5 Important Lessons I Learnt from 100 Failed Startups
Success never came easy for me. Nothing was ever handed to me through a silver spoon. I studied hard and worked day and night to get to where I am today. I encountered a lot of bumps and roadblocks along the way but I just continued on.
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I started a hundred different companies that eventually collapsed. To some, it might seem that I failed. Yes, I might have lost a thousand bucks or maybe more, and wasted a lot of time but never did I consider myself as having failed. For me, these experiences have taught me a great deal not only on how to do business but life in general.
An entrepreneur who is travelling on the path to failure is one who never launches out due to fear of failing, losing money, being laughed at or being seen as crazy. Entrepreneurship has to do with unleashing your creativity and passion in doing something you care about. It does not matter whether your idea is generally acceptable or popular. What matters most is the fact that you are so much concerned about it to the extent that you are willing to take the risk of making it a reality. Daring to do the un-dared in order to make change happen is the backbone of entrepreneurship. This means being fearless to launch out despite the uncertainties.
Practice More than Others
As an entrepreneur, you create new processes, generate new ideas, produce new products or services and establish new ways of doing things. I have learnt overtime that there is no business plan or business book that can foretell the future or prepare you fully to become an excelling entrepreneur. Instead, entrepreneurship is about embracing a set of practices and specific actions that require practice to achieve success. In an article titled "Entrepreneurship Requires Practice", Heidi Neck identifies five important practices as the practice of empathy, creation, play, reflection and experimentation. For me, an entrepreneur must practice more than other entrepreneurs, learn from mistakes and avoid repeating a mistake twice which means going an extra mile.
Never give up Your Dream
A time comes in the life of an entrepreneur when challenges become overwhelming. You suffer a series of setbacks till quitting appears like an option. As an entrepreneur, you doubt your capacity to succeed at such times. You wonder whether your business idea is realistic and whether you should quit or press. You will face challenges but in such moments, hold on to your dreams and never give up on them.
Hang around Smart People
Like Henry Paulson, former Secretary for Treasury in the Bush Administration and CEO at Goldman Sachs, hang around people that are much smarter than you. To this end, over the last couple of weeks, I have been revisiting my financial media investment. I am searching for super smart persons to bring in the knowledge and expertise in the operations that my investments require.
Always have double expectations of Days
I tell all CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors to always listen and eat slowly. Never promise that something will be done in a couple of days if you think it will take 2 days; instead double the period and promise that it will take 5 days. When you deliver early, you over perform and you get a chance to shine. If you know that something will take a day or two, promise to deliver within those days only because its an easy thing to deliver. To your customers, clients or partners, this builds trust, reflects leadership, ability and executional traits. My advice to entrepreneurs is always to hurry slowly.
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