With talk of hacking everything these days, it’s pretty easy to yawn at the whole conversation. Growth hacks, fitness hacks, beauty hacks and even life hacks. I won’t be shocked when I see an article about ‘nothing hacking’ or maybe even ‘hacking hacking’. When I found myself and others thinking this way recently, I realized it was time to cut through the clutter and decide what I could personally take away from the topic and truly make use of. What’s that ultimate hack that I can stay focused on to grow my business?
What strikes me most about the best hacking ideas is the notion of not reinventing the wheel and also finding super efficient ways to get the most output for the least input. With this as the underlying principle of hacking, it follows that the biggest, baddest hack of them all is experience hacking—learning from others who’ve done something similar to what you’re trying to accomplish and leveraging their insight in a win/win fashion. Their insight doesn’t have to be unique. It can be incredibly helpful even if it provides better clarity, focus and urgency to act.
Experience has always been critical when you want to get from A to B in the most effective way possible. Role modeling, coaching, teaching—none of it is new. Hacking is just a new way of looking at things to get better results. It so often gets confused with doing something on the cheap, but it’s really about ‘bang-for-the-buck’. If you have the money to buy expertise, go for it. Plenty of your competitors do. Just make sure you get more in return by using it than you pay for it. But in the true spirit of hacking, the best approach is to earn unique insight by impressing experts with what you’ll do with the advice they give you.
So how do you experience hack successfully? Like every other successful business strategy it requires your focus and commitment. Keep these 12 principles in mind when you’re executing the ultimate growth hack:
- Start by proactively and visibly sharing your insight with others (especially in Social Media).
- Share the insights of others—get permission—which is itself a great way to connect and network.
- Have a formal list of gurus you’d like to hack.
- Identify the business philosophies and business models of your target list.
- Reach out for guidance from someone at least monthly.
- Always read their publications and research them first—or don’t reach out to waste their time.
- Make sure you’re a doer, seeking their actionable advice, not just a theoretical discussion. Demonstrate this so they can easily separate you from the talkers. They’ll want share more once they put you into the doer bucket!
- Keep on-hand brief, high-impact notes of the things that really matter and review them regularly to make them actionable. Make sure you’re not reinventing the wheel.
- Ask for referrals to get to your targets, not forgetting to offer up referrals as needed.
- Take action on the advice. No one is going to give you a secret formula. The experience of other successful people will guide you in where to focus and how to ACT.
- Briefly loop back to demonstrate that you valued the advice enough to use it. This is the ultimate sign of thank you and respect. It’s shocking how often experts feel let down at giving advice and seeing it go nowhere.
- Consolidate insights across experts. You’re looking for those unique little twists each expert has that let them cut from the pack. Don’t waste their time with the obvious. Push the envelope in your conversation.
Learning from those that have actually done what you want to do—specifically gleaning what their edge is—is the ultimate way to move yourself forward. It’s so powerful because it bypasses the noise that distracts us and lasers in on the 1% that matters for exceptional results.
This isn’t a revelation to many. For many of us it’s a shot in the arm to ask ourselves how often we enact the 12 principles of experience hacking. Keep in mind that the ultimate growth hack is called experience hacking, not expertise hacking for very good reason. Experience includes successes and failures, not just expertise about success. So, reach out to an expert for advice right now. Good luck.