Starting and running your own business can be a risky venture, to say the least. Not only will you be devoting a lot of time and energy to it, but you may also be sinking every cent you have into it with the hopes that everything will turn out right. If you’ve never run a business before, you will probably feel completely out of your element, at least at the start.
Once you do get your business underway, and often even before you start, you will most likely get a ton of advice (often unsolicited) from your friends, your family, your associates and just about everybody you come across. Sometimes their advice is helpful but, more often than not, it’s just some rhetoric that you’ve probably heard a hundred times already.
While I could offer some advice of my own, I believe it would be much more beneficial for you to hear from those who have already proven themselves in the business world. Those who have discovered what truly works, and put those principles into action time and again.
I have taken the liberty to research the best advice from some of the best minds in the business world, and I’m going to share them with you. So without further ado, here are seven lessons you can learn from some of the top leaders in their industries.
CO-FOUNDER OF APPLE COMPUTERS
“When you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” Steve Jobs’ from Vision of the World.
Much too often we get into the mindset that we can’t really be better. We are often taught that this is all there is to life, to raise a family and maybe save a little money – while having as much fun as we can. When you try to do things differently, there will be naysayers who will insist you can’t change things, you have no influence, you aren’t smart enough or talented enough – but you have to remember that you are just as capable of making big changes as you are with small ones. All you really need is the desire and the drive and the belief that you can do anything you put your mind to.
CO-FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT
“If we weren’t still hiring great people and pushing ahead, it would be easy to fall behind and become a mediocre company. Fear should guide you, but it should be latent. I consider failure on a regular basis.” Bill Gates in a 1994 interview.
This basic concept advises that you should allow fear to be a compass, but not an overwhelming factor in your business decision. If you aren’t “afraid” of being mediocre, you will remain stagnant. If you don’t consider failure on a regular basis, then you’ll never see it coming.
FOUNDER OF FACEBOOK
“I always think that you should start with the problem that you’re trying to solve in the world and not start with deciding that you want to build a company. And the best companies that get built are things that are trying to drive some kind of social change even if it’s just local in one place more than starting out because you want to make a bunch of money or have a lot of people working for you or build some company in some way” – How to Build the Future with Mark Zuckerberg.
Mark Zuckerberg discovered early on how to build a successful business and that, according to him, is by not trying to build a successful business, so to speak. If you want to make something successful, look for a problem and then solve the problem. If you start out seeking to make a lot of money, you’ll probably fail – but if you start out looking for a solution to a problem, the rest will take care of itself.
Related: Give Mark Zuckerberg a ‘Like’
CO-FOUNDER OF FOURSQUARE
“The best piece of advice that we’ve figured out from building FourSquare is not to let other people distract what you’re doing. There’s always haters that say ‘Your idea is stupid… this idea is never going to work… don’t even bother doing that because somebody is going to do it before you do’. If we listened to all the negative feedback, we would never have built things.” – Dennis Crowley’s Best Advice: Ignore The Haters.
Don’t listen to what people say you can’t do. You’ll always have the naysayers or the haters who try to convince you that ‘it’s not going to work’ or that your idea is stupid. Don’t listen to those people. Believe in yourself and in your idea and go about making it work, regardless of what anybody says.
CEO OF AMAZON.COM
“When we’re at our best, we don’t wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to. We lower prices and increase value for customers before we have to. We invent before we have to. These investments are motivated by customer focus rather than by reaction to competition.” – 2012 Letter to Shareholders.
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses and startups make is trying to ‘predict current trends’ and adjust their business model. The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, doesn’t believe in predicting trends, they see the whole customer base, they see what needs to be done, by doing what nobody else is doing. When others are raising their prices, Amazon looks to how it can lower prices.
While other businesses are happy with the status quo, Amazon is always reinventing itself, finding ways to make themselves better, to better serve their customers and clients. They focus on the customers and pay little attention to what their competition is doing. That, according to Jeff Bezos, is why they are always one step ahead of the competition.
CEO OF INTUIT
“Have the courage to take risks and grow by learning from your successes and failures. My favourite quote is from Winston Churchill who once noted that ‘success is the ability to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.’ Let’s face it, our greatest lessons often come from those things that didn’t work. Don’t hide the experience – embrace it!” – Intuit’s Brad Smith: How to Succeed in a Bad Economy.
Never let failure hold you back. While it’s always great to succeed, we learn much more from what doesn’t work than from what does. You cannot allow failure to keep you from bettering yourself/business; never give up because of failure. On the contrary, use your failures as a springboard to success, by embracing them and learning from them.
