The best way to predict the future is to invent it.Steve Jobs
A few years into my career as an engineer, I had this weird idea. I have to do my own business. Like every other careers, entrepreneurship is nothing like it looks from outside. There are many myths of entrepreneurship that needs to be busted.
myth 1 -it’s a glamorous career.
Stories are always written about the winners. Most stories we read about are about the top one in million entrepreneurs. A lot is written about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Branson. For most entrepreneurs, the dream becomes a nightmare within a year of starting the business. Less than 10% survive in the 10th year. The surviving businesses most often remain small businesses never achieving the full potential. It’s less than 1% who ever become successful. Now, success doesn’t mean millionaire. Some of them are happy and successful running a smaller operation and being the boss.
myth 2 – it’s all about the money
Contrary to popular belief, If your only aim is to make money, you are very unlikely to become successful. Truly successful businessmen are passionate about the value they create. As a result, their products and services often are many times better than competition who care only about the money.
This doesn’t mean that money doesn’t count. There are may dreamers who do not understand the basics of finances and go bankrupt before they are able to get any revenue. Money does matter, but not as much as your determination to create something truly valuable.
myth 3 – businessmen are busy
It’s true that most businessmen are busy, but the best businessmen hardly do anything. Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger spend most of their time reading books. I won’t call it busy. They spend a lot of time developing themselves.
Most successful businessmen I know spend a lot of time with their family and children. They know the value of their personal relationships more. After All, It’s very hard to do business if you don’t know how to nurture relationships.
myth 4 – businessmen are RISK TAKERS
Good businessmen are so risk averse, I don’t quite get it after years trying to become a businessman. Before they bet their money on a new venture, businessmen go to crazy lengths to make sure it’s risk free.
The amount of research businessmen do before investing will put scientists to shame.
Although it is wise to remember what not to do, we need to do the right things to go forward in business. Oddly enough, it’s rather easy to do a business. We can build and run a successful business if we follow a few simple principles.
lesson 1 – People, customers,money iN THAT ORDER
You can not do it alone. You need people to run a business. When you take care of the people who make your business run, they take care of your customers. Happy customers will take care of money.
Creating happy customers is rather simple. People are always in need of things and help, if you can find a way to meet these needs consistently, you can create a business. If you need a successful business, you will need to figure out how to do it a little bit better each day. If you improve consistently with time, your business will become successful. There are those geniuses who do this pretty fast, they become successful pretty quickly.
lesson 2 – keep it simple
Avoid complexity wherever possible. Business is a world of uncertainty. When you add unnecessary complexity, you are making your business harder to manage. Try to add tremendous value by doing simple improvements to the products and services already in the market, It’s a proven method to create a business.
Huge leaps come rarely, simple improvements may sound easy. Great innovations always look quite obvious in retrospect. Can you imagine suitcases with wheels came out only very recently?
lesson 3 – focus
We all have limitations. We don’t have enough time, money, energy or resources to do everything. Follow the 80/20 Rule. Focus only on those 20% products or services with potential, they will give you 80% of your revenues/profits.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Lesson 4 – cash is the king
Always try to fund expansion from profits. Although outside investors and banks make it easy to expand your operations, it is a good idea to keep it small and fund expansion from profits. Such an approach will keep you grounded, avoid unnecessary wastage and force you to continuously innovate. If you are playing for the long term, you can become wealthy from a profitable and growing business. Try to double your revenues with maintaining good bottom line every year, you are guaranteed to become rich in just 10 years time.
lesson 5 – trust
Don’t try to be too smart. If people don’t trust you, your business has no future. Even if you have a great product and service, if your customers, partners and staff don’t trust you, you will eventually fail.
Be smart. Even if you are liked and trusted, you need to know what you are doing. Otherwise, people don’t trust you to create products and services for them. Teach yourself and your team about your niche. You will get better and better with time. More and more people will trust you, your revenues and profits will increase.
These are just the lessons that I learned from my limited experience. These may not even be relevant to you. Please, take them with a pinch of salt. Your feedback will be much appreciated. Thank you for reading.