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Business Strategy

Warren Buffet, Doughnuts & the Circle of Competence: An Entrepreneurial “Danger Zone” You Must Avoid

Have you heard of the Circle of Competence?

It’s Warren Buffet’s conceptual model that’s visually represented by an image of an outer circle and an inner circle (you can watch me explain the Circle of Competence with a delicious, chocolate blueberry doughnut in the video :)).

The smaller inner circle represents what we do know while the much larger outer circle symbolizes the massive amount we don’t know.

The Circle of Competence applies in the world of finance and investment and it certainly applies in the world of business. 

Here’s how the Circle plays out with entrepreneurs…

You’ve probably noticed (and I’m guessing — like me — you’re guilty of doing it yourself!) entrepreneurs tend to get caught up in a crazy rush to start and grow their business.

Even when we work with business strategies we don’t fully understand we jump right in and implement them asap…

We rush into the business danger zone of unknown ideas and strategies.

We think, “I want results and I want it now!” and start doing everything super fast — whether we know what we’re doing or not — and end up building a business “fast food” style.

But as Warren Buffett says,

“No matter how great the talent or the effort some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

That may seem like an obvious statement yet so many of us forget that it’s true. We believe we can create something truly great — something meaningful — at breakneck speed.

But that’s never going to happen.

Warren Buffet also says, “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. So, I do more reading and thinking and make fewer impulse decisions than most people in business.”

This is how the world’s greatest investor and money master avoids making mistakes with the billions of dollars he’s investing.

So, here’s what I want for you…

I want you to lean into your zone of genius as you tackle unknown strategies such as new sales and marketing techniques to grow your business.

As you head into unchartered territory – the “danger zone” –  of unknown business strategies and activities, I want you to stop, think and lead with what you do know.

I want you to give yourself permission to sit down and reflect. To take your time and learn what you need to know so you can take action on the right techniques and ideas for your business.

You have to wait 9 months to welcome a beautiful baby into your life and sometimes your business needs the same thing…

Time and space to gestate and become something beautiful in your life.

So, what’s in your Circle of Competence?

Don’t worry too much about what you don’t know right now.

Reflect on what you DO know better than anybody else and how you can lead with that to build a meaningful, successful business…

Then go ahead and take a moment to brag in the comments!

I want to know all about YOUR genius and expertise — the things you do better than anyone else 🙂

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Allen

    Hi Marisa, we communicated a bit last year sometime when you found out I live in Johannesburg, SA. Anyway I am keen to attend your entrepreneurial masterclass but the times are against us due to the time differences. Any way you could run a session during our daytime here?

    I really appreciated your quiz re entrepreneurial type – now for the follow up and to note I was in marketing for a while so am not unaware of the challenges in t hat area wwhen selecting a niche to follow albeit an altruistic one.

    Very best regards to your and your husband

    Reply ·
    1. murray gray

      Hey Allen – good to hear from you. Fantastic that you’re thinking of joining us for the Experience Product Masterclass. FYI – the course materials are pre-recorded, but for the live group training sessions each week, we pair you with a coach who’s in your timezone to allow you to fully benefit! That said, Marisa does do 2 live coach-a-thons during the program, and they’re *usually* around 1pm PT, which is around 10pm in Cape Town. (But don’t hold me to it — the times aren’t set in stone.)

      Reply ·
  2. Tom Sikorski

    Great quote about not being able to rush pregnancy. I like to say, “You can’t microwave a plant.” (Or a relationship) The “ten year plan” doesn’t sell because we want it…YESTERDAY! I am sure people were less stressed when time was measured by seasons NOT the countdown timer.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Such a great point, Tom. These days we have to actively combat the microwave mentality and instant gratification we’ve gotten so used to.

      Reply ·
  3. Claire O'Leary

    It’s always great to get a reminder that all good things take time. Thanks Marisa. It is my super power to bring light to even the darkest places in the world. Therefore I am passionate about Bringing Incest to Light. Taking the darkness, the silence of incest and bringing it to the forefront to be healed once and for all. For individuals and for the world.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      For sure, Claire. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply ·
  4. Vicki

    great video and message Marisa. It was EXACTLY what i needed to hear today as I embark on doing some blog writing. thank you.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Of course Vicki! So happy to help 🙂

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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