Military Mindset for Entrepreneurial Success

Entrepreneurs, if you thought your toolkit was complete with the latest business strategies, prepare for a paradigm shift. The military mindset, as evidenced by my interview with Matt Ryder, CEO of 7th Level Inc., can be your secret weapon in your entrepreneurial journey. 

Matt was a member of Special Operations in the military, he served in hotspots in the Middle East. Today, he uses his military experience in entrepreneurship and executing successful business strategies in his sales training company. 

Matt’s company has helped to train over 100,000 sales representatives in hundreds of companies like Google Ads, Airwallex, Fuse.Cloud, GoToro and others. 

A Military-Informed Approach to Business Challenges

Soldiers are conditioned to confront the brutal facts and adapt. Similarly, in business, there is no room for sugar-coating or denial. For instance, when faced with declining sales, a military-trained entrepreneur employs an unyielding approach: they dissect the data, identify the root causes, and formulate a precise action plan to reverse the trend. This is realism in action, and it’s indispensable in the business world.

In the military, your work ethic is your lifeline, and the same holds true for entrepreneurs. The startup phase is a battlefield where every moment counts. A strong work ethic is not merely advisable; it is non-negotiable. A team that treats every task as a mission-critical operation can create momentum. The military instills a sense of urgency and importance that can transform your work culture.

Military training is an intense crucible that forges emotional and psychological resilience. This resilience is invaluable in the volatile world of entrepreneurship. Whether you’re grappling with investor rejections or facing product recalls, this mental fortitude enables you to rebound and re-strategize. The military teaches you not just to survive adversity but to turn it into an opportunity for growth and reassessment.

In the military, rigid strategies can be fatal. Adaptability is equally praised. In business, this translates into a balanced approach where long-term plans and short-term adaptability coexist. For example, while entering a new market, your long-term strategies serve as your compass, but your ability to adapt will help you navigate through unexpected storms. It’s this dynamic interplay between strategy and adaptability that sets military-trained entrepreneurs apart.

The military is no stranger to technological advancements, whether it’s drone warfare or AI-driven logistics. As an entrepreneur, integrating modern technology like AI and machine learning can supercharge your military strategies. Use AI analytics to make your OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) Loop more potent or employ machine learning algorithms to refine your NEPQ (Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questioning) sales tactics. 

OODA Loop: The Ultimate Decision-Making Algorithm

Entrepreneurs and business leaders are no strangers to making complex decisions under pressure. The OODA Loop—Observe, Orient, Decide, Act—offers a structured approach to decision-making that can be a game-changer in the business landscape, informed by a military mindset.

Observation is not merely a passive act; it’s the foundation of your entire decision-making process. In this phase, advanced data analytics and AI tools can provide you with insights that go far beyond human intuition. Imagine utilizing real-time customer behavior metrics, market trends, and even sentiment analysis from social media to create a multidimensional view of your business landscape.

Orientation is the phase where you align your strategies with the observed data. But it’s more than just alignment; it’s about contextualization. Here, AI-driven forecasting models can be particularly beneficial. For instance, if your observation phase revealed a growing trend in remote work, AI models could predict its long-term impact on office real estate, guiding you to orient your business accordingly.

The decision stage is often where the rubber meets the road. While it’s crucial to be decisive, it’s equally vital to remain flexible. With real-time dashboards and AI-powered analytics, you can dynamically allocate resources for maximum impact. Whether it’s diverting funds to a high-performing marketing channel or reallocating staff to a critical project, your decisions become not just informed but also agile.

The act phase is not merely about execution but also about ensuring that your actions generate the intended results. Project management software equipped with military-grade precision can track the implementation of each task. Moreover, AI tools can provide continuous feedback by analyzing outcomes in real-time, enabling immediate course correction if needed.

The genius of the OODA Loop lies in its cyclical nature. Once the action is taken, the loop restarts with new observations based on the outcomes of your actions. This creates a continuous cycle of refinement, making your decision-making process not just effective but also evolutionary.

Technology serves as a force multiplier in the OODA Loop. From AI analytics that enhance your observation and orientation phases to machine learning models that refine your decisions, technology can amplify the efficiency of each stage. Even in the action phase, automation tools can ensure that your strategies are executed flawlessly, leaving no room for human error.

A well-implemented OODA Loop doesn’t operate in a vacuum; it aligns closely with your broader corporate strategies and goals. This alignment ensures that your quick tactical decisions feed into long-term strategic objectives, creating a cohesive and effective business operation.

Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questioning (NEPQ): The Frontier of Sales Psychology

Sales have evolved over the decades from simple transactions to complex interactions that often involve psychological and emotional elements. Enter Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questioning (NEPQ), a sales model based on military precedents. Unlike traditional sales tactics that may focus solely on the features and benefits of a product, NEPQ delves into the psychological landscape, making it the frontier of sales psychology. Let’s dissect the intricate layers of NEPQ and explore how it can redefine your sales approach.

NEPQ integrates principles of emotional intelligence into the sales process. It recognizes that every buying decision is influenced by a set of emotional triggers. Understanding these triggers allows sales reps to navigate the conversation in a way that resonates with the prospective customer. Advanced analytics tools can assist in this process by analyzing previous customer interactions and providing insights into the emotional factors that influence buying decisions.

At the core of NEPQ is the idea of building an emotional connection or rapport with the prospect. This isn’t just about making a sale; it’s about building a relationship that could lead to long-term customer loyalty. In today’s digital age, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software integrated with AI can track multiple customer touchpoints, providing a 360-degree view of customer interactions and making it easier to establish meaningful connections.

NEPQ employs a series of carefully crafted questions aimed at uncovering the emotional needs and wants of the customer. These are not random queries but strategic probes designed to elicit specific emotional responses. AI-powered chatbots, trained in the principles of NEPQ, can simulate this questioning process, guiding online visitors through a journey that feels emotionally satisfying and leads them closer to a buying decision.

The NEPQ model doesn’t just focus on the immediate transaction; it aims for long-term engagement. By emotionally investing in the customer, you’re not merely gaining a sale; you’re gaining an advocate. This is particularly important in today’s world of social media, where customer reviews and testimonials can significantly impact your brand image.

NEPQ is not limited to one-on-one interactions and can be implemented across various sales channels. For instance, e-commerce platforms can use AI algorithms to mimic the NEPQ process by recommending products based on a customer’s browsing history and emotional behavior patterns. Similarly, in B2B settings, NEPQ principles can be integrated into email marketing campaigns or even in crafting more persuasive business proposals.

The impact of NEPQ can be measured through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that go beyond just sales figures. Customer lifetime value, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer retention rates can provide a comprehensive picture of NEPQ’s effectiveness. Advanced analytics can offer even deeper insights, such as the emotional tonality of customer interactions and its correlation with sales conversions.

The military mindset is more than just a set of useful traits; it’s a holistic approach to problem-solving, decision-making and leadership. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, don’t just aim for survival; aim for absolute victory. Remember, in the business battlefield, your ultimate weapon may not be a cutting-edge product or an innovative service, but a strategic decision-making mindset forged in the crucibles of military training.

Key Take-Away

Embrace the military mindset: data-driven realism, relentless work ethic, adaptability, and tech integration for entrepreneurial triumph…>Click to tweet

Image credit: RDNE Stock project/Pexels

Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on August 10, 2023