8 Timeless Lessons From The Best Entrepreneurial Thinkers In The World

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8 Timeless Lessons From The Best Entrepreneurial Thinkers In The World
"Why join the Navy when you can be a pirate?" -Steve Jobs

If you constantly search for more, reach for more and never feel quite satisfied, I have an article for you. This is a compendium of timeless entrepreneurial lessons that I have voraciously searched and tested over the years. They are purposely in a particular order, starting with how to identify what to focus on, then what fuel you should use for motivation, principles on execution strategies, tools on transcending what you do, and lastly my favorite, an action principle. These 8 principles serve as a compass and guide for people who want to change things for the greater good and profoundly desire to push the human race forward.

1. Live a purpose driven life

Tony Robbins tells us that we must have a mission. If you want to play within the boundaries of world-class, you need to have purpose behind your actions. When you have a calling or start being the person you were meant to be, you will have the stamina to overcome any challenge.  Robbins in an interview stated that “If there’s something that you’re made for, then there’s a level of energy that most people would never dream of… We all have that, but most of us don’t connect to it and unleash it.” Once you discover this purpose and connect with it, you must embody and become the ethos of this cause. Find your purpose. Find your mission. Become unstoppable.


2. Stop obsessing about money

Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of Hubspot, illustrates that one of the steps to become a millionaire is not to see money as the end game but as the byproduct. You must focus on adding value and doing the things that truly contribute to building wealth. This shift in perspective is incredibly powerful. In other words, concentrate on making people's lives better or easier and money will flow as a consequence.  


3. First ‘’Who’’, then ‘’What’’

I can't stress enough how important this lesson is! Jim Collins is by far one of the best thought leaders in management. This timeless principle of focusing first on the team "who" then on what that team is going to do "what",  is something I remind myself every day. As an entrepreneur, I spend most of my time dedicated to "who solutions" finding the right people before attacking the problem. The basic principle is to get the right people on the bus and in the right seats. Equally important is to get the wrong people off the bus. It is not personal; you have to keep in mind the greater good of your company. The wrong person on the bus can demotivate the right people, make you lose customers and mediocrerize (yes, a made up word)  your business; in other words, ignite a slow death.

The right people in the right environment with other competent professionals are self-motivated and self-managed. The number one motivator for an A player, is not money, perks or work environment, it's working with other A players. Your role as an entrepreneur is to hire the best people, surround them with only the best people,  give them access to the best resources, and shape the vision of the company. Once you do this, get out of your team's way!


4. First bullets then cannonballs

This is back to back Jim Collins! And by far one of my favorite insights from Collins! He uses the metaphor of launching a product or business with the encounter of two war boats who are about to engage in battle. The idea behind this principle is that when going to war and having a limited supply of resources, before engaging the enemy with a full throttle arsenal of cannonballs, one must shoot bullets first.

 This makes sense since bullets are cheaper, lighter, quicker and easier to maneuver. Meanwhile you are shooting bullets you are indirectly calibrating the angle, the distance and measuring the wind factor. Once you have perfected your range and are consistently hitting the intended target, then you are ready to fire the big guns. This is also true in business. Don't start firing cannonballs all at once. Always, always begin by launching smaller products or less expensive prototypes to test the waters before you send to market the full blown product. Don't fall into temptation in believing that you will get it right the first time.  In a hurry? Shoot bullets faster and calibrate faster. Fail fast. Fail often. Learn quickly. In the indomitable words of the US Marines: Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.


5. Setup other people for success

I owe this lesson to a close entrepreneur I know. He is extremely successful and is currently one of the greatest entrepreneurs in LATAM.

Dozens of people knock on his door EVERY day, and since he is very wealthy, you would assume these people are trying to sell him something or hoping to borrow money from him. But instead, people approach begging for him to take their money.

Yes, I'm talking about someone who is rich and spends part of his time meeting with people wanting to give him their money, not take his. Why? The same reason why he is so successful. He makes other people money. How? If you are involved in a project with him, or have him as your partner, supplier or advisor; chances are you will make money. He adds so much value and is so generous that people want to do business with him. Make other people money, and the money will start flowing to you.


6. Stop thinking about making a million dollars and start thinking about serving a million people

I also borrowed this principle from Dharmesh Shah the co-founder of Hubspot. He explains that when you have few customers, and your goal is to make a lot of money, you’re incentivized to find ways to wring every last dollar out of those customers.

If your focus is serving a million people, your benefits will be 10X. It not only is exponentially more beneficial monetarily, but serving more people also increases the effect on word of mouth, on the number of people you get to hire, and your general impact magnifies ten folds. So what do you do if your business model is structured to serve a few customers? Use their clients as a channel to help a million people. For example, a Digital Marketing Agency can focus just on working with a few clients. But if in effect your clients serve a million people, structure a performance fee and help them serve a million more. The alignment itself in profit sharing will bring titanic results.


7. Leaders anticipate. Losers react

Amen. This is another of Tony Robbin's business insights. Create a culture of people who anticipate future problems and solutions and you will become unstoppable. It is extremely important that you install this in the DNA of EVERY team member in your organization. As the leader you can not be the only one anticipating problems, or you will end up being the reactor because of everyone's lack of anticipation!


8. Make your move before you are ready

This is the premier mantra of one of the most renowned motivational speakers, Les Brown. Don't get me wrong; it is important to have a vision, an execution plan and a sensitivity analysis of the potential downside and upside before you embark on your next project/company. But you need to take the plunge. At some point, you need to walk by faith and not by sight! I purposely chose to end with this principle, without it, nothing gets done! You must become a person of action, speed, and determination.  

If you liked this article I recommed reading an article I wrote on happiness:The 9 most powerful insights about happiness

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Juan A. Cisneros W.

Author Juan A. Cisneros W.

Co-Founder | Proactive, results driven entrepreneur, obsessed with learning and doing what it takes to grow a business.