Simply put, a barrier to entry is what prevents seemingly everyday people from being able to access so-called exclusive areas. This can be in the form of a velvet rope in front of a popular nightclub, or a manned gate outside of a mansion or at an airport terminal. It can even be a prohibitive membership fee at a swanky yacht or golf club, or in the business sense, a small business trying to compete with the big advertising budgets and established distribution channels of a top Fortune 500 company.
Obviously, by wanting access, what you ultimately desire is not so much only having physical access to a facility or venue alone as having access to the people and the experiences that such access affords.
The Changing Barriers
You have probably already read way too many articles and opinions, all stating the same thing, about how the barriers to enter virtually any formerly off-limits or closed-off industry or population have changed dramatically due to the recent advances in new media and new technologies.
You and I now have much easier and more affordable access to publishing and communication tools than any generation before us ever had. So, why doesn’t it seem easier to do something meaningful or worthwhile with them?
But, the Barriers Don’t Feel Lower
While the game has changed, and formerly off-limit access areas are now more readily available to us than ever before, somehow it doesn’t always feel easier to do something with them, it just feels different.
Maybe this is because the barrier to entry has not so much been lowered as it has simply changed hands in terms of ownership. More is now in our hands and at our disposal. Yet empowerment doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know what to do with it.
Just because we can now all enter the arena, that doesn’t mean that we know how to leverage the opportunity when we get there.
Yes, the barriers to entry have changed for us. The barriers are no longer money or access. But maybe those weren’t always the real barriers that held many of us back from accomplishing things in the past, certainly not in all cases anyway.
What are Your Real Barriers?
Your ability to self-initiate and to differentiate yourself from others is not a new concept. These are not necessarily new barriers to success. The real issue instead may be that average skillsets, which we could get by with in the past, have now become more important to master than ever before. The bar for “average skill-set” may actually be what has been raised higher.
Communication, networking, and creative problem solving are not new skills. They have just become more important to be good at. What makes it seem harder is that it is harder to be great at them when so many people are becoming simply good at them. Good is no longer good enough any more. But still, you have to be good before you can be great.
The bar between good and great now may seem higher than in earlier days, too, but the reality is that the good-to-great bar was probably always quite high otherwise everyone would have been doing it, right?
So, in the end, whether we like to admit it or not, our real barrier-to-entry for the success arena is probably still within our self, as it always has been.
Do you agree? Are there new or existing barriers-to-entry that are holding you back from being successful at what you want to be or do? What skills are you good at, great at, and need to get better at?