True-Happiness Advice For Startups: Don’t build BIG business! Build sustainable one…
OK, the first thing you need to keep in mind is this:
1 — Create business that doesn’t need you.
Seriously, this is the biggest mistake lot of entrepreneurs make. It’s fine to make business around something you are passionate about. For sure — you’ll better know how to build, grow, navigate and control business. But your final goal is to have freedom — to do what every you like when you like it and this mean only one things — your business can not depend on you.
Tough call, but the first person you need to fire is you. That way you have time to spend with your family and — from the outside (very important for having a clear head) you can evaluate your business and make changes ot it. Keep it fresh, keep it on track, keep it live, keep it growing. But you can not work on it — other have to do it. And that’s fine, because…
2 — Business is about people, not products.
I figure this our while I was working for company with 250 employees and over $60 million in revenue per year. I stick there for years, as I did a lot and moved quickly through the company. Tripled my salary in less than 3 years. Fun times. Lot of learned. Major thing — they didn’t retained good people — so company didn’t create culture of community and innovation — employees didn’t improve their ecosystem. You see — Lary and Sergey didn’t invent AdWords (credits to Salar Kamangar) product that made over 96% of Google revenue. So it’s not about finding the perfect solution for your business, but finding people that will find the perfect solution for your business. Surround yourself with the best people you can — and they will look after you. Good company is like family. CEO is like your dad and mom in one. Seriously.
And your business is just a small startup — that’s not issue to find a great people. Target them and go peruse them. Look this way. Try to get them on board to partner with you. If they don’t accept — then you should ask yourself if your startup is good idea at all. Why its not appealing to exactly those people you expect should be part of it? Of course getting a feedback form the same people could mean total brilliance of ideas for how to improve your startup and make it what YOU want ti to be. So don’t be afraid that you are too small, go out there and peruse those you want to work with. As Dalai Lama said “if you think your are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with mosquito”.
3 — Be aggressive.
Aggressive is not violent, aggressive mean fight for things. Be super-nice, but fight and never stop fighting. It’s simple. It’s evolution. What doesn’t adopt — die. The same is with business. So be aggressive and constantly try to improve, change, tackle, tweak, discover, explore…
There are so many amazing companies that almost widespread in our world, just for not being aggressive enough to fight int he always changing market. I still remember when having Nokia was having the hottest cell phone on the market. Surprise was for me that they could not even keep a brand around when it was so hot at one time. But I guess they where eaten by aggressive Blackberry, who again was eaten… Yes, be aggressive and you’ll make it. Its survival, its evolution.
Again you don’t have to be big to be aggressive and surface to the top. Just remember Google and other companies started form the garages in California. Important is to separate your time and resources on two streams — execution: focus on being totally laser-sharp and efficient in executing your ideas, without any disruptions form the side, executing is where most of startups fail as even if they have goo idea, they get themselves lost into too many small obstacles and forget to deliver, even a simple Wordpress website is better than no website at all; and — research: make sure to hear and soak everything around you, chatting with interesting people could help you understand and improve your product tremendously. Because if you execute on the wrong idea, there is no much point in good execution, so at this stage you want to hear and digest everything, to understand as much as possible how your product can evolve.
4 — Start today and don’t give up. Learn.
This is the old one, but so truthful. Start with simple Wordpress site that will cost you $3/month. Just start. As you will learn so much on the way, experience is the best teacher.
I’ll give you my example. After working as Art Director for $60M company and Marketing Lead for $30M e-commerce, I one day made simple Wordpress site. it took me a weekend. Step by step I improved and websites started getting traction. Some visitors. Than I plugged newsletters as retention tactic. It’s worked. I still just played with that on weekend, when one day I decided to send newsletter with affiliate ad to at that stage 6,000 subscribers at my 6-months old website. Just an hour later I earned my first $500. It was unexpected and I started thinking more seriously about my small online project. Playing every weekend with it, I pivot and developed new ideas, new small sites and finally another 6-months later decided to leave my very-well-paid job and give it a full-time chance. 3-months later website was generating over US$1,000 in profits a day. I never expected that. But I learned so much through that year of playing with my small Wordpress website that I was at that stage very confident that I can make it. What more I had 7 ideas how to make my websites profitable. At this one — that made $1,000-a-day — was just a first one. But all 7 ideas come to me by learning on the way. When I started I never though it would be a profitable website, for sure not that it will build a future for my family.
And for sure people around me didn’t believe neither, I still remember how my wife laughed at me when I said I have 7 visitors in my first month. But less than 2-years later she resigned at her job and was sipping on coctail while flying business-class with me on our months-long trip around the world. Just start and don’t listen to non-believers.
Point is — don’t give up. Learn. Pivot. Change. Improve. Life is about learning. If there is a problem, there is a solution. World is built that way. My favorite quote from Hamlet is: “Nothing is good or bad, but our thinking make it that way”.
5— Be Visionary.
And remember you don’t have to be visionary — you can surround yourself with people who are. You have to provide conditions at which those visions can be executed into products. And that doesn’t mean money necessary. Mean strategic thinking that will allow lean building of your product.
6 — Don’t ignore your emotions.
To be continued…
(More coming after I come back from Thursday date/lunch with my wife…)
About me: entrepreneur — not focused on making lot of money or being famous, but having an awesome life. What I did. Actually I think I had the most wonderful life I could ever imagine. And it’s lot more to go, just passing my 30tis, traveling around the world with wonderful wife and my super-cute daughter, having dinners at the most wonderful places in all cities I want to visit in my life, meeting interesting people, learning about life and business, and pushing things further every day. Ex Art Director for $60M company, Marketing Lead for $30M e-commerce, today building his own businesses — in organic, lean way, achieving my dream and having opportunity to empower other young people to peruse their dreams. My achievement was not in building a big business, but sustainable that supports all my needs, including need for free time and freedom to travel, explore and learn.
Learning I want to share is not about how to build big business — but how to build sustainable business that will make you happy. Something lot of people who build big business didn’t manage to achieve. I would call it — a perfect business.