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The Eight Habits Of Extremely Successful Entrepreneurs

http://www.forbes.com/sites/actiontrumpseverything/2013/10/27/the-eight-habits-of-extremely-successfulentrepreneurs/

Entrepreneurs

10/27/2013

Paul !. !rown" #ontributor $ write on the best way to prepare for the future -- by creating it.

%reat entrepreneurs &on't write great boo(s. $n fact" they &on't write many boo(s at all. )either fact is surprising. *uccessful entrepreneurs are typically too busy innovating to write &own much of anything. +n& on those rare occasions when they attempt to create a boo(" it's fille& with what they &i&" an& not what le& to their i&ea in the first place. +s a rule" they are not particularly introspective. *o if we want to (now what ma(es them successful,in or&er to improve our own companies whether we wor( for a huge one or our own start up,we nee& to stu&y them. +n& that is exactly what $ have been &oing professionally for the last 30 years.

-ere's what $ have foun&. 1. Look at How They Think, Not at What They o! $f you .ust observe& the actions entrepreneurs ta(e" you woul& conclu&e there isn't that much to be gaine& from stu&ying them. /ach entrepreneur's behavior is as i&iosyncratic as they are. 0ou woul& have to be 1arry Page an& *ergey !rin to start %oogle2 3prah 4infrey to foun& -arpo Pro&uctions. !ut,an& it is a huge but,if you loo( at how they reason" you see remar(able similarities. 5he process .ust about all of them follows in creating their companies loo(s li(e this. 5hey: +. 6igure out what they really want to &o. !. 5a(e a small step towar& that goal. #. Pause after ta(ing that small step to see what they have learne&. 7. !uil& off that learning an& ta(e another small step. /. Pause after ta(ing that step. 6. !uil& off what they learne& in step two. +n& then ta(e another small step8 $f we were to re&uce it to a formula" it woul& be +ct. 1earn. !uil& 9epeat. Put simply" in the face of an un(nown future" entrepreneurs act. 5hey &eal with uncertainty not by trying to analy:e it" or planning for every contingency" or pre&icting what the outcomes will be. $nstea&" they act" learn from what they fin&" an& act again. 2. They Start with a "arket Nee#! $&eas are easy,$ bet you can come up with 10 new pro&uct or service i&eas within five minutes right now" if you ha& to. +n& because new i&eas are plentiful" they are not worth very much. +s with anything else" if there is a glut,of i&eas" in this case,the value goes &own. !esi&es" there is no guarantee anyone will buy the great i&ea you have come up with. $f you start with the i&ea" you nee& to go in search of customers. $f you begin with the nee&" you alrea&y have a mar(et,the people who nee& what you have. $f you can &iscover a mar(et nee& you can ma(e a fortune. !ut intriguingly" that is not the primary motivation of the most successful entrepreneurs" an& that brings us to the next point. 3. on$t Set Out to %e &ich. 5he best entrepreneurs &on't have ma(ing a fortune as their goal" as they start off. 4ealth is .ust ;an extremely pleasant< bypro&uct. 4hy not focus on gaining wealth= 4ell" if your primary ob.ective is to get rich >uic(" you are boun& to cut corners" short-change your customers" an& fail to ta(e the time to truly un&erstan& what the mar(et nee&s. +n& that is true whether you are trying to get your company off the groun&" or are intro&ucing a new pro&uct or service in or&er to ma(e this >uarter's numbers.

$nstea&" they i&entify the mar(et nee& we tal(e& about in point 2" an& get to wor(. ?. "arketing! '(sst! )ompete ifferently* 5he conventional wis&om,fin& a niche2 :ig when others :ag,is right" but not particularly helpful. $t lac(s" to be (in&" specificity. 6ar better is to &escribe what the best entrepreneurs &o an& that is @compete &ifferently.A -ow &o they &o it= -ere are some examples: Make small bets. 0our resources are limite& an& starting anything new is ris(y. 0ou &on't want to compoun& those ris(s by betting everything on one role of the &ice. Make those small bets quickly. )o" you &on't want to lose money. !ut" since you are not ris(ing much" you can affor& to fail. %et out in the mar(etplace fast an& let potential customers tell you if you are onto something. +ction trumps everything,especially planning. Where do you place those small bets? !" 3bviously" in areas where competitors &on't exist" or are wea(. )ot so obviously" in places where you feel strong. 5hat confi&ence will help you overcome the inevitable hur&les you will face. Where do you place those small bets? !!" )o customer wants to be entirely &epen&ent on .ust one supplier" no matter who it is. +s( yourself" what your competitor's customers want. !etter yet" as( those customers yourself. #et the market de$ine you. People will tell you what they li(e" an& what they &on't" about your pro&uct. $ncorporate their i&eas with yours. Ba(ing the worl&'s best vi&eocassette recor&er &oes you no goo&" if what people really want are 7C9s. %ne step at a time& !e satisfie& with ma(ing one significant improvement in a pro&uct or service. 0ou're boun& to ma(e mista(es .ust attempting one thing,many more if you try to &o too much. 'eep lookin( $or placeswhere you have a genuine competitive e&ge. 5hat's where profitability an& security lie. 5empting as it may be" &on't try to buy your way into mar(ets where you offer the same pro&uct at a lower price. 5hat's where you'll be vulnerable. D. +inancing. 5his is perhaps the biggest area people fail to un&erstan&. 4ith all the attention pai& to venture capitalists" there is a mista(en impression that the best entrepreneurs begin their companies with millions of &ollars in start up financing. 5hat simply isn't true. 5he actual number is E10F"?1G" accor&ing to the Hauffman 6oun&ation" an& that figure inclu&es the ;relatively few< companies" such as biotech firms" that nee&s millions to begin. *ure" E10F"?1G isn't chic(en fee&" but the figure is not particularly &aunting. 4hy is it so relatively low= $t relates bac( to the ways that the best entrepreneurs thin( about starting their companies. *ince they are ta(ing small steps" they only nee& sufficient financing to accomplish the next one.

