Entrepreneurship is easier said than done. As with most things in life, it has its own set of rules. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run, whether you have venture funding or whether you are using your own savings. The rules still apply. Here are six rules of entrepreneurship that should remind you of the wonderful ride that entrepreneurship really is.
You will learn more from these six stories of entrepreneurial struggle than you would from six different books written on entrepreneurship. We’ll start with big stories first.
Rules of Entrepreneurship
Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonalds: “I shall persist”
Persistence is the missing word in entrepreneurship. Ray Kroc is a testimony to persistence. A kitchen wares sales man with health issues at aged 52 took a risk in 1954 and bought out a family-run restaurant. And in doing so created one of the most iconic brands in the world. The menu was limited and the service was quick. It was fast food that really was fast for a change. The idea was simple, yet elegant at the time. Though somewhat boring compared to today’s tech startups, it comes with a valuable lesson.
Lesson: Run with your imagination. Take that idea and turn it into something great. In short, disrupt.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group: “Screw it, let’s do it”
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No, we aren’t talking about Branson’s book here. We are talking instead about the very psyche of Sir Richard Branson, a billionaire worth at least two billion dollars and the founder of companies involved in everything from air travel to space tourism. We all know him to be a shrewd businessman with the style of a newbie rock star. He’s charming, social, and completely unpredictable. And his personality seeps through his business. He is a man of action, a relentless entrepreneur, if you will.
His first endeavor was a magazine that never took off. He later found a new way for people to enjoy music — lounging around and listening to records before buying. The retail venture become Virgin Records. Serial entrepreneur that he is, he went on to create even more businesses. Some failed. Some rocked. Either way, he never sat there wondering what happened. He just moved on.
Lesson: Get up and do something about that idea. Dreams are nothing if you don’t sweat towards them. Screw it. Just do it. No matter what happens.
Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple: “I’ll go on and do my best, no matter what you do to me.”
The founder of one of the most popular brands in the tech industry didn’t have an easy path. From humble beginning, Jobs navigated through some huge challenges and a major setback to achieve his ambitious goals. Apple started as a small startup, grew into a small but profitable enterprise, and went public, only to have an internal power struggle for control of Apple drive Jobs from the very company he founded.
Most entrepreneurs would have simply quit or turned their backs on the past and simply started a new company. Jobs, however, made Apple come to him. He started another business called Next which Apple bought and meanwhile, also founding another successful company, Pixar Studios (now, Disney-Pixar). For Jobs, it was always about design, beautiful rendition of products, and extreme value poured into everything his company makes.
Apple does it. Pixar does it.
Lesson: Staying true to the quality of the products and services you provide will see you through the toughest times. Don’t give up. No matter what the obstacle.
Lewis Howes, American author, consultant and speaker: “Nothing stops me. Not even the lack of a product to sell.”
[Image: Lewis Howes]
Lewis Howes was a professional athlete. But a broken wrist ended his athletic career. Instead of lamenting, Howes simply started another career for himself. Though at the time he says he didn’t have a dime to his name.
The problem was he had no product to market. But by attending webinars and educating himself about the combination of ideas and action needed to build a successful company, Howes was able to build up a level of expertise he could then share with others trying to do the same.
Lessons: Not having a product to sell is an excuse. When you don’t have products, you have services. When you don’t have the time or resources for providing services, you can teach or train like Lewis does. Entrepreneurship is more about creation, innovation, and making things happen than about finding the right inventory.
Brian Morgan of Adventure Life: “Have $3000, passion, and guts? Will start!”
[Image: Adventure Life]
Of course, you can start with much less too but we want to introduce you to Brian Morgan of Adventure Life. An adventure junkie, traveler, and business owner Morgan started his company in 1998 with just $3000 in his pocket. By 2008, the company had earned $11 million in revenue and had 16 employees.
Adventure Life is a travel company that specializes in “inspired and authentic” experiences for the travel enthusiast. The passion of its employees has become a unique component in the excursions they now offer all over the world.
Lesson: You can turn your hobby into a business. Just bring passion, an idea, and the right execution to make it a success.
Scott Heiferman, CEO of Meetup.com: “You don’t have to do it all.”
Entrepreneurs suffer from control issues, including an inability to let go and to trust others. Yet, Scott Heiferman, who runs Meetup.com, a global “meeting engine” with more than 15 million members and 136,047 groups across 196 countries is an expert at doing just that.
In an interview with Chris Dixon at TechCrunch.com, he offered this advice: divide and conquer. Do what you are best at and let others take care of the rest. Each founder should focus on his or her strengths.
Lesson: Outsource. Hire. Pick the best brains in the business. It comes at a price but it’s a pittance compared to the profits you make. Learn the art of delegation. Meetup.com run its business and lets groups all over the world with a passion to meet do the rest.
What entrepreneur lessons can you share with us?