hard

There is but one guarantee in entrepreneurship. It’s hard.

not personal

It’s not personal Sonny. It’s strictly business. One of Al Pacino’s perhaps most famous lines from The Godfather.

The statement is both true and false.

The goal of a business is to form a legal entity around a model that creates value and profits. Naturally, everything that occurs to the company doesn’t happen to you personally. Therefore, snarky comments made at your business should glide right off you.

On the other hand, what’s really at stake without any personal involvement whatsoever? A deep and thorough empathic understanding of your customer’s problem is needed.

Don’t take it personally, Sonny, but do get personally involved. That’s my take.

trailing

Basketball teams who are trailing by halftime with one point are more likely to win than teams who are leading with one point.

Never underestimate a hungry underdog.

sell evangelism

Either the person you are selling to has a need, can clearly vocalize that need, and actively seeks a solution. Or, doesn’t know she has a need, and needs to be convinced first.

In the first scenario, you can enter in sales-mode.

In the second scenario, you have to go in, in evangelism-mode. Meaning, a whole lot of convincing has to take place for the lead to convert into a paying customer.

When your lead isn’t ready to buy (at all), consider leaving it there. You can always reiterate in a year or so.

No is better than maybe.

face it

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced,” wrote James Baldwin.

In startup entrepreneurship, you have to face everything all at once. Only to suffer from stress because it’s hard to do everything by yourself.

Prioritize what to face first. Better yet, have the market and your customers prioritize it for you. Whatever they feel the strongest about, that’s the challenge you’ll face first.

company as a byproduct

Successful companies are the result of amazing customer care.

Take Coolblue, for instance. They came up, very successfully, against all odds. In an era where the electronics retailer market was already very saturated.

You know how the edge of your lips curls up when you bring about a satisfied smile? That’s what they obsess over. Their motto; everything for a smile.

Companies are a byproduct of startups obsessing over customer satisfaction.

featured solution

What does adding a new feature solve? Products, digital and analog add features all the time. Driven by a vision, but even more so, driven by customer feedback and market demand.

With every new bell and whistle added, ask the same question repeatedly. What problem is this solving?

All (new) features should cluster around solving the same solution to the problem your customer is experiencing. If they don’t, reconsider.

output over time

Measure work done rather than hours worked. That’s what Francis Bacon warned us for in 1612. “Affected dispatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be… Therefore measure not dispatch by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of the business.”

Combining this visionary statement with Parkinson’s law from 1955, which claims: “The amount of work will always expand as to the amount of time available.” Meaning, if you have one year to complete your thesis, somehow it takes one year to complete. If you have six months to complete your thesis, magically, it takes but six months to wrap it up.

Spending more time working is only interesting if the output remains high. Favor output over time.

scientific people

There is something HR can learn from science. Even if you aren’t a scientist at all, there is a large chance you understand what science entails. In short, the ability to recreate an experiment and get the same outcome.

Rather than a massive rollout of a new approach or solution, start small. Very small. One individual, a couple, a group, a team, a department.

People are incredibly diverse. Without knowing precisely what you’re measuring, why bother? Luck isn’t a good strategy, is it?

Launch new HR initiatives on a small scale. Evaluate and then increase the size of the rollout.

don’t change your essence

Do you have what it takes for the job? Maybe you do. If you don’t? What can, and would you be willing to change, to legitimately be able to claim that you do have what it takes?

We can take small steps to improve on certain hard-skills and soft-skills. Doing so can be incredibly valuable. Changing who you are, in essence, on the other hand, isn’t something you can do, nor should you be asked to do.

The greater distance between who you are in essence and whom you are required to be (on the job), the more well-being problems will arise.