“How do I become a successful entrepreneur?” You hear this question all the time from inexperienced would-be business owners. They want to know that “one trick to starting a business” that nobody else knows.
As you’ve probably guessed, there is no one secret to starting a business. But it turns out there are many small tips that you can use to help guide you in the right direction when starting a business. So below we’ve compiled interviews with 4 extremely successful entrepreneurs to get their take on keys to a successful startup.
Steve Jobs is responsible for the smartphone as we know it today. No one since Jobs has poured the same passion and veracity into designing cutting-edge products, which is why he took Apple from a small company to one of the world’s largest.
- Do What You Love- And if you don’t know what you love? Pick up a job as a dishwasher while you figure it out. That’s how adamant Jobs was about following a passion. Steve Jobs loved the user experience and was obsessed with driving technology to its absolute pinnacle. The result? The iPhone.
- Put A Dent In The Universe- Jobs didn’t create the iPhone because he wanted to get rich. He wanted to put a dent in the universe and leave it different from how he found it. He actually once asked the then-president of Pepsi, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?”
- Make Connections- Jobs wasn’t just talking about human connections here. He’s talking about bringing very different people together who bring their very different perspectives to solving a problem. These are the ideas that are normally missed; because people too often surround themselves with like-minded people and like-minded ideas.
Jobs actually took a calligraphy class in college. Did that contribute to the success of Apple? You bet.
- Say No To 1,000 Things- Jobs did not want to be “everything for everyone”. There is no passion in that and no expertise. Instead, he wanted to be the best at very few things.
When he took over, Apple was producing 350 different products. Jobs scaled that product line down to 10. Why? So that he could have the very best people work on the very best projects for their specific skill sets. This meant they would deliver the very best product.
- Create Intensely Different Experiences- Jobs didn’t just want users to use his products: he wanted his products to inspire users. That was his motivation behind the Apple Stores- he wanted users to walk out feeling inspired by Apple’s innovation and form an emotional bond to this inspiration and in turn, Apple.
- Master The Message- In his corporate and product presentations, Jobs didn’t just present. He informed he educated, and he poured the same passion into his messages that he put into his products. The result was that his presentations had a much more “human” feel to them, and left listeners inspired and excited.
- Sell Dreams, Not Products- Steve Jobs knew something fundamental about consumers that other companies would learn years later. Consumers don’t care about products. They care about themselves. So if you sell products that help consumers achieve their dreams, and you show consumers how your product will help them achieve their goals, they will reward you by buying your product.
Elon Musk has had his share of entrepreneurial experiences. He helped create PayPal. He is the CEO of Tesla Motors. He started the Boring Company to dig a tunnel in order to avoid LA traffic. And he helped to start and establish OpenAI, Neuralink and SolarCity. He even undertook literal rocket science and started one of the world’s only private space companies, SpaceX.
- Have A Pain Threshold- Every business starts with euphoria. But then, you run into problems. And those problems escalate. If you can overcome those problems, you’ll get back to that euphoria stage. But it’s important to know yourself, and know what you’re willing to sacrifice to start a business. Are you willing to start a business if it destroys your marriage? Your friendships? It’s important to establish your threshold for what you are willing to sacrifice in pursuit of starting your own business before you start it.
- Whatever You’re Doing Has To Be A Great Product Or Service- Sounds simple, right? But so many entrepreneurs get sucked into marketing, branding and raising capital that they often forget about the core of their business: the product. Don’t lose sight of this in your efforts to succeed.
- Constantly Seek Criticism- You don’t learn from being told “good job”. You learn from the uncomfortable criticism you receive when you seek that criticism out. That’s how you learn to adjust your behaviors, your focus, and how to create a better product.
Sara Friar started the NextDoor app, which is a community-based app to help with everything from community gatherings to finding a short-notice babysitter. She’s now worth over $50 million, and she has some poignant advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Please note that while her advice was specifically directed at women, we’ve applied it to both men and women, as it holds true to entrepreneurs no matter your race or gender.
- Surround Yourself With Smart, Creative, Driven People- Your parents always told you, “You are who your friends are”. The same applies to business. By surrounding yourself with the right people, you’ll have a far better chance to succeed.
- Get Mentors, But Be Careful Who You Select- Remember to take advice from people based in their area of expertise. If you admire your father’s emotional intelligence, take her advice on emotional intelligence when she gives it to you. But if he’s bad with money? Don’t take his advice on that topic. Apply this to all the mentors you choose throughout various aspects of your life, especially when starting a business.
- Give Yourself Permission To Fail- So many entrepreneurs don’t start because they don’t give themselves permission to fail. By giving yourself that permission, you’re accepting that you’re not perfect. And that’s ok. It’s better to try and fail than never to try at all.
- Do What Makes You Happy- Like Jobs, Friar harps on the importance of doing what you love. You’ll produce better work, and it will get you through those hard times that are inevitable for entrepreneurs.
Monis Rahman is one of Pakistan’s most successful entrepreneurs. He founded Rozee.pk, Pakistan’s #1 job search site.
- Choose The Right Founding Team- Things will go wrong in startups, they always do. Is your team resilient? Are they flexible, passionate and creative so that when things do go wrong, they’ll have the ability to overcome?
- Resource Management Is Key- Not just financial resources, but human resources as well. If you’re short on cash, get a spot in a shared office. If you’re short on personnel, cross-train your best people. Maximize your resource usage by correctly identifying the best jobs for your best people so that they’ll churn out the best possible results.
- Get Feedback In Short Bursts- Don’t work on a project for 2 years only to then seek feedback and find out it doesn’t solve your customer’s issue. Divide your projects into small segments and then constantly seek feedback on each of those segments. You can then iterate on that feedback so that when you do put out a product, it’s exactly what your customers want.
Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and
living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health
world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. Patrick is currently
a writer for Mountain Springs Recovery as well as on his own blog.