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Things Harvard Doesn’t Teach You! Exclusively for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 12. Exclusively for Entrepreneurs

The moment you start valuing yourself, the world will start valuing you. ― Sandeep Maheshwari

One of the most prominent issues of the past 30 years has been

the definition of the “American Dream”.

Going to work for the purpose of money

and fame is no longer the main purpose.

Today, passion at work has become the top factor,

higher than the tangible rewards.

A lot of people always think

that they can’t feel completely satisfied with their work

if it’s done by someone else.

If given the choice to be the president of the company

they work for or the owner of their own small business,

they would definitely choose the latter.

Starting a business has become a big American dream.

Patience is a key element of success. ― Bill Gates

As someone who has started his own business,

I can attest to it being what it is.

However, John Mack Carter,

owner of Good Housekeeping magazine,

once told me:

99% of people in the world have to work for someone else“.

I agree with this opinion,

which is why I put this chapter at the end

instead of the beginning of the book.

The first thing you must do is examine your motivation,

because by doing so,

you will determine which group of people you belong to.

If the purpose of your own business is just

because you are “tired of being told”,

because you want to be more “free”,

or because you are belittled or underestimated,

then forget about running your own business.

Those are not reasons to start your own business,

but just reasons to run away from your current job.

If you want to make “lots of money” that’s not a good reason either.

It’s a good and worthwhile cause,

but if it’s your primary motivator,

it won’t be enough to get you through the tough times.

I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that,

but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying. ― Jeff Bezos(Founder of Amazon)

Before starting our firm,

I was an attorney with a prestigious Cleveland Law Office,

but I knew I couldn’t continue my legal career.

I like negotiating contracts,

don’t like drafting them,

and a steady salary is not enough to keep me in the law office.

I feel frustrated by the thought

that I am wasting my time

and energy building an inappropriate career.

I believe the thought “if I don’t try,

I’ll regret it” is also one of the driving forces behind most people

who have successfully built a new business.

Starting a business requires financial and professional security.

But more than that, it is to have enthusiasm from the heart.

Five years ago, a friend of mine started a new business

that has grown into a very successful clothing company.

He recently told me that if he knew

what it was like to start a business two years in advance,

he would never have done it.

We didn’t have such difficulties,

but I could understand what he was saying.

In the process of building a business,

difficulties seem to pile up and are insurmountable.

And at such times,

only the enthusiasm from the heart can motivate you to move forward.

********

ASK YOURSELF WHY

When something is important enough,

you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. ― Elon Musk

Starting a new business is not the time to fool yourself.

However, it is easy to get caught up in the maze of your own notes,

your business plan and your company advertisement,

the daydreaming of your own words and numbers.

You must be able to “build a business” clearly and succinctly.

Is it a “hard” or easy idea?

In the beginning, the danger is that everything is still an illusion,

and that these illusions can block the ability to ask the right questions

and provide the necessary key answers.

What relationships?

It’s not about money or connections.

It’s the willingness to outwork

and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business.

And if it fails, you learn from

what happened

and do a better job next time. ― Mark Cuban

How does your idea relate to the market, time, and customers?

What advantages does it have over competing products that are already available?

Many consulting businesses have failed

because they did not come up with good ideas.

What amazes me is that people always assume

that someone will pay them for their expertise

when their expertise is not necessary

and they have never succeeded in convincing future clients.

If I build the International Management Corporation (IMG) today

the same way I did 20 years ago,

I am not sure that it will succeed,

and certainly will not be as successful as it is today.

Why failed?

When building a business, what problems may you encounter?

Can you overcome them, if not, how to solve them?

Understand your ability in the field you intend to build

The new businesses most likely to succeed are those

that have a connection to what the owner has done before.

In my case, IMG wasn’t exactly a new business

but an extension of what I had done for the law office.

The dream of opening a restaurant is the most common thing people think of

when thinking about starting a new business,

but it is also a project with the highest failure rate.

The restaurant is a precarious business

that requires a very calculated purchase

and must have a good mind for calculation.

In addition, you must also be a person

who likes and is good at communicating,

willing to work long hours.

Yet a lot of people talk about opening a restaurant

because they want to “do something else”

and their only ability is to be a good cook or gourmet.

What is the feasibility factor?

We once received an offer to represent a world air race around

the same time as the 1984 Olympics.

The initial investment was three million dollars,

and it was partially funded.

All issues are quite complete,

detailed and presented in detail.

The only thing left is to run the race,

which requires the cooperation of half of the world’s airlines

and the necessary licenses to use the space.

The reality is that the possibility of implementing this project is very obscure.

A good idea at a reasonable cost may

still yield nothing because it can’t be done.

