"Great entrepreneurs don't write great books. In fact, they don't write many books at all."
Great entrepreneurs don't write great books. In fact, they don't write many books at all. Neither fact is surprising. Successful entrepreneurs are typically too busy innovating to write down much of anything. And on those rare occasions when they attempt to create a book, it's filled with what they did, and not what led to their idea in the first place. As a rule, they are not particularly introspective.
So, if we want to know what makes them successful
in order to improve our own companies whether we work for a huge one or our own start up, we need to study them:
1. Look at How They Think, Not What They Do. If you just observe the actions entrepreneurs take, you would conclude that there isn't much to be gained from studying them. But if you look at how they reason, you see remarkable similarities. The process just about all of them follows in creating their companies looks like this. They:
A. Figure out what they really want to do.
B. Take a small step toward that goal.
C. Pause after taking that small step to see what they have learned.
D. Build off that learning and take another small step.
E. Pause after taking that step.
F. Build off what they learned in step two. And then take another small step...
If we were to reduce it to a formula, it would be Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.
Put simply, in the face of an unknown future, entrepreneurs act. They deal with uncertainty not by trying to analyser it, or planning of contingency, or predicting what the outcomes will be,. Instead, they act, learn from what they find, and act again.
2. They Start with a Market Need. Ideas are easy. You can come up with 10 new product or service ideas within five minutes right now, if you had to. And because new ideas are plentiful, they are not worth very much. AS with anything else, if there is a glut of ideas, in this case the value goes down.
If you can discover a market need, you can make a fortune. but intriguingly, that is not the primary motivation of most successful entrepreneurs, and that brings us to the next point.
3. Don't set out to be rich. The best entrepreneurs don't have making a fortune as their goal, as they start off. Wealth is just (an extremely pleasant) by product.
Why not focus on gaining wealth? Well, if your primary objective is to get rich quick, you are bound to cut corners, short-change your customers, and fail to take the time to truly understand what the market needs.
And that is true whether you are trying to get your company off the ground, or are introducing a new product or service in order to make this quarter's numbers.
Instead, they identify the market need we talked about in point 2. and get to work.
4. Marketing. (Psst. Compete Differently). The conventional wisdom-find a niche; zig when others zag-is right, but not particularly helpful. It lacks to be kind, specificity. Far better is too describe what the best entrepreneurs do and that is "compete differently."
5. Financing. This is perhaps the biggest area people fail to understand. With all the attention paid to venture capitalists, there is a mistaken impression that the best entrepreneurs begin their companies with millions of dollars in start up financing. That simply isn't true. Start with the small amount in your pocket.
6. Team Building. Yes, of course, the company founder needs to delegate early. You can try to micromanage but there are four large obstacles if you do:
-- The business will never grow bigger than one person (you, the CEO) can handle effectively;
-- Your company wont be able to move very quickly. Since everything will have to flow through you, you will create a bottle neck;
-- You wont get the best ideas out of your people. Once they understand the company is set up so everything revolves around you, your employees are not going to take the time to develop their best ideas. "Why should I." they'll ask. "He's just going to do what he wants anyway." And
-- It's exhausting.
7. They play to their strengths. The biggest surprise, when it comes to people, is that the best entrepreneurs find someone who offsets their weakness and compliments their strengths. This allows them to concentrate on what they do best, leaving the things they are not good at to someone else.
8. Turning obstacles into assets. The best entrepreneurs believe and acts as if everything is a gift.
Well, maybe not every single thing imaginable.
But assuming that everything is a gift is a good way of looking at problems and surprises you'll encounter in any endeavour, such as getting a new venture off the ground, obtaining buy-in from your boss, or launching a new product line in an ultra-competitive market.