CO-FOUNDER OF GOOGLE
“You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it’s important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.” – 20 Things I’ve Learned from Larry Page – James Altucher
This last quote is an analogy that you need to take into the real world. I’ve learned to always carry a pen and notepad around, so when an idea comes along, I write it down. No matter how far-fetched or how crazy it might seem at the time. You can sit there and just wish you could do this, or wish you could do that, and then just forget about it and go on with your life, or you can take those dreams and ideas to the next level, review them and decide which ones are worth going after. You will never make your dreams real if you just sleep on them, you need to wake up and grab that dream with both hands, don’t let it go.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV
The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.
The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.
Design The Life Of Your Dreams Using These Simple Tips
An Entrepreneur contributor outlines how to to design your life the way an artist would.
Years ago, my father shared a simple bit of wisdom with me that you’ve probably heard before: Life is too short, he said. Too short to do something you’re not passionate about, that is.
My father loved his job at General Electric. In fact, he didn’t even think of it as work.
He was on to something. Spending your entire adulthood working a job that provides you with income but no other type of satisfaction is a waste of your life. Consider the prospect of spending 40 years working day in, day out and looking forward only to the weekends and vacation. Yet that’s what most people do.
At the time I had that important talk with my dad, I was studying business at Santa Clara University, and I hated it. On a lark, I took an art class and discovered that working with my hands gave me immense pleasure. I wanted to create! Not only objects but also my ideal life. When I told my father this, his response was to go for it. “Follow your heart,” he said.
Artists never stop creating. You shouldn’t, either
My father encouraged me to take a risk at a critical juncture. And fortunately, it paid off immensely.
These days, I get to speak with young men who are looking for advice. Looking back, I can see that when I began studying art, I took the first step toward designing my own life. Of course, along the way I did a few things I wish I hadn’t – and I wasted some of my time.
But now, ironically, my journey has come full circle. I’m all about business these days, and I absolutely love it – because the work I do is on my own terms. I use my creativity every day. The traditional way business is taught just didn’t work for me.
Now I know better: Business is an art form, too.
Looking to find your own way, and quickly? Here is my best advice on how to design your life the way an artist would.
1. Learn from others
Find people who inspire you and topics that feed your soul. Dig deep! There is so much information available today. You can truly become an expert very quickly. So, when you discover something that truly excites you, get involved. Find others who are doing something similar and reach out to them. This is easier than it sounds.
Here’s a tip I picked up from Tim Ferriss, the prolific writer and influential podcast host, who approached me for advice back in the day. Before you reach out to someone, do your homework. Know details about that person most people don’t. Flatter and tell this person how much he or she inspires you. Ask questions this person hasn’t heard before. He or she will know you’re being genuine because, obviously, you’ve put in the time.
The next thing you know, this person will ask, “What can I do for you?” Respond that you’d like to be involved in the questioner’s industry and ask if he or she has any suggestions.
Let your enthusiasm show! It’s contagious. And it’s such an attractive quality. Few people will turn you down. This approach is simple and it works. Use it to discover opportunities and get help pursuing them. Truly successful people have had many people in their lives help them. Success, to me, is being able to choose what you want to do each day.
2. Create a plan
Ask people you admire how they achieved the goals you’re interested in. Don’t get too attached to the plan you create, though, because it’s going to change over and over again.
Someone said to me the other day that it’s a little like going off-road when you first start out. There are going be a lot of bumps and things you’d prefer to to avoid, but you’ll get there.
Now that I’m in my sixties, I know that it’s easier to hit a target if one is sitting right in front of you!
Take jobs that will teach you tools that make you indispensable, but don’t let any job define you. Look at it this way: You’re not working for them – they’re working for you. They are paying you to learn, aren’t they? So, raise your hand for everything. You are gathering tools to use later in life.
Select jobs that will give you tools you can use for the rest of your life. I’ve been mostly self-employed. When I have had a job, I’ve always had my next move in mind. Even the lousiest jobs are beneficial if they fit into your plan.
And yes, it’s your plan
So, raise your hand to take on other responsibilities. Learn as much as you can. Remember, your attitude is your greatest asset. Skills can be taught, but not attitude. That’s priceless.
Following are the must-have skills I recommend you seek out. You don’t necessarily have to go to college to find them. But you will need them to achieve success in designing your life.
1. Financial intelligence. Work at a bank or take a class. The bottom line is, understand how to make money work for you so you’re not just working for money.
2. Sales intelligence. Take any sales job. The worse the better! Cold-calling and door-to-door sales are absolutely terrible, but you’ll learn more than you could ever imagine about human nature – which is priceless. With this insight, you can gain some control over any situation. Once you obtain these powers, don’t abuse them.
