Why do some entrepreneurs get more opportunities than others? Is it because their business makes more money, or is there a secret the typical person isn’t aware of?
Glenn Sanford, founder of eXp Realty, president of eXp World Holdings and CEO of SUCCESS Enterprises, would rephrase that question. Instead of conflating success with money, he would ask budding entrepreneurs about their relationships. So here’s the new question: Are you using relationships to grow your business or your business to grow relationships? Most people do the first option, but that’s the hardest way to meet people and get opportunities. Using your business to grow your network is more efficient.
In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts, SUCCESS People Editor Tristan Ahumada talks to Sanford about how to get amazing opportunities. Luck plays a small role, but most things don’t happen by accident. Sanford didn’t get the opportunity to buy SUCCESS Magazine or Virbela, the virtual reality platform, by chance. Relationships from one business carry on to the other.
“A lot of this comes down to attitude,” Sanford says. “None of this would have shown up, whether it be my business or whatever, had I not been a positive person, hardworking, built great relationships and included other people in the business.”
Want to create the same results? Do these four things to make your business a magnet for opportunities.
1. Surround yourself with people who push you.
Many entrepreneurs get better by absorbing information. They read books by Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, and experts who understand business. It’s good to study the secrets of success, but don’t get stuck in the learning phase. Apply the lessons and move forward.
This is where a living, breathing mentor can help you out. Nothing beats the experience of in-person tutelage, so find a teacher to inspire your growth.
“When someone pushed me to use [my strengths] at a high level, they finally came out,” Sanford says. “I put the information [into my mind], but it was pulled out in terms of getting me focused and making things happen.”
2. Instead of helping one person, aim for thousands.
Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” It’s great advice, and there are two ways to implement such wisdom. You can help two or three people succeed now and then, which takes more time and scatters your attention. Or you can devise a plan to change thousands of lives at once.
“If I’m not thinking big enough, how many people am I hurting?” Sanford asks. “It’s a crazy way to think. We have 53,000-plus agents in eXp… We might have 300,000 in five years. Think of the size of that enterprise. I would be shortchanging all 300,000 people—along with SUCCESS Enterprises and my other businesses—if I didn’t think bigger. Not for me, personally, but all the agents, brokers, employees and customers.”
3. Don’t follow the money crowd.
Although having lots of money is nice to dream about, solving problems for other people is how you actually earn it. Sometimes it’s a long process. Develop your product or expertise before anything happens, and even then, making money isn’t guaranteed. To survive the ups and downs, your purpose should be bigger than profit.
“I’ve talked to successful people whose focus is making money, and I don’t like to be around those people,” Sanford says. “I like to be around people who want to make an impact, and if money is a byproduct of that—and it’s an important one—then that’s OK.”
As you build relationships, connect with entrepreneurs who know how to create value, not just plans to increase profit.
4. Amplify great ideas.
One person can start a business, but it takes a team of people to grow it bigger each year. If you have employees, listen to their ideas. Support them as they try new things. Create a culture of innovation where there are no bad ideas, just concepts that get sharpened or redirected through discussion.
“There are a lot of leaders [in real estate] who don’t like the idea of agents and brokers building their own events,” Sanford says. “They try to wrest all the control back to corporate, and I don’t understand it…. I’ve always been about, ‘How do we empower? What’s the new economy?’ If you think about Google, Twitter and Facebook, a lot of modern companies operate from a different playbook, where it’s about emerging great ideas wherever they come from.”
Are you open to all suggestions? If not, you might overlook a simple win for your business.