Starting a business is a huge risk and endeavor with a lot of luck needed for success. Making sure you are doing everything to increase your luck is key. Having a bias toward action, the ability to build a strong network, and the ability to sell are key to your success. They will increase your chances of getting lucky and being successful, by increasing your interactions and focusing your efforts.
A Bias Towards Action
A bias towards action simply means that you lean towards taking risks and doing or solving, instead of overthinking or waiting for things to change. As a founder of a business, failing fast with many different experiments is critical to getting lucky and finding the missing pieces in your business to reduce the overall risk of your business. Falling into traps of overthinking, not reacting to new data, or hoping things will get better will kill your business by increasing risk by letting your problems build up and get worse. If you are not sure that you or your team have a bias for action, Deloitte mentions a couple of things to keep a look out for that are key to a business's survival and growth:
We are slow at putting our ideas into action; we focus on process (for example, stage gates) more than the results we are trying to achieve
There is no time to tinker, prototyping new ideas feel high risk, and failure is frowned upon
If your team or you have these issues, it is definitely time to make some changes and allow you and your team to take more risks to get more results. A big warning though, a bias toward action does not mean acting without direction or prioritization. Make sure you and your team's actions are aligned with your overall plan for success.
Networking is typically viewed as “the thing salespeople do” and is often looked down upon as a shady and transactional activity. If you aren’t doing it as a founder, you are limiting your potential as every successful founder happened because of the people around them. Networking will cause you to bump into different people with various skills, perspectives, and friends that could lead to you getting lucky and finding your next new hire, product idea, or mentor. Just like you though, no one wants their first meeting with someone to be transactional and shady, so a big tip here is to go into meeting someone with an open mind wanting to learn more about them, and to focus on how you can help them. If you focus on who they are and what they need help with, you will be a friend, and not some person asking for things. A secondary effect of being helpful and networking is that you will get to the point where you are able to make introductions between people in your network, and soon people will be doing the same for you. Meaning your network will introduce you to other people, making it easier and faster to continue to grow your network.
Ability to Sell
Selling is one of those skills that is overly simplified to the 1% of the actions done. Selling is not only about getting others to give you their money for your product or service. Selling is an entire process where you:
Targeting; Figuring out who your target customer is
Prospecting; Learning where to find and how to effectively reach them
Consulting; Finding out how you can help and provide value to them
Negotiating; Finding the right price
Closing; Getting everyone to agree and sign
Delivering; Fulfill the promises from the deal (both sides)
Supporting and Up-selling; Follow-up, support, and find other needs
Each step is important and ignoring any step will result in wasted time and failure during the next steps. If you can figure out a small piece of each step, it will allow you to focus your efforts on the right people and things to say. This focus will increase your luck with the people you are talking to until you finally get a sale.
A big note here is that most people think selling only happens with your product or service, but don’t forget that recruiting people to your team, finding investors, and even finding business partners will require you to go through this selling process. Being good at the selling process will help in every aspect of your business.
Having a successful business is all about reducing risk and increasing your chances of getting lucky. Make sure you are not your biggest obstacle by setting yourself up for success with a bias towards action, continuously networking, and making sure you are working on each part of the selling process.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” - Seneca, Roman philosopher
Biased to Action
Deeper write up on what it means to have a bias for action
Deloitte's full article on how to implement processes to foster Bias for Action in your business
Tips from Jason Calacanis and Jeffrey Pfeffer
Tips from Harvard Business Review
Ability to Sell
Sandler Selling Process/Method
Challenger Selling Method
Hubspot Deep Dive of creating a selling process