Have you ever looked at another business that does the same thing as yours but has clients all around the world and felt just a tiny bit jealous?
Why are some companies international rockstars while others are plodding along, just getting by with clients in one city or one state?
Do the rockstars have more money? Better ideas? Bigger investors? Well maybe, but here’s what I think the real issue is.
It’s all about mindset.
The plodders are playing a small game. They’re so bogged down in the detail, so focussed on “getting it right” at home that they never look up from what they’re doing and see what opportunities are out there for them to play a bigger game in the international space.
Even if they happen to stumble on an opportunity, the plodders are doubtful, hesitant and nervous. They’re listening to that small, internal voice that says
And so the plodders stay home and plod along. They do ok, there are no disasters, but they never do anything phenomenal. And if they have big dreams, they stay firmly in their box on the shelf, which is where dreams belong, right?
The rockstars, on the other hand, are all over the bigger game. They’re seeing the international opportunities and they’re just going out there and seizing them.
This doesn’t mean that the rockstars always succeed, or that they get it right first time when they launch an international adventure or start some other groundbreaking project. But it does mean that they are open to new ideas, to taking risks and to the possibility that their idea might blow up in their face. They go ahead anywhere.
One of my favourite examples of this is the story of how Richard Branson started Virgin Airlines (as told to Tim Ferriss recently).
This episode prompted Branson to call a contact at Boeing the following day and convince the company to sell him a second-hand aircraft. And so Virgin Airlines was born. A little later in the interview, which you can listen to here, Richard Branson and Tim Ferriss go on to talk about how Branson mitigated the risk of making the audacious decision to go into airlines – an industry he knew nothing about.
Branson’s story is an extreme example, but the principle applies to all entrepreneurs – new international ventures and ground-breaking developments don’t happen by staying home and playing it safe. Rockstars are risk-takers.
So, if you’ve got a dream to do something big with your company “one day”, don’t leave it for “some day”, because that day might never come. Get out there, look around, educate yourself on the opportunities, work out how to mitigate the risks and then, jump in.