3. Management knowledge. Knowing how to manage and lead people so that they’re successful is a powerful tool. If you work at a fast food restaurant, work up to a management position. When you learn to help others, you actually learn how to help yourself. That’s also priceless.
4. Keep an open mind. As I’ve gotten older, I say yes much more often. You never know what might happen. Many opportunities have arisen for me because I was able to keep an open mind.
5. Be curious. Never stop learning. Keep reading. Become a student of life. We all can and should try to improve ourselves.
6. Truly care. Make sure you give the people who matter to you your full attention. Listen deeply. Everyone has something to offer.
7. Look at the obstacles in your life as opportunities. You’re going to encounter problems every day of your life, so choose to look at them differently starting now. I highly recommend reading The Obstacle Is the Way, Ryan Holiday’s powerful book on this subject.
8. Give back. You can never give enough back. Don’t expect anything in return, ever. You’ll be surprised where this attitude can lead.
9. Be dedicated. Create a habit of dedication. Like anything in life, you have to do something more than a few times to get good at it. Also, get in the habit of being on time. It denotes respect.
109. Travel. You can learn a lot about yourself and the world we live in by experiencing other cultures.
11. Embrace new technology, especially as you age. It’s a big world out there, but it’s getting smaller every day. Don’t let yourself be passed by.
12. Protect yourself from the noise. You are truly influenced by the inputs you receive. Don’t pollute your soul with garbage. These days, it’s everywhere.
13. Treat everyone with kindness. Everyone is unique, and everyone is on this journey we call life.
14. Never talk badly about others. Keep your opinions to yourself. When you take the high road, people notice and respect you. Your friends will always come to your defense anyway.
15. Don’t chase money. If you find something you truly love to do, there’s a very good chance you’ll have the money you need to design your life.
The upshot? There will be many ups and downs in your life. Try to enjoy the ride each and every day.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Feel Like Quitting? These 9 Women Prove Grit Can Lead You To Massive Success
When life knocks you down, true grit is a quality that sustains you.
Greatness and GritJ.K. Rowling
Talent and intelligence may help you land some success, but it’s a positive, non-cognitive skill known as “grit” that is the secret sauce in reaching the next level of achievement, according to Angela Duckworth, a psychology researcher and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
Grit is a perfect storm of non-cognitive skills. It’s resolve and tenacity. It’s the resilience to go on with renewed purpose after you’ve suffered a setback, failure or disappointment. It’s commitment to your goals and a belief in yourself and/or to a greater cause. And the beauty of grit is that it’s not just a popular buzzword – it’s a powerful motivational tool that can be used in both work and personal life.
For women, grit is a powerful advantage to possess in entrepreneurship or any male-dominated field. To pay tribute to inspirational female leaders who have shown us that quitting is simply not an option, here are nine examples of amazing women who exhibited true grit.
“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void: the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is the poster-woman for grit. After suddenly losing her husband Dave Goldberg in 2015, the mother of two young children went back to work and tried to find meaning in her loss. Not surprisingly, she found it through doing what she does best: Helping others who are struggling by sharing her own life lessons.
What emerged from her struggle was the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, where she shares science, research and anecdotes about the concrete steps that can be taken to overcome struggle and build resilience.
“I’ve since learned that you need to treat obstacles just like opportunity – quickly without much thought and move on.”
While building her business empire, Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and Shark Tank investor, did what she needed to do in order to survive. Corcoran has spoken about how, during the recession in the 1990s, she had to leave her own real estate company with its 300 employees to work for a salaried job under a real estate developer so she could pay rent.
“Everybody laughed at me because they thought I was a failure,” Corcoran says.
However, she didn’t let that setback halt her determination. She eventually returned to her company, which survived the recession, and her staff of 300 remained at her side.
“I have had a lot of setbacks that I learned from.”
23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki has spoken of growing up with a strong academic mother who spoke out and wasn’t afraid of making waves. Having such a fierce female role model early in life likely prepared Wojcicki for some of the challenges she would face as an adult with her direct-to-consumer genetic testing service. In 2013, the FDA banned her company from selling its services. At the time, Wojicki said the “new user signups dropped by half.”
Wojcicki isn’t deterred easily. After two years of working very closely with the FDA, she was able to successfully bring a less comprehensive version of the testing service back to market while pursuing additional revenue streams for the company.
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
Oprah Winfrey has been very public about her early challenges. At the age of 19, Winfrey became the co-anchor of a news desk in Tennessee, becoming Nashville’s first black and female news anchor. She then went on to anchor the coveted spot of evening news at a larger station in Baltimore only to be soon fired. She was demoted to a less visible spot doing morning news.
