Who would have thought that entrepreneurship could be learned through your dating life? That's been the story of my life, as founder of a social strategy consultancy, where we help people improve their social skills to enhance their quality of life, romantically, socially and even professionally.
Entrepreneurs can get a bad rap for being "introverted" and anti-social (see: The Social Network). But if you take a look at some of the most successful companies, they are either led by someone with great social skills or employ someone who embodies that attitude to represent the brand. It's not a coincidence.
In a world of infinite choices, fierce competition and the desire for instant gratification, the best experience for long-term loyalty is an in-person one. Whether you're starting a business, launching an app or looking to meet someone special, here are five strategies gleaned from the world of dating that can also give you the edge over your competitors.
1. Create evangelists.
Not every attractive person you talk to is someone you're going to date. But that doesn't mean you should give up and move on to the next person. Attractive people hang out together and it's likely you'll get an intro to single friends.
Similarly in business, not every person you talk to will become a customer. But that doesn't mean they lack value. Get the person excited about what you're working on so he or she can talk you up to others within your demographic.
2. Expand your current network.
If you want to improve your dating life, you have to surround yourself with others who are already successful. Not only is there a lot to learn from people like this but they will likely help your own journey.
The same is true in business. Opportunities available to you often correlate to who you know. Set up a routine to attend two or three events each month to increase your network.
3. Pursue an awesome personal life.
People are attracted to your lifestyle just as much, if not more than your work ethic and ambition. Entrepreneurship is a grinding journey, but never let that prevent you from enjoying the experience. Doing activities beyond building your business can humanize you and your product.
4. Be a problem solver.
The ultimate "wingman" will do what it takes to find his friend success when meeting new people, even at the sacrifice of his own. If what you provide isn't the solution to someone's problem, find a solution for them anyway. The loyalty you'll receive will be unprecedented.
5. Own your value.
My new clients almost always try to connect with the opposite sex by acting how they think someone finds attractive. But it's not about being someone you aren't. Bringing out the best in yourself is the key to truly connecting. Let your personality shine -- it's a surefire way to humanize what you're selling.
Just like dating, momentum rather than time is what can bring success into your entrepreneurial life. And nothing produces more momentum than human interaction.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.