15 April 2016
Are you setting out on your business journey? It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, isn’t it?
I meet many budding businesspeople, both online and in person, and I am often asked what my advice is for young entrepreneurs. It’s becoming such a frequent question that I think it is worth sharing more publicly.
For a start, I’m not really a fan of the word ‘young’; it implies that only people of a certain age can set out on an entrepreneurial journey and that’s simply not true! Anyone can build on an idea and creative an incredible business. The founder of KFC, the famous Colonel Sanders, set the fast food chain up when he was 65.
If you are a budding entrepreneur, whatever your age, you have to seize the moment. Time is the key to success; it’s not how much money you make, it’s how you spend your time. While too many people squander it, the successful ones among us essentially live the experiences of 100s of lifetimes in the short time that we are on this planet.
Time, like many things, is more valuable than money. Money isn’t a great motivator for long.
That’s why I always advise people not to try to be the richest, but to try to be the best at what you do. Never cut corners, take pride in what you do. Don’t over polish your product to make it look better. Get out and feel it. Be proud of it.
It is also essential to ask for help. If you’re product isn’t as good as it could be, if you’re struggling with the intricacies of running a business, if you’re having time management problems; it doesn’t matter the issue, ask for help.
You can’t be the master of everything that a growing business needs, that’s why it’s your role to always employ people better than you in each chosen field. Look for people with more experience. Look for the skills that you don’t have.
Also consider that the first person you employ is literally going to double your capacity, so it’s the most important person you will ever employ! I chose an organised person.
Not because I am disorganised, far from it, but I know my strengths and know the value of building lots of connections, however there are far too many to follow up personally. Having someone coordinating me is the difference between success and failure. A great PA enables you to fly at speeds you never dreamt of. But a PA is not merely an admin role. They are an extension of you and a great one knows and anticipates your every move. As the founder of a fast growing business, you will be making hundreds of decisions, so find a PA that you trust implicitly one that is smarter and knows what you are trying to achieve.
Finally, you are going to make lots of mistakes! This is only a problem if: a) you don’t learn from them and b) you bet everything on one throw of the dice.
You hear stories of people getting lucky and betting, but I’ve never met one. In reality, successful entrepreneurs work incredibly hard and the great ones give credit to others when things go well, so don’t be fooled by the chancers!
If you want to be a Larry Page, a Bill Gates, prepare for a rollercoaster of a ride and prepare for a marathon that never ends. You have to live, eat and sleep your business, sacrificing a huge chunk of your life.
This is our vocation. I wouldn’t wish it on the wrong person, but if it’s your destiny, you will just be able to handle it. Like holding on to a raging bull with one hand. It’s exhilarating, dangerous, awe inspiring, terrifying and fantastic all rolled into one. Most of all, if what I am writing here connects with you, drop me a message. I am here to help.
Ultimately don’t hesitate, be brave but courteous. Be the best you can be.
Best of luck on your journey my friend.