It is way better to work hard now that you have the chance to, now that you have the means to. If we can lay a solid foundation for our lives early enough, we will not to experience the ills and fears that come with aging.
A school of thought describes entrepreneurship as compressing your working years into a few years, working very hard for a few years so that you can enjoy the rest of your life the way very few people can. The idea is that rather than work for about 40 years and then retiring, you work hard building your own company and then cashing out by selling it or building a system to keep it running while you free up yourself. Building your own company will take you about 5 – 10 years of brutally hard, soul-crushing work, but once you succeed and the business is running, you are set for life.
You would never need to work another day again!
But, if you snooze through your days, taking each day as it comes without any concrete plans for the future, you will end up working for all those 40 long years and what would you have to show for it? Of course, it is a easier path in that you do not need to work so hard, but really when I can comfortably retire at 35 – 40 years, why waste my life by retiring at 65 – 70 years? Imagine all the good I can do with those extra years!
Therefore, I would rather work hard now, today, taking comfort in the knowledge that one day – my pay day, I will be able to buy all the flashy toys I want to play with, I will be able to take my wife to any resort centre of her choice in the whole universe and my kids will be able to get 1000x better education than I ever had access to. All these things are dreams that every body has, but it requires brutal, soul-crushing hard work today if I am serious about seeing it in reality.
Hard work has never killed anybody before. It will not kill me.
Watching the World
Once your products and services hit the mainstream, you are surely going to attract “fast followers”. Fast followers are the copycats that spring up to copy-and-paste whatever it is you are doing, they do it without any trace of originality on their own part.
Like my role mentor, Nikola Tesla said during his own days: “I am not bothered that they stole my ideas, I am bothered that they do not have any of theirs”
We cannot fight every fast follower that springs up, it is just too much wahala and as an Entrepreneur, every moment not spent building up the business is a waste. Sure, we should protect our turf but at what expense? Maybe when you grow to become a big conglomerate company with 47, 000 staff members you can set up committees to keep track and kill off the herd of copycats you would attract but is it not just a waste of fine talent?
When Ello sprung up from nowhere and it seems it was winning over Facebook, I do not know if Facebook flinched but actually, Facebook has seen the movie before when pundits claimed Facebook was dead because of a certain new social media website: Twitter. Over the years, all doubts have cleared, Facebook has proved it can re-invent itself over and over again, the days of the twitterification of Facebook are long over. It is Twitter that is in serious trouble right now.
The best way to deal with the fast followers, the copycats who copy-and-paste our ideas is by staying ahead 10 steps at a time through flawless execution (they can never execute better than you if you truly own the idea), and to never stop innovating, always generating fresh ideas.
These days, I do not fear competition. Anybody and Everybody is welcome to play in my turf or even copy-and-paste my ideas but i am always confident in my execution and besides, I have like 240 more ideas untouched that I would love to see built in my lifetime.
Watching The World
I do not have to be better, faster, stronger or even wiser than you. All I need is a better leverage.
If you are able to use your market position, resources and contacts to maximum advantage, even you would be amazed by how far you can do.
Facebook is not the #1 social network because it has the best tools for staying in touch with people, it is the #1 social network because the Facebook team has learnt to leverage their 1.44 billion users to maximum effect. You cannot just decide to ignore Facebook these days.
Google built some insanely cool technology into Google+, but the issue here is that social networking is not about the technology, it never was. It has always been about the people. As long as Facebook’s primitive tools keeps working well enough for us to pretend we are keeping in touch by sharing photos and quotable quotes all day, we are fine.
Facebook boldly leverages its 1.44 billions users any chance they get; they limit how far businesses can promote their things for free on the platform, if you try leaving, they actually present you with faces of friends that will “miss you”.
The key question here should be what can I leverage to make me grow stronger and crush off my competitors?
Watching The World
Everybody loves your work and pace of execution until they have to pay for it. Once money is involved, no matter how little, you owe it as a point of duty to deliver results and deliver it on time too.
You have to be willing to go out of your way, willing to go the extra mile, going crazy miles just to deliver the results paid for. You do not sit in your comfort zone and respond that nothing is working, the world has stood still and there is nothing you can do about it.
Deliver results and not excuses, every time, on time and watch how things will turn around “overnight” for you!
