5 Traits and Principles to Being a Successful Entrepreneur and Business Owner!
What I Learned From Meeting The CEO of a Multi Million Dollar Company
A few friends and I met with the CEO of a multi million dollar company the other night. I thought that the distinctions I learned in our short evening together would be worth recording!
He told us of his struggle in first setting out as an entrepreneur and what he called his fiasco’s. For the first nine years of starting and running businesses he made mistakes and his businesses eventually failed—but he didn’t—he kept going, and his third major business venture became a roaring success.
It took nine years in the school of hard knocks for this to happen. Most aspiring entrepreneurs fail in business because they give up too soon. A couple of hard knocks and they drop to their knees never to rise again. You must have the eye of the tiger, the will to keep going no matter what.
He then told us how he built a successful chain of super stores. Travelling the country he went to all his potential competitors and wrote down everything that they were doing well. Anything that stood out to him, that he believed was adding to their success, he recorded in a note book and then implemented what he learned with his own store.
This is classically known as modelling and is the fastest way to success in any endeavour. Don’t try and re-invent the wheel. Take the wheel and design a new tread for it that will make it authentically your own. Look to who is top of their game in any industry and then model their success. This prevents trial and error, which is surely the slowest route to success.
It is said that Macdonalds spends millions every year in researching locations, but Wendy’s, one of it’s competitors, spends no money at all in this area. They simply find the most successful Macdonalds restaurants and ‘plonk’ a Wendy’s restaurant within 200 feet of it.
This CEO with over 500 staff then went on to explain how he continued to expand and build more and more stores. He said he would say, “how can I make it better and how can I make it bigger.” This stood out to me as my back ground is in personal development and human behaviour. What makes us do the things that we do?
I discovered that the questions we consistently ask ourselves start to direct our lives, and we will have one primary question or set of questions that is at the helm of our life guiding it to victory or to be washed up on the rocks—depending on the quality of the questions we are consistently asking.
The reason this super successful CEO and entrepreneur built beyond what most would, is because of his very powerful question, “How can I make it better and how can I make it bigger.” Do you know what your primary question is? I bet that you have already started thinking about it even before I just asked you. One of the teachings of The Delphic Oracle was to know thyself.
If you become aware of your primary question then you will know yourself a great deal more than before. Maybe your primary question has not been empowering you or has not allowed you to manifest your goals and dreams. Your primary question may be causing you stress and frustration, possibly because it is unobtainable or it is a source of judgment.
Some peoples primary question is “why don’t people love me?” or “Why do we live in such a cruel world,” or “how do I save the world?” These are very poor quality questions that will make for a very poor quality of life and attitude to life.
The great thing is that you can change your primary question through reprogramming your brain. Choose a question that is inspiring, exciting, empowering and that does not bring judgement or stress to you or others. Write your question down and refine it until you are completely happy with it. Say it out loud and in your head as much as possible, many times per day until it is ingrained and over-rides your previous primary question.
The multiple super store owner, CEO, then went on to say how he saw his ability to make quick calculated decisions as a huge part of being a successful entrepreneur. He said that he could quickly weed out those that could be successful entrepreneurs and those that couldn’t by how quickly they could make shrewd decisions.
If the person said that they first had to go home and talk it over with their spouse or that they would have to think about it, or were in any way indecisive, then they didn’t have what it would take. But it’s not just about being able to make quick decisions, it’s about the decisions being the best decision most of the time and then being okay with the fact that you can’t be right all of the time. If you are right most of the time then you can handle the times when you have been mistaken.
Do not fear if it takes you ten minutes to decide what you are going to eat when in a restaurant or what movie you are going to watch on the weekend—decision making is like a muscle and you can strengthen it you have the desire to. Start with small things like when ordering food or what brand shampoo you are going to lift off the shelf. Learn to make quick decisions and get comfortable doing it.
The last piece of wisdom that this super successful entrepreneur imparted on us was when you go to work, leave your pride at home. Pride has no place in the world of business and entrepreneurship. Pride can cloud our decision making and make us less intelligent than we actually are.
acknowledge when you have made a mistake and rectify it as soon as possible. Give up the need to be right, and be happy when you have people working for you that are even more intelligent than yourself. Listen to their advice and be willing to change your beliefs around anything if it is in the best interests of the growth of your company.
And to conclude, an interesting question that came up at the end of the conversation was if you can be ethical in business, or is it best to be ruthless. The wise entrepreneur told us that you can be very successful without being ruthless. He is far from ruthless and he cares very much about his employees, suppliers and customers. At the same time ethics can be misguided and are not a major part of business.
He does a great deal of business in China and told us of the horrible conditions the factory workers have to endure, which he has seen first hand. But there was no way his business would survive if he did not work with these manufacturers, and at least those people had jobs.
Maybe they would die of starvation or be living on the streets, or out of dust bins, which reminded him of a case in India where the Nike corporation were having footballs made though cheap labour in poor conditions. The press did a story on it, which lead to uproar from the public. The Nike corporation then ended the contract, took their business elsewhere to appease the people, and suddenly all the workers were out of jobs and starving to death on the streets.
So this is what I learned from spending a couple of hours with a super successful entrepreneur that owned a chain of super stores and employed more than 500 people. If you wish to have success in your life in any area then spend time with those that have already achieved success in those areas and it will start to rub off!