The Closest Five

By Torin Hofmann

We've all heard the statement "Choose your friends wisely". For me, my first exposure to it was through an article sent to me by my Dad in High School. The article alluded to the concept that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This lesson became an important one to me, not just through high school but in the many years to follow.

As I moved into my university career, I started to pay attention to the individuals I was surrounding myself with. Like many 18-year-old males just accepted into university, I spent (let's say a few) nights at bars with fellow 1st years. Not unlike myself, many of these guys were a little shy. The goal was to mingle and connect with as many girls as we could. We lacked the confidence needed to be perceived as naturals, which left us rejected and discouraged.

I can still recall the nights I would meet up with Marty, a 4th year buddy of mine. I remember noticing how he would walk in with confidence radiating off of him. With little effort, women were walking by us with googly eyes. To my surprise, I felt on top of the world. I left not feeling awkward or shy in the slightest. Looking back now, I know that, that particular evening I had taken on his demeanor and modeled my personality around it for the task at hand.

Sitting in class the next day, I began to ask myself, how could this have an impact on the way I do business?

I shifted my focus away from the late night slackers and pivoted towards the driven students who created study groups and joined extra curricular clubs. The people who cared about what they were doing.

By now I was into my fourth year and in the process of developing and launching two new ventures. Like anyone starting a new business, I had gaps in my knowledge, and needed to surround myself with like-minded individuals who would compliment my skills and push me outside my comfort zone. It wasn't until I completed the LaunchPad Accelerator Course in my last semester that the statement "choose your friends wisely" really came full circle.

I was never a fan of cold calling, but knew it was vital for the next step of my business. I was out for lunch one afternoon with Zac Hartley, a fellow MRU entrepreneur and classmate of mine. We were discussing the next steps for my business, Bare Knuckle Body Care, when he called me out on this fear of cold calling.

To him, this it was just another call he had to make to accomplish his goal; there was no reason to stress over it. His confidence in both the ability to cold call, and his confidence in me to make the calls, invigorated me to become better at this task.

If you have a strong background in finance or accounting, find a friend in marketing or management. If you're an entrepreneur who's strong in marketing, find yourself a sales contact to grow your skills. Surround yourself with 4-5 people who share your vision and push you to becoming a better person, friend, and of course businessman/businesswoman.