shutterstock_254322646The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t narcissistic. They acquire lasting and loyal followers because they invest energy in understanding their customers needs and wants. They’re also aware of the many other factors that influence a person’s decision making, from their job security to their confidence in the economy. These highly effective leaders have a keen attunement to their audience’s values, biases and core struggles and are better at (or merely lucky) when it comes to timing the launch of an idea. These winning entrepreneurs have great ideas, great marketing strategies, competent people to execute their plans and are blessed with good timing.

Become an active listener and seek feedback

Entrepreneurs who are great listeners have a competitive edge in the marketplace. They demonstrate their effectiveness at processing information with potential customers, suppliers and employees. They assure others that they are remembering what others say, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and capture the major themes and key messages from the conversation. Sample phrases might include the following: Here are a couple of key points that I heard from this meeting; here are our points of agreement and disagreement; here are a few more pieces of information we should gather; here are some suggested next steps—what do you think? I like your idea about xyz, can you elaborate on your critique.

The active listeners focus on the person and allow them to fully express their ideas. When they interject in a conversation, they make sure it’s to get the other person to clarify his/her points and then encourages him to return to his narrative. If you want to become an active listener try mirroring back the other person’s thoughts combined with asking astute questions. This will increase your understanding of that person and his/her idea.

How to listen with more empathy?

  1. Slow down
  1. Engage with others rather than endlessly debating
  1. Take the time to hear and learn from others
  1. Ask brilliant questions
  1. Try to understand from their angle
  1. Put your own biases aside while listening

Is your audience ready to hear your idea?

According to Bill Gross who started over 100 start-ups and founder of IdeaLab he says the failure of many companies comes from stretching its resources, taking on too many things and eventually losing focus. But more than any other factor, he says the main reason many good business ideas don’t take off is that their timing is off. The ones who make it have great ideas, well thought out marketing strategy and great timing. So the next time you try to launch a business, focus your attention on your customers needs and to the entire economic landscape that could affect your target population’s buying decisions. This could make the difference between having a successful start-up and business dud.