I recently attended the annual Genius Network event in Phoenix, Arizona. Genius Network is a high-level entrepreneurial mastermind group founded by famed marketer and networker, Joe Polish. The annual event in Arizona gathers all members and a host of high-level speakers, which, this year, included names such as Benjamin Hardy, the highest-viewed author on Medium.com, world-renowned business coach Dan Sullivan, original shark Kevin Harrington, motivational speaker Sean Stephenson, and many more.
Mastermind groups like Genius Network are all about sharing knowledge--and when you have brilliant minds and hundreds of fellow entrepreneurs in the room, it results in breakthrough moments that can propel your business to the next level.
Here are my top takeaways from this year's event.
1. Define your end goal.
Every entrepreneur wants to create a successful business. But what happens after that? Is that really the end goal?
It's important to get extremely clear on what your end goal is. For many, this might mean creating a successful company in order to later sell it. Some entrepreneurs might be looking to create the best product possible. Others may want to create a family business to pass down to their next of kin.
Regardless, we often get so caught up in the day-to-day or month-to-month within our business that we forget about the end goal. You have to take a step back, get clear on what you ultimately want from your business, and make sure everything you're doing is helping you work towards that goal.
2. Be a Prophet, not a God.
Are you the face of your business? Are you the guru? Is your business heavily reliant on you?
If so, you might be the "God" of your business, which sounds a lot cooler than it is. If everything in your business relies on you--whether it's your knowledge, your brand, or your network--you're setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, you want to be the "Prophet" of your business. You want to share your company's message. You want to help people. You want to bring them the solutions they've been looking for. By spreading the message instead of being the message, your company and its product become the focus. That way, if you decide to sell the company at a future date or you need to step away for whatever reason, it will continue to thrive.
3. Ask for help but don't judge the help when it comes.
Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, had an off the cuff remark during one of his talks that resonated with me. He was talking about how entrepreneurs can easily feel sorry for themselves. Everyone loves to complain, and it's easy to play the victim when things aren't going your way.
But when things aren't going your way, there is often help right around the corner. Sometimes it's right in front of your face, but you can't see it because you're too busy complaining. And sometimes you do see it, but you'd rather just complain.
Don't complain. Ask for help when you need it and be thankful for the help you get.
4. Answer the question "why?"
Robert Cialdini, best known as "The Godfather of Influence and Persuasion," had a talk about marketing and persuasion where he went over his seven principles of influence. But what really stuck with me was how he talked about the question, "why?"
As a general rule, human beings have a primal need to know why. This is obvious in the world of science and technology, but it also pertains to marketing--specifically, influence and persuasion within marketing. People need a reason to move forward and accept a recommendation. They need to know why they should buy your product over the competition.
Cialdini went on to explain how you can use social proofing--the idea that if someone doesn't know what to do, they will look to others around them and imitate what they are doing--to discover your "why."
At the most basic level, if people are turning to your business because they have seen others do the same...you need to figure out what they saw. They were able to answer the question "why" based on what they were seeing from others. If you can figure out what that is, you can use it in your own marketing and messaging to further influence your prospects.
5. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely affair... but it doesn't have to be.
The overarching takeaway from my time at Genius Network was that there is immense value in having a support group as an entrepreneur. Things can get lonely when you're working on your business day in and day out--and it's often hard to relate to people who don't know what that's like.
Just being in a room filled with other entrepreneurs can be a gift to your business and your psyche.