Innovators are known for their idea channels. Novel ideas and collaboration give entrepreneurs the inspiration and guidance that groundbreaking work requires.
As an investor, it’s easy to think that the market for ideas is solely the property of the innovator. But creating an easily flowing current of opportunities is just as essential for an investor as an innovator. Without a constant flood of opportunities coming through the door, you can’t establish a position to weed out the average from the exceptional. Exceptional ideas grow your capital – unexceptional ones don’t.
Here are three steps you can take to better foster opportunity for your portfolio:
Keep your office open to new ideas.
At Provident, I have cultivated a reputation for keeping my doors open to “idea” people. I will take a look at any deal, no matter how off the wall it might be. In my office, you aren’t going to be shamed for a crazy idea. My greatest successes have come from the deal guys who have had every other door shut.
So, create space for new ideas to be brought through your doors. The people around you are your best source for new investments and ideas. But people have a tendency to assume that investors typically stick to what they know and don’t frequently venture outside their comfort zone. If you’re going to have a community that is rich with opportunities, you have to demonstrate to people that your curiosities extend beyond what you currently know.
Show your peers that you are curious about investing in new areas and exploring other options. Discuss innovative ideas, news of groundbreaking deals being made, and unexpected solutions. Give everyone confidence that if they bring you an idea that you don’t like, you won’t shut them down and there won’t be backlash for their thought. Very few people take personal offense at kindly being told that you aren’t in a place to make something happen. On the other hand, if you give people reason to feel undervalued when they bring in an idea that doesn’t fit, they will quickly stop bringing you any ideas at all.
Get involved in other people’s personal initiatives.
Getting involved in someone’s cause builds community and trust. If people are the best source of opportunities, growing strong and diverse ties is critical to your idea flow. Strong friendships give people a reason to bring opportunities to you. We want to share good things with people that we care about. If someone isn’t certain that you are concerned with their causes and beliefs, it isn’t likely that they will concern themselves with yours.
Giving your time to someone shows them that you’re not just in it for yourself. As a business person of any kind, it’s easy to give people the impression that you are in it for yourself. But success is sweetest when it’s shared. If you want people to share with you, you have to be willing to share in their causes.
Use your intuition as your guide through risks.
New opportunities require operating in spaces you’re unfamiliar with. An informed intuition is your best asset in unfamiliar territory. As human beings, our gut instinct is what equips us to operate in unfamiliar territories. It’s what allowed us to adapt so well throughout history to changing circumstances and new challenges. If you’ve done the best analysis possible to inform your decisions, your intuition is worth trusting.
Your intuition is often a better judge of the unquantifiable. The integrity of the people you are working with cannot be reduced to a numeric value; neither can the value of finding people with integrity to work with. Even someone’s personal track record or recommendations cannot completely ensure their behavior. As elements like integrity and creativity always play into the riskiness of a particular investment, an informed intuition might be your best asset for determining which investment is worth making.
An investor who is committed to a particular industry or style could be highly successful. However, for the majority of us, a little more adventurousness is required to find those brilliant investment opportunities. They arrive infrequently and subtly, but cultivating a strong idea channel is paramount to finding a pearl.
Investment and innovation differ substantially in who they attract, their processes, and their goals. But whether you’re an innovator or investor, developing a free flowing and open community of ideas and opportunities will give you a foundation for success.
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