A key attribute of a successful entrepreneur is his ability to make a request or ask questions. Even though this may seem like an obvious distinction, many entrepreneurs underestimate the power of asking.
The consequences of not asking can affect the progress of your entrepreneurial venture. Many entrepreneurs are still stuck in this notion of trying to become successful without asking for help. Unfortunately for them, they will struggle to get out of square one.
Successful entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates all owe their fortunes to their ability of making requests and asking the right questions. They all know the power of asking has helped them achieved their goals; their accomplishment were not carried out by themselves alone.
The power of asking will serve you greatly on your path towards entrepreneurial success. If you need further convincing, here are seven benefits of making requests and asking questions.
1. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
No one will know what you want if you don’t ask. It is as simple as that.
A major obstacle that many entrepreneurs face when they ask someone is the feeling of shyness and intimidation. You will be pleased to know that every successful entrepreneur was in the same boat before they made their first request.
A good way to overcome shyness or intimidation is to remember there is no harm in asking. The worst that can happen when you ask someone is that they will say “no.”
2. You save time.
You can save a lot of time by asking for help. Many successful entrepreneurs will agree with this benefit.
In 1969, a young Sir Richard Branson was arrested and spent a night in jail for smuggling a stack of vinyl records through British customs. He did this to avoid paying taxes. Fortunately for Sir Richard, the officials did not press any charges against him. In his autobiography, Branson wrote that after being released from jail, he learned a valuable lesson in asking people for help. If Branson had asked someone for advice on how to pay less taxes through a legal route, he would not have wasted so much time travelling and smuggling records into the country.
In order for you to save time, make a list of key tasks within your project that you are not fully comfortable in completing. It is important that you are honest with yourself when you make this list. Then ask the relevant people in your network on how to complete those tasks without wasting so much time.
3. You get better at negotiating.
Not everyone is going to comply to your request, but the power of asking will help to improve your negotiations skills. You can improve your negotiation skills by adding a favor in return of your request. For example, if you are a website designer and you ask a caterer for their services at a discounted rate, you can add in a favor of developing their website at a discounted rate.
4. You build better professional relations.
It helps to understand both your colleagues and collaborative partners in the long-run. By establishing strong professional relations, your collaborative projects will be completed on time. You can build strong relations by asking your colleagues about their work habits and their strengths. Using this valuable information, you can develop a plan that can work around their unique traits.
5. You build strong customer relations.
An entrepreneur cannot succeed without his customers. Successful entrepreneurs know the true value of understanding their customers by simply asking them. Regularly interacting with your customers can reveal what is really in demand in your segment of the market. Thanks to social media, you can easily interact with your customers and retrieve feedback straight away.
6. Asking gives you a competitive edge over non-askers.
There is an old saying that many entrepreneurs still believe in and it goes:
“The world belongs to the takers.”
The above quote is far from the truth. The world of entrepreneurship and business really belongs to “askers.”
A majority of entrepreneurs don’t take the time in making requests or asking questions. They settle for what is given to them. But you should use this to your advantage; entrepreneurs who are not afraid to ask will get what they want and they don’t settle for anything less. Be different; put yourself out there.
7. You get out of your comfort zone.
This is a big benefit. The power of asking can get you out of your comfort zone. It encourages you to interact with different people and helps you overcome any feeling of shyness/intimidation. The more people you interact with, the more requests you can make.
How to prepare yourself to make requests or ask questions.
The benefits written above show that entrepreneurs who ask around will progress much further on life. To help you start preparing your requests and questions, here are a few handy tips.
1. Know what you want.
This is key. If you don’t know what you want, then you will not know what to ask. It is as simple as that. To know what you want, get a pen and paper and write down your main entrepreneurial objectives. Then write a list of suitable questions and requests that will help you achieve your objective. Ensure your questions and requests are politely worded; a “please” and a “thank you” can go a long way.
2. Find out who to ask and where to find them.
Only certain people will be able to comply to your request or question. If your request or question is about web design, then you need to ask a web developer/designer. A key tip to help you find the right person is knowing where they congregate. People who share a similar skill will congregate together often, usually at networking events or online forums. Do some research on these networking events and online forums, then take necessary action.
3. Go out and ask.
Mastering the power of asking takes trial and error. It is crucial to maintain a positive mindset when you start asking around. If you have experienced a string of rejections, use this an opportunity to review your questions/requests and see how they can be improved. Asking is a skill, it takes practice to master it.
Featured photo credit: Roo Reynolds via farm3.staticflickr.com
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