However, her ability to really connect with people shone through. Winfrey was offered a local morning talk show, Baltimore Is Talking, and it shot to the top in ratings. When a talk show opportunity for an affiliate station in Chicago presented itself, she went for it. Winfrey transformed it into Chicago’s highest rated talk show, which became The Oprah Winfrey Show. The burgeoning media mogul formed her own production company Harpo Productions and gained the rights to her show, ensuring creative control.
Possessing the resilience to keep going after disadvantages and setbacks made Winfrey into the mogul she is today. “Not all my memories of Baltimore are fond ones,” Winfrey said. “But I do have fond memories of Baltimore, because it grew me into a real woman.”
“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
In her famous TED Talk, researcher and academic Angela Duckworth talks about how at the age of 27, she left her high flying job as a management consultant to teach math in New York City public schools. What she learned while teaching became part of her obsession about “grit,” a non-cognitive skill. “Some of my strongest performers did not have stratospheric IQ scores,” Duckworth said in her TED Talk. “Some of my smartest kids weren’t doing so well.”
She goes on to talk about how although education best measures IQ, her experience and research has convinced her that it’s passion and perseverance that better predicts a person’s academic and professional success. And what emerged from Duckworth’s own grit was The New York Times bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
“It would be lovely to think that success was a result of my being extraordinary, but the answer is far more boring. I worked hard. Really hard.”
The president of the respected Chicago firm Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson isn’t as well-known as her contemporaries, but she is undoubtedly a fierce leader who embodies grit. She grew up without a father, and her mother was a pivotal figure in her development of strong character. A well-intentioned business woman who didn’t have the practical know-how, her mother often got the family evicted from homes throughout Hobson’s childhood.
“Even though I will never be evicted again, I am haunted by those times and still work relentlessly,” Hobson once wrote. “When I think of my career and why I leaned in, it comes down to basic survival.”
However, her mother instilled independence and competence in Hobson from a young age. “My mom would say, ‘You have a birthday party to go to? Well, you can’t go unless you’ve planned how to get there and how to get a present.’” Hobson said. “She wouldn’t do that for me. I found my own orthodontist, my own high school. I set up interviews and did college trips. Despite her incredible concern and caring, my mom didn’t have the capacity for that. It was outside her experience, and she knew I was on top of it.”
“Do not ever quit out of fear of rejection.”
Before we heard of her, J.K. Rowling was a single mother living on government benefits in the United Kingdom. She sat in cafes in Edinburgh finishing her book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When it was complete, her agent submitted the manuscript to 12 different publishers before it was sold.
This past June, Rowling, a Twitter enthusiast, reflected on her days of struggle and offered a message of strength and grit to other writers. She quoted a tweet from a fellow writer that said: “HEY! YOU! You’re working on something and you’re thinking ‘Nobody’s gonna watch, read, listen.’ Finish it anyway.” The Harry Potter author added: “There were so many times in the early ’90s when I needed somebody to say this to me. It’s great advice for many reasons.”
She went on to encourage writers to finish their books. “Even if it isn’t the piece of work that finds an audience, it will teach you things you could have learned no other way.”
“I’m not going into that good night. I am going to fire up and live this thing as large as I can live it until I can’t live it that large anymore.”
In September 2013, 64-year-old Diana Nyad attempted, for the fifth time, to swim more than 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. Nyad called the stretch of water she intended to conquer “Mother Nature on steroids,” full of whitetip sharks and jellyfish.
Nyad said that her greatest catalyst to complete the swim challenge was her mother’s death four years earlier. It made her not only aware of the limited time she had left but gave her the will to “find a way” – which became her motto.
Find a way, she did. After nearly 53 hours in the water, Nyad became the first person to ever complete the swim from Cuba to Florida.
Mary Kay Ash
“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”
The “sink or swim” moment for Mary Kay Ash, who founded the Mary Kay Cosmetics empire, came after World War II. Her husband had run off with another woman, and she was left with three young children to support. Having a knack for sales, she was employed by various direct-sales companies. Always a top sales performer, she found herself undervalued and dismissed by her male colleagues.
Ash quit her sales job in 1962 and began writing a guide for working women. In it, she described her ideal sort of company and soon realized that she could start her own. She simply had to find a product she believed in to sell to women.
Now in her mid-40s and on her second husband, she took her life’s savings and invested it in the production of a skin softener she’d been using on herself. She rented a storefront, recruited nine saleswomen and was ready to open shop when her second husband suddenly died. Although she was advised against it, a month later she opened shop. One year later, sales reached $800,000, a staggering number for 1964, and her sales force had grown to more than 3,000.
Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics remains a private company specializing in direct sales in more than 40 markets worldwide with over 3.5 million independent consultants and $3.5 billion in sales as of 2016.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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