It is a common misconception that the business world is entirely dog-eat-dog. A madcap scramble to success followed by a king-of-the-hill strategy of crushing anyone who comes close to reaching your lofty heights.
In reality, though, those who’ve made it to the top are keen not to stop others from joining them on the podium, but actually encourage them to do so.
A seemingly constant barrage of business advice from the top-tier business elite is offered about starting a business on a daily basis — from entire editorials to snappy, one-sentence quotes.
Making sense of some of these quotes can be tricky, however. Most offer a golden nugget of business advice, hidden under vague language, jargon and wordplay. You’ve got to be creative to make it in business, after all.
Using his twelve years of experience of running a nationwide chartered accountancy firm, Russell Smith breaks through the jargon and deciphers the message behind the words of some of the world’s most successful business minds.
You’ll see this sort of quote all over the internet. An army of business founders offering up the same advice for those starting a business, just phrased slightly different.
Everyone fails at some point in their business career. All of the biggest names in business have got to where they are by getting it wrong at some point.
As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to avoid risk, but risks have the biggest payoffs. You need to experience failure, or at least be willing to experience it. Sure, you can achieve stability by playing it safe, but you’ll never build a legacy like Seth Godin.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” — Sir Richard Branson
To evolve your business, and to grow as a business owner, you have to look for your own path.
Plenty of books and resources out there will offer a step-by-step guide to making it in the business world, and they may work to a point. However, you won’t become the next Richard Branson by following what you read in ‘business for dummies’.
Explore your own opportunities and think creatively. Discover new avenues of business not by cold, hard research, but by experiencing them first-hand and making your own choices. Say social media has not proven effective in your industry, for example. Don’t follow the herd, make it work for you, or at least try.
The more you experience, the more you know and the better your sense of business will become, even if it means “falling over” on the way.
So, you are starting a business. Do you want to be an entrepreneur on the cusp of discovery, or do you want to be a business owner with stability? Pick one, because you can’t have both.
To be comfortable, you need to have certain securities simply not conducive to growth. There is nothing wrong with choosing either, but you must choose. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can keep things safe and comfortable all while rocketing to the top. It just won’t work.
Know what you want, and you’ll know how to steer your business.
It is said that successful business owners and entrepreneurs need to have a keen eye for gaps in the market. But sometimes, you have to make your own market.
People don’t actually know what they want until innovators like Henry Ford put it in front of their eyes.
A lot of advice will tell you that the way to conducting successful business is being better than your competition, but what if you didn’t have any competition in the first place?
Unique ideas that transform lives are often far more popular than ideas that just perform better than their competitor. Take the iPhone as an example. Nobody knew they wanted an iPhone until Apple unveiled it to the world.
Revolutionise the world, then. Simple.
Niklas Zennstrom was one such person that revolutionised the world, inventing the web-chat platform Skype.
However, as you’ll be aware, Skype isn’t the only web-chat service around anymore. Countless rivals exist.
As soon as the business world picks up on a successful idea, copycats looking to capitalise on the invention swoop in to steal a slice of the market. If you look at mobile app stores, you’ll notice countless clones of popular games, all existing purely on the back of somebody else’s good idea.
That’s why this piece of advice is so poignant and so important to take on board when starting a business.
Being an innovator of industry means you have to work hard and grow quickly to keep on top of your success. In the modern, fast-moving business world of instant communication, a groundbreaking idea can become somebody else’s cash cow if you don’t move fast enough to stop them overtaking you.
If you are going to launch a unique service or product, move fast and don’t unveil it until you’ve got the strength and resources to see it through.