23 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know

Fortune

1. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

2. The most important decision you can make iswhere do you want to spend your time. You only have so much time, energy and ability to focus. That means, as much as you would like to, you can’t do everything. That’s a given. So is this: The places which receive your full attention will do better than the places that won’t. What follows from that is this: You need to make hard choices about what you will do–and what you won’t. And it is really is the important decision you can make, because everything else you do will flow from it…including the next point.

3. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, there is no such thing as work-life balance.  I am not advocating that you spend a disproportionate part of your life working on your company.  (I am also not advocating against it.) I am simply reporting that is what the most successful entrepreneurs do. I have never found an exception.

4. The best entrepreneurs don’t come up with great ideas, they solve market needs. You and I can come up with wonderful ideas all day long but unless they satisfy a large enough need, one that can support a business, they don’t do anyone any good.

5. The one thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common is the desire to make their idea a reality. What entrepreneurs need most of all—above motivation, focus, hope, financing, marketing skills, a brilliant idea, etc.—is the will to bring their idea into existance. Unless you truly want to make something happen, the odds are nothing will. Without that desire, nothing else matters…or occurs. Your life will be filled in other ways

6. Action trumps everything.  Stop thinking and get underway.images (67)

7. Take small, smart steps towards your goals.  Contrary to the popular press, the most successful entrepreneurs are not swing-for-the-fences, bet-everything-on-one-roll-of-the-dice  types.  They are extremely conservative. They take a small step toward their goal; pause to see what they have learned from taking that small step and build that learning into the next small step. Then they pause to see what they have learned from that second small step, build that learning in and then take another small step and so forth. They don’t take large risks.

8. If you want to build a successful company give up control. You can try to micromange but: the business will never grow bigger than one person (you, the CEO) can handle effectively; the company won’t be able to move very quickly. Since everything will have to flow through you, you will create a bottleneck; you won’t get the best ideas out of your people.  Once they understand the company is set up so everything revolves around you, people are not going to take the time to develop their best ideas. “Why should I,” they’ll ask. “He is just going to do what he wants anyway.” And it’s exhausting.

9. Forget about working on your weaknesses, play to your strengths.  This is what will make you successful in the long-run.

10. You need to be able to turn every obstacle into an asset. Yes, every single one.

11. All you need to know about marketing in exactly 30 words? Marketing, when you strip everything away, is extremely simple: You figure out who you want to sell to, and then you determine what it is that will get them to buy.

12. Here’s the only market research you need: Get your product out in the marketplace and see if it sells.

13. If you insist on doing market research anyway, here’s the one question you need to ask. Show potential customers a prototype, or describe the service you are thinking of offering and then say: ”Is this something you would buy,” and if they answer yes, ask for the order then and there. If, as the cliché goes, they are willing to put their money where their mouth is, you are probably on to something. If they aren’t, you still have work to do.

images (1)14. You must figure out how you are going to collect what you are owed.  Nobody thinks about this before they get underway and suddenly they learn first hand what they phrase “cash flow crunch” means.

15. As much as you are going to fight it you need a (really smart) advisory board.  You want a board to: give you new perspectives and ideas; to give you people to talk to and to provide honest feedback.

16. If you want to get more done faster and better…create checklistsChecklists are a wonderful way to make sure you don’t overlook anything, and that it is true whether we are talking about the best way to treat someone in the emergency room or if you are about to make a big presentation to a client you really want to land.

17. How to motivate yourself and stay motivated. Starting anything new is hard and the number of obstacles you are going to encounter can easily get overwhelming. Click on the link here for proven ideas that can keep you going.

18. If the dogs don’t like the dog food it’s bad dog food.  You don’t determine what a good product is. Only your customer does.  And if they don’t like your product, it’s a bad product. Period. In others words, the customer is always right. Darn it.

19. If the customer doesn’t like the product, there isn’t much you can do about it with pricing or promotion or positioning. Unpopular products are going to remain so. It is better to come up with a different version, than to keep trying to sell–at a discounted price–the one people don’t like.

20.  If you are going to fail, and sometimes you will, fail quickly and cheaply.  Always take small steps toward your goal and pause after each one to make sure you are staying on the right track.

21. (Really) Learn from your mistakes.  You are going to make mistakes. That’s a) a given and b) okay, providing you truly understand what went wrong.

22. Creativity and innovation must be linked to a business objective. Creativity is wonderful. But creativity that isn’t tied to making money is just a hobby. It isn’t a viable business concept.

23. Get while you still have your marbles. You never want to stay too long at the fair, even if you own the fair.images (39)

 

 

 

 

Source :P aul B. Brown, Forbes

35 Questions That Will Change Your Life

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire

“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.” – Carl Sagan

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

As I turn 35 and think of my life so far and what’s to come, I realize how much I’m shaped by the questions I ask.  I’ve always been insatiably curious.  These are the 35 questions that have made the biggest impact on my life.

Self-Awareness

What are you pretending not to know? This was perhaps the most powerful question I was ever asked (by my best friend.  All possibilities open up when we stop deceiving ourselves.

Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing? Life isn’t about figuring out what to do.  The real challenge is (not so) simply doing the things we know we should be doing.