Watching The World
I have observed something; a brilliant employee works her heart out at a company and she feels she is the one making it happen there and then decides to quit, going on to setup her own firm. However, at her own company despite investing twice as much effort as she did previously, she has little to show for it. To compound matters, her previous employer has not hired any new superstar but yet it remains business as usual.
What is going on here?
“And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.” – 1 Kings 19:16
This passage from the scripture gives us some idea. No matter how gifted or talented one might be, you need more than all that to move ahead. The height you can attain is determined a lot by how much room you have created for yourself or how much room you have access to spiritually. Every man has a measure of progress he can make on his own, a lot of hardworking folks out there seem never to get a right or sound strategy to move into the next level. No matter how many top rate consultants consult for them.
I can tell you from personal experience that one of the worst things in life is getting an idea, sitting down to work out how it will work, sort everything out and yet for reasons you cannot itemise, you are still unable to get the ball rolling. So, why have you not yet been able to kick off your new startup company yet? Perhaps you have failed to create enough spiritual room to start it (and perhaps you should go work for someone who has, if you serve well you will be become powerful enough to start your own ventures also in no time).
Some people work all day and do not pray, some pray all day and do not work. It has never been my desire to camp in any of these positions. I pray hard to create room for myself and then I work hard so that the spiritual blessing can find a route into the physical.
Every campaign for your product, service, event or any thing at all must pass through the filter of “who are we talking to?”, a specific and well defined target audience should be in mind. We have to avoid the trap of telling ourselves that this campaign is for everybody, that is not a good way to execute things.
A Marketing executive once told me: “Don’t whine when you see ads that are crappy. You are simply not the target audience”. After all, one man’s meat is indeed another man’s poison.
When you do things that are too general, they end up been useless to anybody in particular. When you zoom in and pick an audience, we can then really deliver something they will find meaningful.
It is also extremely important to point out that when marketing your wares, do not discuss in your own words. Use words that would be more familiar to your target audience. My techy brethren, my eyes are on you… All the ranting on bytes, apps, cloud, git commits and all that are not relevant. Learn to talk in terms of the goals of the people you seek to serve, that is all there is to these things. It is not much harder than that.
Watching The World
The best kind of people to start new businesses or work out their ideas are generalists, not specialists. This is because the day-to-day rigors of running a business will demand you wear multiple hats everyday. This is not the time to box yourself into a stereotype and claim “that is not really my area of expertise”. I am all in favour of focus on your strengths and outsource your weakness, but you more often than not, you would still find a need to get an intermediate skill level in such areas.
To become the best businessman you need to be might include not only the things you enjoy doing like buying goods in bulk, but also the things you do not like doing like online marketing and basic accounting. You have to embrace such and get a good feel of it before you eventually hire a specialist that will then fully concentrate on that aspect.
The early founding team of any company or NGO alike must be diverse and the people involved must be able to deal with some amount of ambiguity over their exact roles as they will often need to go with the flow.
Specialists are needed at big companies where everything is planned out already. Generalists are needed at small, nimble and fast-moving startups, that is just the way things are.
Ideas rule the world, ideas are the bedrock of our modern economy.
However, beyond gathering ideas, we need to learn how to work out ideas and how to move ideas to the next level. Too many ideas eventually wasted because the execution was poor. Generally, the more you build out ideas, the better you become at it, learning what to do and what not to do by trial and error. Most times, it seems we give up too soon on working out an idea or we greatly underestimated the amount of work it would require to get things moving.
A more effective way is through mentorship or apprenticeship. A good mentor can show you much more in less time than all the books in the world could ever do, seeking out mentors with a proven track record of ability to work out their own ideas and build it out into something serious is a very smart move.
This is not the season to list out a dozen ideas you need to start soonest. This is the season to focus and work out your ideas.
You can talk your way into sealing numerous contracts, but the only real way to grow your business in the long term is by leaving a trail of projects that you executed excellently. If you are able to consistently execute the things committed to you, you are able to attract bigger things.
Too many people spend all their energy chasing jobs but never expend enough energy to execute it brilliantly. In other words, it is like they chase the contracts and then gas out when it is time to deliver.
Good ideas may be worth much more than 50 kobo per dozen, but it still the execution that clinches your spot for you.
Watching The World