we do?
We re-evaluate them, we “improve” upon them, and we overcomplicate them. Possibly worse, we sometimes just abandon the old way and try to start over from scratch. Yet all we succeed in doing is making things harder than they really are.
Often, we think we are smarter than those who came before us. Maybe our egos prevent us from listening to those who have more experience. The trouble with reinventing the wheel is that it exposes us to the danger of history repeating itself.
One of the biggest mistakes that people in business and in sales make is not listening to those who have experience. For some reason, they assume that they themselves know better . . . and the truth is, they don’t. There is nothing like experience; it beats education every day of the week. The only thing better is a combination of education and
experience . . . or a willingness to learn from other people’s experiences.
Avoid the Danger Zone
These are three common warning signs that you may be falling into the danger zone of reinventing the wheel or repeating work.
- Instead of solving a problem, you invent new features to cover it up.
First, it is poor customer service to add features to try and distract from a known issue with a product or service. Instead of wasting time coming up with new features on an old issue, invest the time to investigate the old issue and make minor changes on existing features to elevate the whole product.
- When something with a history doesn’t work perfectly, you think it might be easier to start over.
Without a doubt, there is always a reason why things got to where they currently are. Instead of erasing all the work of those who came before you, do some research. Talk with your predecessors and learn about the motivation that led to the choices that created the current situation. Chances are you will discover the core problem and be able to make strategic moves to target the issue, rather than completely starting over.
- You forget that the wheel you’re thinking about reinventing is a common wheel that many businesspeople are faced with.
Is your wheel unique to you? Or is it something that others in your profession are dealing with? If the latter, it is highly possible that many other people are also working to reinvent that wheel right now. Perhaps it is a standard business practice in your field that simply doesn’t work. Instead of putting forth resources, such as time and money, to tackle it on your own, do research to find out if there is a group in your field that is already exploring the issue. If you are working to forge new paths at the same time others are trying to do the same thing, it’s likely that you could work more effectively as a team and avoid wasting valuable resources.
Simple Ideas Can Have a Big Impact
There are many basic sales techniques that a successful salesperson knows to be effective. They don’t look for something more complicated or involved because they know from their own experience, and from the experience of others, what works in sales and what doesn’t work. If you’ve read my book, Masters of Sales, you may have read things that seemed too simple to be effective, or you may have read ideas that you’ve heard before. Instead of being dismissed, these tactics and ideas should be embraced. Truly successful networkers and businesspeople learn from other people’s success. They remember that it is often the simplest ideas which have the biggest impact.
We can learn from others’ mistakes and avoid dooming ourselves to make the same bad decisions. We can also learn from others’ success and utilize their knowledge and experience so that we don’t reinvent the wheel.
Is there a simple lesson you have learned from another businessperson or fellow networker that has helped you achieve success?
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