Be Hyperobservant in Startup – Sara Blakely, Self-Made Billionaire

Starting a Consulting Business

Any consultant, freelancer, or independent professional has a limited amount of time and resources. You must adapt quickly and leverage your assets. That means being hypervigilant, observing where you can make changes and taking advantage of your strengths.

In this article and video, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, tells how she used the power of being hyper-observant to start her solo business with $5,000 and grow it to become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire

Insights by Stanford Business, article and video (46:00)

Take Aways

  • Expect to put in hard-work yourself but hire to fill your weaknesses.
  • Be real. Be transparent. Build trust with your customers.
  • Accept mistakes at Oops meetings, laugh at it, and fix it so it doesn’t happen again.

Action Items

  • Make a list of tasks that get in the way of higher-value work only you can do.
    Hire out the tasks that hold you back and don’t need your critical skills.
  • You aren’t perfect, so stop trying to pretend to your clients that you are.
    Acknowledge what you can’t do or don’t know, but act precisely to correct it.
    Give your clients answers like, “I’ll find out and get you the answer at 3:00.” or “I’ll get the team together and we’ll have a plan for getting this done by next Wednesday.” (Note these are “I” statements with specific accountability.)
  • Identify mistakes. Fix them. Push on.
    In team meetings for a current project ask each member what they need to meet objectives: Time, Information, Mentors, Resources (TIMR) 
    After projects are complete, use an After Action Review (Oops) meeting to identify areas for improvement and what systems could be used for improvement.