G. Team %uil#ing! 0es" of course" the company foun&er nee&s to &elegate early. 0ou can try to micromanage but there are four large obstacles if you &o: ,-5he business will never grow bigger than one person ;you" the #/3< can han&le effectively2 ,-0our company won't be able to move very >uic(ly. *ince everything will have to flow through you" you will create a bottlenec(2 ,-0ou won't get the best i&eas out of your people. 3nce they un&erstan& the company is set up so everything revolves aroun& you" your employees are not going to ta(e the time to &evelop their best i&eas. @4hy shoul& $"A they'll as(. @-e is .ust going to &o what he wants anyway.A +n& ,-$t's exhausting. 7. They play to their strengths! 5he biggest surprise" when it comes to people" is that the best entrepreneurs fin& a 0in to their 0ang" someone who offsets their wea(ness an& compliments their strengths. 5his allows them to concentrate on what they &o best" leaving the things they are not goo& at to someone else. 4alt 7isney ha& 9oy 7isney. *teve Iobs ha& *teve 4o:nia( an& 3rville 4right ha& 4ilbur 4right. 4herever there is great innovation" there is a &reamer an& an operator2 an @i&ea manA an& someone who turns those i&eas into reality. J! Turning Obstacles -nto .ssets! $ am not big on clichKs li(e @every time %o& closes a &oor he opens a win&ow"A or @there are no problems" only opportunities.A !ut the best entrepreneurs believe an& act as if everything is a gift. 4ell" maybe not every single thing imaginable. !ut assuming that everything is a gift is a goo& way of loo(ing at the problems an& surprises you'll encounter in any en&eavor" such as getting a new venture off the groun&" obtaining buy-in from your boss" or launching a new pro&uct line in an ultra-competitive mar(et. 4hy ta(e this seemingly Pollyannaish approach= 5here are three (ey reasons. 6irst" you were going to fin& out eventually what people &i& an& &i& not li(e about your i&ea. !etter to learn it as soon as possible" before you sin( more resources into the concept" venture" or pro&uct line. 0ou always want to (eep potential loses to a minimum. *econ&" the fee&bac( coul& ta(e you in another &irection" or serve as a barrier to your competitors. 0ou thought you wante& to start a public relations firm but a >uic( survey tol& you potential customers thought the fiel& was saturate&. !ut more than a few of them sai& they woul& love someone who coul& help with their internal communications. 5hir&" you got evi&ence. 5rue" it was not what you were expecting or even wante&" but that still puts you ahea& of the person who is .ust thin(ing about &oing something ;li(e opening another p.r. firm.< 0ou (now something they &on't" an& that is an asset. 0ou are ahea& of the game. !ut what if it's really ba& news= $t's a &isappointment. 0ou were absolutely certain that your boss woul& approve your i&ea for a new software program" an& she sai& no in a way that is still echoing &own the corri&or. )o reasonable

person can &efine what you've encountere& as anything but a problem" an& most people will try to solve the problem. ;@Baybe she will li(e the i&ea if $ go at it this way instea&.A< 5hat's fine if you can. 5he problem has gone away an&" again" you've learne& something that others might not (now. ;5he boss hates 0" but she loves L.< !ut what if you can't solve it= ;*he hate& @L"A too.< +ccept the situation to the point of embracing it. 5a(e as a given that it won't ever change" an& turn it into an asset. 4hat can you &o with the fact that it won't ever change= Baybe it presents a heretofore unseen opportunity. Baybe you buil& it into your pro&uct or service in a way that no competitor ;having not acte&< coul& imagine. #oul& you &o it on your own= #oul& you ta(e the i&ea to a competitor an& use it as your calling car& to loo( for the next .ob= 5he thing to remember is this: *uccessful people wor( with what they have at han&,whatever comes along,an& try to use everything at their &isposal in achieving their goals. +n& that is why they are grateful for surprises" obstacles" an& even &isappointments. $t gives them more information an& resources to &raw upon. MMM Paul B. Brown is co-author of Iust *tart published by Harvard Business Review Press. Please note this blog appears every Sunday and Wednesday. lic! on the "#ollowing$ button to get every new blog post as soon as its goes live.