Mei 14, 2011

A Note from an Entrepreneur

 Greetings everyone,

My last several posts apparently had intrigued a friend of mine, who owns a book distribution business, to share what he thinks are the 'key' to his early success:

  1. Pivot fast: If you keep doing the same thing, you will just keep getting the same results. If a problem arises, find the root cause and make changes. There is no such thing as keeping things constant. 
  2. Don’t be stupid, ask: There isn’t a point to guess when you can actually ask. We changed our focus to Asia because we asked what readers want. If your product has a problem, ask your consumers and strategic partners why it sucks.
  3. Network, network, network: Tech guy or not, you have no reason to hide in your dormitory or office. Start by meeting people and connecting. It is never a waste of time. 
  4. Be humble: A little air of arrogance is needed in an entrepreneur. But keep it in check to avoid offending others (no one likes an asshole). I learned through the hard way (yes, I used to be an asshole) and realized that things are so much better when you’re humble. My straightforwardness somehow presented me as an arrogant person and it took me sometime to change.
  5. Don’t listen: When someone gives you feedback, ask yourself if he is an expert, a poser or a wet blanket. I’m not asking you to walk away from posers and wet blankets. Listen, be truthful to yourself and get the relevant content. You know your business best.
  6. Help others: No matter how busy we are, helping others will help us develop our listening skills, keep us humble, and broaden our networks. 
  7. Stay lean and focused: What’s your current performance indicator? It could be web visits, building a team, getting users or revenue. Have a list of goals (focus just one or two) and ask yourself if your resources are being put into good use to achieving them. Eliminate things that are slowing you down and focus on the important matter first. It’s easy for me to write and even easier for you to read. But staying focused can be tough when there are so many noises and expectations from different stakeholders (including your mom and dad). I had this problem in my previous start-up.
It seems to me that the conclusion is (a) belief in yourself and your vision for your business / product, (b) don't listen to people who give comments - commentators are usually not playing on the football field and can say whatever they feel like it, without knowing the real deal, (c) stay humble and agile - get your radar up to capture shifts in the marketplace and to spread your network and influence.

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