*********

STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS AND KEEP IT SIMPLE

If you just work on stuff that you like

and you’re passionate about,

you don’t need to have a master plan with

how things will play out. ― Mark Zuckerberg

Most entrepreneurs who are just starting out are more concerned with

how much money they will make than how they will make it.

Set realistic goals by arranging realistic action steps discreet actions,

each action step being linked to the next in some logic.

As you prepare to move to the next stage,

be clear about what you have to do next.

If you do not go to the next stage from this stage in

just a few specific action steps.

I have always believed

that the more money a new business needs to build,

the less chance it has to grow.

In some respects, this is a personal view

and a bit biased of my own because

when I started my business,

I had less than 1000 dollars.

In fact, in an industry,

capitalists love to fund new businesses.

But this has created a series of myths in the business world

there are a lot of people waiting in line to sponsor you

and the problem is

that you just haven’t met them yet.

However, when you meet them,

you will probably find that they are not as enthusiastic about sponsoring as you think,

or if they are,

it is because they want to receive the majority of the revenue of the business.

Many new businesses never start,

not because of bad ideas or a lack of talent,

but because they failed to raise capital.

However, I believe many new businesses really don’t need

as much capital as those business builders think.

If they are willing to start small,

prepare well and anticipate every eventuality,

then they have a better chance of success.

I don’t want to overemphasize the importance of starting small

and keeping it simple.

But the reality is that when I started my career,

I also always believed

that I could not do anything with less than a million dollars in capital.

How can I represent the top three stars in the golf industry

without having seven to eight employees

and offices in the UK and Japan?

In fact, a million dollars will be very useful for the start-up process,

but it is not necessary to have it.

There are many great success stories in America

that all started from small beginnings.

Be clear about what you really need

when you start building your business.

********

BE FLEXIBLE

Research indicates that workers have three prime needs:

interesting work, recognition for doing a good job,

and being let in on things

that are going on in the company. ― Zig Ziglar

It is very important to realize what business you are capable of operating in.

As I mentioned, new divisions of our company are born out of our mobility

the most obvious example being our company’s marketing consulting department.

We recognize that the fact

that we sell our clients’ services to other companies is in effect advising them on

how to use those clients.

********

SHARE YOUR SUCCESS

The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself. ― Marie Forleo

Most new businesses are interested in getting revenue above costs,

but the reality is that this is very difficult for a new and small business.

Try to convince your employees to take a low salary

for the sake of the company’s growth prospects,

for their own future,

when the company grows they will earn more than anywhere else.

I think there’s nothing wrong with this as long as you keep your promises.

If an employee makes a significant contribution to the company,

they deserve more than the satisfaction of a job well done.

In business, a person’s income is like a record.

No matter what form their income comes in: a raise,

bonus or extra perks,

it is still important that people feel directly involved

and are compensated commensurate with their contribution to the company.

********

DOUBLE INITIAL COST

The level of success you achieve will be in direct proportion

to the depth of your commitment. ― Roy T.Bennett

Years ago, I asked a friend who was building a new business

what he expected the total cost to be for the first year.

He said it was about $75,000.

At that time, I advised him to double that number.

When starting a new business,

it is common not to take into account the costs incurred. Typically as

The cost of pens and pencils for an office in a month will not be much,

but for a year it will be a large number.

Most businesses have to have remote jobs

and need expenses for business trips, parties,

and this also requires a lot of money.

The cost of electricity

and water is also something that is easily surpassed.

Over the years,

I’ve found that if you double your operating expenses

as you originally planned,

that’s exactly what you need to build a business.

Recently, I met that friend again.

He told me that at the time he felt that I spoke arrogantly.

And he confessed:

“But when I closed the books at the end of the first year,

the total initial investment was $149,000.”

Double but don’t triple

Most people

who want to start a new business tell themselves

that they need to wait until they have enough money saved up.

For these people,

$10 million is still not what they need.

When calculating your business plan,

if you manually figure out the maximum numbers for the spending columns,

your plan will probably never come to fruition.

“Leadership is an opportunity to serve.” ― J. Donald Walters

********

INCOME BEFORE / ORGANIZATION AFTER

The key to success is to develop a winning edge. ― Brian Tracy

Good organization is essential for business success.

But a brand-new company coming up with a grand five-year plan even

before making its first dollar is a myth.

Determining the direction is one thing,

but planning in the style of “putting the plow before the buffalo” is quite another.

Advertising paper calling for sponsorship is completely contrary to reality

I would be really happy if I never had to see a sponsored flyer.

Only the people who wrote them can believe them.

Most of the adverts I’ve read

or been asked to sponsor have shown the wrong time perspective.

