27 Jan

Entrepreneur Tips

Do not wait for success: Co-create it

Tips from Richard Branson

1. Follow your dreams.

You will live a much better life if you pursue your passions. People who work on the things that they love usually enjoy life more than everyone else does simply because they are chasing their dreams.

2. Do some good.

If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business — it’s that simple. Companies have a responsibility to make a difference in the world: They owe this to their community, their staff, their customers, everyone. The amazing part is that doing good is also good for business — what are you waiting for?

3. Believe in your ideas: Give your venture everything you’ve got.

A passionate commitment to your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be? And don’t get suckered into blindly pursuing profits and growth. If you stay focused on being the best at what you do, it’s more likely that the rest will follow.

4. Have fun, and make sure that your team members are enjoying themselves too.

Fun is one of the most important — and underrated — components of any successful venture. If you’re not enjoying yourself, it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else. If your employees are engaged and having fun, and they genuinely care about your customers, they will enjoy their work more and do a better job. Hire people who look for the best in others, who lavish more praise than they dole out criticism, and who genuinely love what they do.

5. Don’t give up.

On every adventure that I have undertaken — whether it was setting up a business, flying around the world in a balloon or racing across an ocean in a powerboat — I have faced difficult moments when the easiest thing to do would have been to throw in the towel and walk away. But you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve by tenaciously sticking to your goals. When you fail, get back up, brush yourself off and try again.

6. Listen, take lots of notes and keep setting yourself new challenges.

If you don’t write down your own (and others’) spontaneous ideas, they can vanish in the blink of an eye. So be sure to keep track of your goals: make lists. And remember to listen more and talk less. You’ll be amazed at the obstacles a listening culture can overcome.

7. Delegate, and spend more time with your family.

The art of delegation is one of the key skills that entrepreneurs must master. Be sure to “hire to your weaknesses.” Bringing on people who can do the tasks you aren’t particularly good at can free you up to plan for your company’s future. This strategy also allows you to spend more time with your family, which is really the most important thing of all.

Oh yes, and don’t forget to ask your family for input on your latest big idea — like I should have done before we launched Mates condoms, for instance!

8. Communicate, collaborate and communicate some more.

Keep it simple, stupid . and above all else, work and play with others. Mushrooms might grow when they are kept in the dark and fed a diet of dung, but that strategy doesn’t work with people. The Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and companies like Pixar built open work environments that invited intermingling and the sharing of visions — you need that atmosphere too.

9. Turn off your laptop and iPhone, and get out there.

Don’t sit in front of a screen all day. Switch everything off and venture out into the world regularly. If you’ve been neglecting this part of life, start with your own backyard, then expand your field of vision. With so many fascinating people to meet, exciting adventures to embark upon and rewarding challenges to undertake, there’s no time to lose. As the saying goes: Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

10. Do what you love, and keep a couch in the kitchen.

As long as you are surrounded by the people you love and you’re doing what you love, it really doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you make. When we are on Necker Island, my family tends to spend most of our time in the kitchen together. If you have a roof over your head and a partner you love, you really don’t need too much more.

Short introduction

by Entrepreneur.com

More for lazy ones

Tips from Marty Nemko

1. Don’t innovate; replicate.

Being a guinea pig is so risky: Your idea or its execution could easily be flawed, or it can be so new that the public isn’t ready for it. Tivo, an unquestionable improvement over the VCR, lost hundreds of millions of dollars in its first five years as it tried to educate the public. You probably don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars and five years to wait for profitability. Instead, clone a simple, small-investment business that, in multiple locations, is successful. How can you tell? Check out retail shopping areas. Which stores are busiest? When I did that recently in the San Francisco Bay Area, I found that burrito joints are booming. The Bay Area is very anti-establishment yet needs fast food — burrito joints are perfect.

2. Don’t seek status; avoid it.

Many business school case studies focus on high-status businesses, for example, biotech or high-tech. But the higher a business’s status, the tougher its competition. Instead, consider what Thomas Stanley in The Millionaire Next Door calls “dull-normal businesses.” Few graduates of prestigious MBA programs start sand-blasting, plumbing, mobile home park-maintenance, or truck brokerage businesses, let alone develop a chain of burrito carts. A dull-normal business not only has less competition, it’s simpler to run, so less can go wrong. One of super investor Warren Buffett’s axioms is to invest only in ventures he can understand. So, he’s in such relatively simple businesses as a paint manufacturer, a food distributor, and a furniture store.

You’ll probably find that success — even in a grungy business — is much more satisfying than a high-flying failure. In addition to the money, it feels good to have lots of grateful customers — even if what you’ve sold them is only a burrito. Would you feel uncomfortable telling friends that your career is pushcart peddler? No need to. Try, “I’m the president of Bigshot Burritos with branches throughout the D.C. metropolitan area.” Has a nice ring to it.

3. Invest little.

Business schools intone: “It takes money to make money.” For the average entrepreneur, that’s wrong. If you’ve invested a bundle in starting your business, the nearly inevitable costly setbacks can be deadly. So, choose a business that requires only a small investment and then run it as cost-effectively as possible:

Minimize rent. For example, instead of renting a storefront, sell your burritos (or soup, soap, espresso, whatever) from a well-signed, high-foot-traffic cart or truck. Or choose a business you can run from home: inside sales, utility-bill auditing or consulting.

With my own home-based endeavor – career coaching — I have no rent and I provide a service rather than a product. That keeps my expenses to a minimum — nearly every dollar is profit. Plus, I advise half my clients by phone so I’m often able to counsel in my T-shirt and shorts while enjoying my backyard’s flowers and trees.

4. Don’t take on a partner.

Not only do they take half the profit, they deprive you of what you were seeking in self-employment: control. Besides, the self-employment battlefield is littered with partners who couldn’t stop fighting with each other. Want companionship? Hire a $10-$20 an hour assistant 10 hours a week. Need expertise? Hire a consultant by the hour or day. How to find one? For our burrito business, hire the owner of a successful one. Of course, promise not to open up shop near his or her store.

5. No late to start


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