Entrepreneur advice: making it to the top in your fieldFeature of the week
Starting out in your own business can be tough; it takes more than just a good idea to make it to the top. Some lessons you will inevitably have to learn for yourself, but mistakes in this position can be costly and are best avoided. It is far better to heed the voice of experience and learn from those who have reached the summit of the business world before you.
While specific advice will apply to certain situations encountered in different industries, there is some advice that holds true across the board. With just a little research, you will find similar remarks repeated over and over by the world’s top CEOs. Gathered together below are some of the fundamental principles of success in business as defined by the highest-ranking CEOs to have ever navigated the business world.
Steve Jobs was the CEO of CEOs. Every company he touched turned to gold. He offered a multitude of business advice to entrepreneurial hopefuls over the course of his significant career, but in the end, it mostly boils down to one concept: innovation. Jobs’ business philosophy was to constantly innovate, and to do it extremely well.
He is famous for statements such as “create insanely different experiences” and “sell dreams, not products”. Jobs constantly strove to stay ahead of the curve, creating and re-creating the next big thing. He maintained incredibly high standards in his own work and expected no less of others. One of the most profound pieces of advice he ever offered was simply “make it great”. Work tirelessly with dedication and look for ways to innovate at all times. Know that your customers do not care about your product – they care about their own dreams, goals and aspirations, so give them innovative tools or services to bring these closer to reality.
This idea of “making it great” is echoed by Marissa Mayer, VP of Google, who says the best advice she was given was to stop endlessly worrying about making the right choice. Her friend told her: “I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great”. It is always in your individual power to make an idea into something great – whatever it is. The world is overflowing with opportunities for those who care to look for them, and each one has the potential to be made great. Don’t waste time procrastinating – just say yes to opportunities that beckon, and throw yourself into them wholeheartedly.
Saying “yes” to opportunities means taking risks. Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint advises: “Be open to opportunities and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control.”
Taking risks means accepting failure. Richard Branson says his mother taught him never to look back in regret, stating: “The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. I have fun running all the Virgin businesses – so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”
Learn from your mistakes and use the experience and knowledge you have gained to drive forward into something new and better.
This advice can be applied to entrepreneurial pursuits in every sector. The final gem of wisdom we will leave you with echoes from the lips of every CEO ever asked: learn from others. No man can do everything alone.
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Photo:Sebastiaan ter Burg