How to ‘leverage’ your way to success this year

Archimedes said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth.”

The famous Greek mathematician was illustrating the power of leverage and you can use this power in your business. But instead of just one lever, you have several within your reach, and if you don’t use all of them, you aren’t moving your business as far or as fast as you can. The two “levers” I want to discuss here are:

  • Other people, and
  • Other people’s money.

The great thing about doing business today, is that you can leverage other people and their money much more easily than ever before. That’s because you can use the online world as the tool to “grab” and move your levers.

Leveraging other people

I want to break this down into two big categories:

  • Leveraging other people’s muscle, and
  • Leveraging other people’s brains.

By leveraging other people’s muscle, I mean finding people to do tasks you can’t do or don’t want to do. Some of these are sporadic jobs, and I’ll use logo design as an example. I’m sure that by now you know that you can connect with good designers through one of the freelance websites or specialty graphic design sites.

Finding outside “muscle” to do this work for you is great and highly recommended, but today I want to focus more on offloading regular, daily, nitty-gritty tasks to one or more virtual assistants. Think of the repetitive tasks you do or the repetitive tasks you would like to do but always put off. Systemize these and then start your search for a virtual assistant.

You can find a U.S.-based virtual assistant, or you can hook up with an off-shore VA. Although many of us have experienced nightmares when trying to work with an offshore customer service rep, there are many skills offshore VAs excel at. If you find a good Indian or Filipino VA, for example, the lower wage rate will allow you to pay for some tasks that aren’t cost effective at U.S. pay rates.

The second area of leveraging other people is leveraging their knowledge and experience (brains). Coaches, mentors, and mastermind groups are great ways to benefit from the knowledge of others. YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council), Founder Society, and SCORE are good online places to begin your search for a mentor.

Mastermind groups spring up all the time. They are often offshoots of courses or other special interests. Sometimes they can be organized as a private Facebook group. They are great because they also serve as accountability and encouragement groups.

Connecting with a mentor, coach, or mastermind group can pay benefits beyond what you might imagine. It takes a lot of energy to push a business forward and if we are always depending on the “charge” stored in our own “batteries,” we can soon run out of energy. We need one or more outside sources of energy to give us the spark to keep going.

Other people’s money

Everything we’ve talking about here is a kind “muscle.” We’ve talked about heavy lifting muscle (getting tasks done) and mental muscle. Now we’re talking about financial muscle.

It’s a simple fact that it takes a significant investment for a business to muscle its way into a leadership position. Without the financial resources to buy new machinery, better software, expand a location, or launch a new product line, your business will never reach its potential. And, if you’re depending on the sale of your business to fund your retirement, you will be badly disappointed down the road.

Fortunately, your local bank isn’t your only option for funding today. When the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) implemented its new crowdfunding regulations, I pulled together a long list of platforms and related services. However, before you start seriously pursuing funds, have a good plan in place for how you will invest the money.

The beauty of everything I’ve discussed here is that you can be working on these points from your laptop. You don’t need to make appointments or travel all around town (or the state). You can sit at home on your couch, watch something on Netflix, and explore some levering options via your laptop.

Archimedes would be quite surprised to know that his “place to stand” as he wielded his lever could be as comfortable as your living room.