“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know”.~ Daniel J. Boorstin
As an entrepreneur, you know your product best. You are a proactive person who sees opportunities where others see challenges and you are able to turn vision into action. You are able to think outside of the box and ask yourself critical questions to help you move forward in your business. If this is all true, then you might wonder how relevant it is for you to take the time out of your busy schedule to receive feedback from your peers.
Last week I had the opportunity of exploring this question while participating in a very interesting peer-to-peer learning event. During a HUB-Event called Pro-action Café, I listened to four entrepreneurs pose questions about their venture/enterprise that they themselves found challenging to answer. Participants were invited to help dig deep into this question. What was most surprising to see was that every single entrepreneur who posed a question came to realize that they bypassed a very important underlying question: What is my purpose?
Your purpose, something that might seem so intrinsic to your product, is often not given sufficient attention. The question “How do I get clients to buy my product?” quickly led to counter questions such as “Why are you offering this specific product?”, “What is your purpose?”, “Is this product truly the best way to reach this purpose?” Examining these uncomfortable questions means showing our vulnerable side – not an easy thing to do. It is far more pleasant to choose the path of least resistance and put aside comments that question the business model that we’ve already invested so much time/money in. However, if we do choose to put ourselves out there we can be pleasantly surprised with the insights we can gain from our peers.
When first hearing about “Pro-Action” café, I was unsure on what I would take away from this event. I had imagined it to be a round-table (café style) conversation between entrepreneurs resulting in a concrete action plan. By experiencing what actually takes place in a “Pro-Action” café, I was personally able to feel what the added value of such an exercise is to me. I did not pitch a question, yet I walked away feeling less blocked in my own mode of thinking. I heard myself pose questions to other people that I never thought to ask myself. It surprised me that it wasn’t just a valuable experience for those who posed their questions, but also me as a participant.
The Pro Action Café formula triggers entrepreneurs to test their assumptions, questions and purpose. Therefore I found the name Pro Action café a bit confusing, as the focus is on reflecting, rather than jumping into action. It is an opportunity to learn what you didn’t even know you didn’t know, which is relevant for everyone, and perhaps especially for those who think they’ve already got all the answers…
Join the next Pro Action Café on January 17th 2013.