Do you want to become the next legendary business leader? Do you want to revolutionize the way your entire industry works, or even just be seen and admired as a leader in your field? Then you’ll need to learn to think outside the business box.
Running your business like a visionary isn’t easy. You’ll need to work hard to build a platform for your ideas and look at things a little differently than others in your industry might look at them. You’ll need a spirit of dogged persistence, a belief in the worth of your ideas, and allies who think the way you do.
Build a Platform
No matter what your industry, you’ll have to follow this fundamental rule of success: only those born into wealth and privilege start at the top. The rest of us have to start at the bottom, and claw our way up the ladder rung by painstaking rung. If you want to someday be seen as a visionary in your field, you’ll need to start small, and build your platform one brick at a time.
When you’re just starting out, bring your message to potential followers via trade publications, radio stations, social media, local papers, and even influential (or somewhat influential) bloggers. Small and local mainstream media outlets will want to hear from you, because these outlets are always looking for new content. By reaching out to them, you can get your message out, and start to gain the followers who will take your business to new heights.
Look at Your Industry with an Outsider’s Perspective
Looking at your business with an outsider’s perspective can be valuable. Adopting a new perspective can help you develop new processes and new ways of thinking about old processes that can open your mind to the innovations your industry craves.
Don’t be afraid to challenge industry conventions or try doing things differently. You could discover a brand new way to attract loyal customers, or a new product idea that could revolutionize your industry. Learning to think outside the box is one of the reasons many aspiring business leaders enroll in traditional or no GMAT MBA programs. Business school is a great place to put new business models or avant-garde product ideas to the test, because you’re insulated against failure and have a built-in group of mentors and peers to help you test your ideas.
3) Be Persistent
There’s a reason why they say that overnight success takes ten years. Very few people, visionary or not, reach their goals immediately. That’s why you’ll need to be willing to keep working toward your goals even when the way seems hopeless.
Keep communicating your ideas, even when no one is listening. Learn to speak and write effectively, because promoting yourself and your ideas will be entirely up to you for much longer than you’ll care to imagine. The good news is you’ll have plenty of time to fine-tune your message, and plenty of time to practice your communication skills.
Show the Worth of Your Ideas
One reason you’ll need to hone your communication skills is because you’re going to need to be able to prove to colleagues and customers that your ideas are valuable. Make sure you’re clear on the benefit your ideas can bring to your company, your industry, your clients or customers, and yourself. You’ll be investing years of your life, so make sure you can quantify the return on this investment early in the process.
Ally with Like-Minded Thinkers
Human beings are social animals, and that means no one of us succeeds in a vacuum. If you’re going to become a truly visionary thinker, you’re going to need help from allies. Seek like-minded thinkers to bounce your ideas off of. Leverage your combined input for maximum problem-solving power.
No one is born a visionary; it’s a status you must earn through hard work and dedication. Luckily, that means it’s a title available to almost anyone who’s willing to put in the work. With perseverance, the right education, and the right people around you, you, too, can become a revolutionary business leader.