One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the entrepreneurial world over the past few decades is the continual increase in complexity that entrepreneurs have to deal with—not only in their own businesses, but in every type of marketplace. This complexity is the result of one thing: the exponential growth of technology.
If you look back to the mid-20th century, life was much simpler. Almost everything was organized on the basis of large organizations, all with similar bureaucratic structures and processes.
People often worked for one organization their entire lifetime, giving them a sense of security that simplified their lives. And they could likely learn the skills needed to succeed in their position in six months or maybe a year, affording them a high degree of predictability. The whole of society had a sense of predictability to it.
Predictability vs. life after the microchip.
Enter the microchip in the mid-1960s. It changed everything. With it came increasing complexity in every area of life in terms of handling massive amounts of information, how quickly we could suddenly communicate, and how quickly we could respond to change in the marketplace.
The majority of people, though, don’t like change; it’s actually a negative experience for them because of all the complexity that comes with it. My thinking, though, is that change in the world is a good thing because it creates a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs: other people’s complexity.
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“Hardwired” for opportunity.
Working with entrepreneurs, I’ve found that being comfortable with change is hardwired into the entrepreneurial mind. Most entrepreneurs like responding to new kinds of unexpected situations—and, most important, they get great enjoyment from being able to adapt.
If you can develop the change-is-good mindset and set up your entrepreneurial company to have very simple approaches and solutions, then every bit of complexity that is a huge problem for clients and customers in the marketplace is your biggest opportunity. These four entrepreneurial qualities are key:
- You have to be extremely alert to recognize change.
- You have to be highly curious about how the change could be utilized.
- You have to be readily responsive when new situations present themselves.
- You have to be very resourceful about how you keep making progress.
Your opportunity to simplify.
As an entrepreneur, see change and its attendant complexity as a challenge to become simpler in your thinking. When you’re faced with a complex situation, your mindset will always be that you have the intelligence and ingenuity to come up with new and simple ways of looking at that complexity.
Take that approach out into a complex world, and people immediately recognize that you have an insight, method, or approach that they don’t have. As an entrepreneur, if you’re able to help people simplify their complexity, they will always be willing to write you a check.
In the 21st century, every entrepreneur on the planet is in exactly the same business: we make our money and continue to grow by creating greater and greater levels of simplicity for greater and greater numbers of people in a highly complex world.