What are your values and are you being true to them? Write down the 3 most important aspects of each of these areas: family, romantic relationships, friends, work, health, sex and spirituality.  These are your values.  When we don’t act congruently with what we value, symptoms of discomfort arise.

In what ways are you being perceived, that you’re not aware of? ­Perception is reality.  Make sure, for better or worse, you know what people really think of you.  (TIP: Watch “How to Persuade People”)

What don’t you know, that you don’t know?It’s always the obstacles that we don’t even see coming that are the biggest challenges in life.  Get in the habit of asking people that have been there and done it before for guidance.

Happiness / Peace of Mind

Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your happiness? The desires of our ego are often in conflict with the emotions of our heart.  You’ll always have what you want, if you want what you have.

If you achieved all of your life’s goals how would you feel? How can you feel that along the way? The discipline of delayed gratification is one of the most powerful habits of successful individuals. But most actions we take are meant to elicit an emotion in the now.  We’re happier striving for our goals when we let ourselves feel that which we want to feel when our outcome is achieved.

What did I learn today? Who did I love? What made me laugh? I try and ask myself these 3 questions at the end of each day.  Regardless of anything else that happens, if you learned something new, loved a good person and got to laugh heartily, it was a day worth having and remembering.

Perspective

If you weren’t scared what would you do?Use the rocking chair test.  What would your 90-year-old self, looking back on your own life, advise you to do in the moment?  

If you were dying, would you worry about this?  We so easily lose perspective on what takes up our energy and focus.  We’re all dying.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this to enjoy living.  (TIP: Read “The Last Lecture” and “Tuesdays with Morrie”)

Should you be focused on today or tomorrow? Savor the present but don’t forget your future.  Life is a balance of knowing when to enjoy the moment vs. when to plant seeds for tomorrow’s harvest.

Influence / Achievement

Why not?  What would happen if…? Don’t accept that things just are the way they are.  Question why something can’t be done.  And when you get pushback to these questions, reframe the negative answers with possibilities. (TIP: Watch “Steve Job’s Vision of the World”)

What/Who did you make better today? The way to measure your worth may just be to give more than you take.  Asking what/who you made better each day is a simple litmus test we can all measure ourselves by.

What do you want your life to be in 5 years? If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there – Lewis Carroll.  Write down 5-year goals.  They’re close enough to grasp for, yet far off enough to achieve almost anything.

What can you do today to improve? Consistent, incremental improvement is the secret to achieving the greatest of feats.

Business / Entrepreneurship

What’s your WHY? If you have a big enough WHY you’ll always figure out the What and the How.  If you don’t have a BIG WHY, you’ll always use the What and the How as an excuse for not doing that thing you said you were going to do.  (Watch “What’s Your Why”)

What’s the one most important thing to get done today/ this week/month? Write this down on a Post-it note at the beginning of each day/week, and hold yourself accountable for completing this above all other Stuff To Do.

What questions must you consider before starting a business? See my list by watching “The 10 Questions” or reading the document 

What’s the potential upside? What’s the effort involved? What’s the likelihood of success? What’s the strategic value? This is the framework I came up with 3 years ago on “How to Make the Right Business Decisions”.  Whenever there is an opportunity cost, I have my team go through this exercise.

What are we talking about? What problem are we solving? I try to start off every meeting by putting this on the whiteboard.  In group settings we too often we find ourselves having completely different conversations.  Sometimes when answers are difficult to come by, it’s helpful to question if we’re solving for the right problem.

Can you get it done now? If something is important or urgent and you can get it done now, do it.  (TIP: Read “Getting Things Done” from the productivity guru David Allen)

What do you need to make it happen? This is one of my favorite questions to ask as a manager.  It creates ownership to make sure the goals will be achieved.  And it creates a shared responsibility to provide the resources required (time, money, talent, etc.) to achieve those goals.

If we could wave a magic wand and do anything together, what would that look like?  I use this question all the time with potential business partners.  By removing the perceived constraints that bind us and focusing on mutually desired outcomes, we often discover new pathways of possibility.

How would your role models act and carry themselves? Act as if.  Act as if you have the experience, wisdom and swagger of your role model, and you’ll often find even the most unchartered of situations more navigable.

When can we meet? We’re often this one question away from engaging with someone who can open up limitless avenues of possibility.   The most important aspect of business is still to always get it done in person.  (TIP: Read “Business Development Advice”) 

Will you be my mentor? It’s one question that, when asked in earnest, almost nobody will turn down.  Reach out to a person in a position and industry you admire, and ask them if you can take them to coffee and hear about how they got there.

What will I only know about you after we’ve worked together for a year? This interview question comes from the awesome Wendy Lea (CEO,GetSatisfaction).  This may be the best interview question I’ve ever heard.  (Watch “Fireside Chat with Wendy Lea” and check out my previous 8 Awesome Interview Questions)

What would get you interested in our product/service? Selling is the art of asking good questions, listening, and matching your value to people’s needs.  Sales is very easy when others explain what they want and need from you.  (Watch “The 5 Step Sales Process”)

Catch-All

What else? Such a simple but powerful question with so may applications.

 

By Jason Nazar, Forbes.com