Spontaneity is a Secret Weapon for Entrepreneurs.
They don’t teach you spontaneity in business school, but they should because spontaneity is a springboard to success in business. Don’t believe it? Here are 17 reasons entrepreneurs need to be more spontaneous.
Scholars like Isreal Kirzner have expended countless brain-hours arguing the importance of spontaneity in entrepreneurialism. Without writing a dissertation with pages of citations, the crux of what they’re saying is entrepreneurial alertness, spontaneous learning, serendipitous observation and opportunity discovery are important to entrepreneurial success. In non-academic terms, an entrepreneur needs the ability to spontaneously recognize a million dollar idea or hidden opportunity.
Let’s face it, when we do spontaneous things they don’t always work out. We might find ourselves in a difficult situation. Most of the time, we get out of those situations, we find a way to make the best of it and we move on. Knowing that we have the capacity to fix things or make something of it, builds confidence and takes the fear out of taking a chance. Be more spontaneous and you’ll be more confident in your problem solving abilities.
Risk Taker Training
Being an entrepreneur means you have to be a bit of risk taker. Being spontaneous requires a certain comfort with risk too. So, practice being spontaneous and consider it entrepreneurial training.
The Thrill of the Unknown
There was a rush when you decided to pursue your entrepreneurial dream. After time, that thrill is gone and it’s just a whole lot of hard work. Before you dump what you’re doing in pursuit of the next start-up rush – go do something spontaneous (on a smaller scale than abandoning your business for another) and you’ll quench that thirst for the thrill of the unknown.
In this digital age you can spend ages researching, analyzing and looking at options from every angle. Unfortunately, it’s also a ridiculously fast moving world so while you’re gathering endless data, it’s changing. All of that data overloads you and your decision making ability freezes up. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking sometimes spontaneous decisions are just as good (or better) than well thought-out, scrupulously planned ones. And they’re always better than not being able to make a decision at all.
Sometimes it’s Not a Duck (It Might be Something Better)
You might think that because it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is one. But if you channel your spontaneous side, you might just see it for what it really is and make millions. That’s what the makers of Viagra did when their development of an angina treatment failed but had a very surprising and uplifting side effect.
Right Place & Time is Not Enough
How often do people chalk success up to ‘right place, right time’? There is one more critical element to making that equation magic – being spontaneous enough to recognize the right place, right time as it’s happening and translate it into opportunity. Do you know what the right place and time look like when you don’t react spontaneously to the opportunity? The business equivalent of the fish that got away.
Being an entrepreneur can be really stressful. You know what’s not stressful? Exploring without expectation, being spontaneous and seeing what happens to come your way. It’s a total waste of time and it’s deliciously stress relieving. No worrying about the future because spontaneity happens right now.
Avoid Divorce from Your Business Widow
It can’t be helped. Sometimes the business demands so much from you that you forget your loved one at home needs a little attention too. But who has the time to plan a date night? Spontaneity to the rescue. Forget planning – the next time you have a spare hour or evening, surprise your significant other with a spontaneous outing. Let chance decide where you’ll go. Trust us, surprises are sexy and time with you is all they really want anyway.
Limbering Up the Brain
Routine has a way of lulling us into a dull mental state. Keep those synapses firing by injecting spontaneous breaks into your day. Bust out of the routine, spend some time being spontaneous and in the moment and you’ll be amazed how mentally nimble you feel.
Indecision Aids Decision-Making
Being spontaneous leads to unexpected situations. In those situations, you haven’t got the benefit of reams of data or a team to poll; you just make a decision. You assess the situation, and you make the decision. Now these may not be big decisions but they’ll remind you how to do it. Flex that spontaneity muscle and you’ll be primed for better decision making.
Go With the Flow
Entrepreneurs can sometimes cling to their business plan like it’s a life preserver. Yes, business plans are good but we’re not psychic and when we make those plans, we are making best guesses of the path ahead. When things don’t go as planned, you need to learn how to go with the flow, look for the opportunity and make adjustments as needed. All of these things come more easily to the spontaneous.
Smile. Introduce yourself. Shake a hand. Give your elevator pitch. Ask a question. Offer your card. Move on. Sound like the last networking event you attended? That person with your card is unlikely to remember you, let alone call you. Sorry. Here’s where being spontaneous helps. Spontaneous people are better at being in the moment; they actually meet people and have real conversations. They might even realize that someone else in the room has something in common with the person they’re talking to and offer an introduction. These are the people working the room. These are the people actually networking not just attending a networking event. And, even if you don’t get a call, you’ll have a lot more fun than meeting your card-handout-quota.
Have a Hunch
Call it instinct or a having a hunch but many entrepreneurs credit following their gut with their success. Having a hunch requires being present in the moment, being observant, seeing an opportunity and acting on it (often without sufficient ‘reason’). That’s spontaneity.
Creative inspiration can come from anywhere, but it often doesn’t come from the same-old, same-old routine (aka the rut). If you’re looking for inspiration, you have to change things up and what better way to do that than to go somewhere spontaneously and see what there is to see? Open your mind, be present and inspiration will find you.
There’s a reason it’s called escaping the rat race – because it’s not fun. But many entrepreneurs discover pretty quickly that owning your own business isn’t exactly a carnival either. And, to top it off, there isn’t even time to go to the carnival. That’s where unplanned fun comes in. Spontaneity is just what a busy entrepreneur needs to lighten up a bit. Whether it’s a quick, unplanned coffee date with an old friend or a random date night (that, frankly, you didn’t have time to plan) being spontaneous can really add the fun factor. Besides, isn’t that the main bonus of being your own boss – being able to take a break in the middle of the day to go check out that weird parade going down the street?
Peel the onion of your motivation to become an entrepreneur and at the core you’ll find a desire to be happier. Even if it was a quest for creative expression, being your own boss or getting rich with your million dollar idea – it all boils down to your pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, happiness only exist in the present and entrepreneurs spend very little time there – they’re either looking forward or they’re analysing the past. So, practice spontaneity because you can’t help but be in the moment when being spontaneous and that’s where happiness lives. It’s good to be ‘here’.
There are plenty of other ways that spontaneity helps entrepreneurs find success. How has being more spontaneous helped you build your business?