It’s surprising how many people don’t consider the importance of cash flow

when planning the first year.

If the first sale is made during the first week of business,

the earnings of the deal are usually only calculated after 90 days,

and so on until the second or third sale.

Therefore, the amount of money needed

for a business is actually many times higher than

what is expected on paper.

I came across a lot of business ideas

that I thought were valuable,

but frustrated me because the income

and expense backup numbers made me lose faith in the people

who made the offer.

I suspect these same people don’t trust their own businesses,

but only seek to obtain funding for the enormous expenses.

I’ve also seen sponsorship flyers in

which the manager paid himself more than he made.

I think by asking someone to give the company two million dollars,

the manager could raise his own salary by $50,000.

I know for sure I’m not the one to give that number to him.

********

ACTIVITIES AND RESULTS

 The key to success is often the ability to adapt. ― Anthony Brandt

Working for yourself is the best way to get paid for your worth.

However, this also means knowing how to use your own time.

Most traders have to work 24 hours a day to work

or think about work.

But how they spend that time is

what makes the difference between success and failure.

That’s why, “Work hard. Work long hours, and work wisely.”

*********

SHOULD NOT DO GENERAL BUSINESS

I believe people have to follow their dreams.

I did. ― Larry Ellison

Few people scrutinize their motives for pooling with others.

Usually, we feel comfortable

when we have someone to share our responsibilities with.

However, any joint business brings more problems than we think.

Of course, there are many cases

where these investors complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses

and help bring in great profits for the business.

But when it comes to business flexibility,

it is this cooperation that becomes the worst enemy.

It is no coincidence that most of the most successful businesses in the world

are run by lone entrepreneurs.

*********

DON’T CONTRIBUTE CAPITAL

If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep,

you will work until you die. ― Warren Buffett

Small capital contribution in a private company is insignificant.

Contributing to someone else’s new business is a personal matter,

but what I want to emphasize is the real value

they get from that contribution.

If you share capital with another company,

you cannot bring this contributed capital

to the bank as collateral for a home loan.

You also cannot easily sell this share as this is limited b

y the main shareholder of the company.

We took advantage of the misconception of the partnership concept

to get profits for our clients.

When our clients are offered a capital contribution in a new business,

I always ask for costs associated with this capital

or at least a condition that we can resell this capital at any time

what our clients want.

*******

FEAR OF FAILURE

Leaders, true leaders,

take responsibility for the success of the team,

and understand

that they must also take responsibility

for the failure. ― Donal Trump

Fear of failure is as common as the desire to succeed.

In fact, if you know how to exploit,

It can become a driving force for growth.

But for many it becomes a barrier.

Learn to use fear, not let it use you.

This is of course a problem for all entrepreneurs in business.

That is why I chose this issue to end the book.

In the summer of 1976, Gay Drut, a French hurdler,

found himself in a position no one wanted.

England was France’s only hope of achieving a track

and field medal,

and it was the burden of having to bring national pride that affected him.

Drut then told me that before the Olympics

he spoke many times with our client Jean Claude Killy

and that he was truly indebted to Killy for the gold he had won.

He explains: “Jean Claude said that

I was the only one who knew how to make the body

and mind peak at the Olympic races.

Then he told me that after I had done

that I had to say to myself: ‘I did everything to prepare for the race.

If I win, everything will be wonderful, but if I lose,

whoever is my friend will remain my friend,

whoever is my enemy will remain my enemy,

and the world will remain the same.’

I repeated the sentence. before the qualifiers, during the break,

before the semi-finals and the final.

I kept repeating that sentence over and over

until I got to the podium to receive the gold medal.”

Conclusion

Business is competition of scale and organization.

And the most important thing in business is to understand its paradox:

The more you think you’ve done well

and are complacent with the results,

the less satisfied you should be.

I have long been passionate about creating a champion miracle people,

the top 1% they always overpower their opponents,

performing at their highest level at times most important.

Of course, their talent

and great faith in their talents are important but not the deciding factor.

Over the years,

I have observed three points commonly found in the world’s top stars.

They can be applied in both business and the sports arena.

I have applied them to my own business as well,

and they are the source of most of my efforts and determination.

The first is a feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s achievements.

They consider all successes and victories to be the driving force

that drives them towards bigger, more difficult ambitions.

The second is the ability to peak while competing,

taking yourself to higher leagues.

Top sports stars are always trying to perform at their best every time.

The final point is the ability to eliminate opponents.

This is called the “killer instinct,” but this only tells you about their results,

not their thoughts.

So, if this book makes you feel satisfied with your own business acumen,

then you probably have a lot of work to do to keep up with the world.

Money and success demand attention. Ignore either and you will have neither. – Grant Cardone

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