By Ryan Velez

One habit that many successful people in any walk of life have is having a network of peers at their disposal. Sometimes this is to have someone’s services or skills on hand if needed, but at other times, it’s as simple as having somebody to bounce an idea off of. Someone in your field is likely to not only have the same training and mental background as you but may be able to provide perspectives on things that would have never come to your mind. The Network Journal has recently compiled some business founders and asked them the question: “You have 5 minutes to pick a fellow successful entrepreneur’s brain. What’s one thing you ask?”

Jessica Baker of Aligned Signs, brings the discussion to the core values, namely asking what they are. “At the end of the day, business is business. Finding out what the entrepreneur values can give you insight into why and how he or she drives the ship. So I would inquire what he or she values and how they worked toward achieving it. I’d be interested to see how they thought about and overcame road blocks, if their vision changed, who/what influenced them, etc.”

Ben Walker of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC, says that there are a number of patterns in successful businesses, and asks his fellow entrepreneurs what patterns they have noticed that benefitted their business. “What patterns have you noticed that have made you successful? “Most successful entrepreneurs do the same things over and over in order to be successful. They notice patterns and follow those patterns with each company or investment they participate in. I’d ask them at what was it and at what point did they realized it was something they needed to replicate going forward in order to be successful.”

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While the founders may have phrased things differently, the single most common question regards dealing with failures or struggles. Steven Buchwald of Buchwald & Associates asks what do you wish you had known. “I’d ask them to tell me the one thing they wish someone told them when they were first starting out. Chances are it would be something I myself didn’t know. I’d then ask what their greatest failure was and what they learned from it.” Steven Picanza of Latin & Code rephrases the question a bit, instead of asking what mistake they could make over again if they had a choice. “Don’t ask the obvious questions. Instead, ask a question that makes them think in a different way or that is completely off topic. The goal here is to make a lasting impression.”


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