What It Means To Hustle In The World Of Business
Be a hustler! traditionally, being viewed as a “hustler” was perceived as a negative connotation. Recently however, being seen as a hustler is not only complimentary, it is necessary to succeed. Globally the economic landscape has transformed dramatically. This can be vastly credited to the emergence of technology and the new tools and platforms that can be used to connect with others.
In the early 2000s the ability of an entrepreneur to reach out and contact senior executives to pitch a product, idea or partnership was highly limited. This is no longer the case, over the course of fifteen minutes an entrepreneur can now reach out and connect with numerous industry leaders and experts through the click of a button. The old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never reigned truer, and this is especially the case in business. In the early stages of a new venture being able to hustle is imperative for success, from understanding how best to contact those who matter, to implementing the tenacious and persistent follow up while teetering on the precarious balance between being astute and being annoying. Hustling in business is not just a skill, it is an art. It takes time to craft and perfect, but once mastered it is a powerful tool in any entrepreneurs arsenal. Aside from being able to brush past failure and adversity a hustler is not only one who can get things done, but can make things happen, for an entrepreneur the latter is a skeleton key to progress.
A prime example of a hustler is the late Ray Kroc, not the founder of McDonald's, but the man who shaped it into the billion dollar behemoth that it is today. As a milkshake maker salesman, Kroc came across McDonald’s as a prospective client, but walked away with a vision of how it could be great. While widely viewed to be a villain for his hostile takeover of McDonald’s from the McDonald brothers, his grind and tenacity can not be denied. From a pure business perspective, Kroc was the single greatest thing to happen to the brand, transforming it from a lone burger stand in San Bernardino, California to a worldwide franchise that through grit and innovation, doubles as one of the most successful real estate companies in existence. He accomplished this by employing a relentless hustle, not accepting the status quo and seeing rejection as a hurdle, not a road block.
The importance of hustling can not be understated. New York City, the breeding ground of the hustle is where this can be best seen on a daily basis. Not just limited to entrepreneurs, but everyone from lawyers to artists understand and value how crucial this is. Whether it is a networking event or informally approaching a vendor on the street, hustlers have certain key characteristic traits.
- Unbeatable work ethic
- No regards for rejection
- Innovative knack for getting noticed
This final trait links back to my prior mention of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. The power of the hustle when networking is incomparable to anything else, this is particularly true in New York. In a city of 8.5 million people, time is of the essence. The ability to garner someone’s time is priceless, the art of the hustle lies in being able to obtain attention and generate leverage and the key to accomplishing this is providing value. Value is what keeps others interested, the value you can give them is the leverage you hold and is paramount to sustaining successful relationships. Relating this concept back to entrepreneurship, ascertaining what value one can provide and how to deliver that in a way that not only benefits the recipient, but favorably positions oneself is the hustle personified.
In the world of business, being a hustler is now an industry standard. If you are unable to hustle this does not mean you will fail, but you will likely not excel. “Success” can be highly subjective and it is for this reason that hustling is perceived in contrasting lights, what one calls ambitious another may call greedy. The ambition to excel and motivation to put in the work and generate the innovation needed to stand out is what makes an entrepreneur that hustles stand out from a regular one. This is how the landscape of business has evolved and how those doing business must proceed to reach their next level. Be a hustler!