14 entrepreneurs share their secret tips to success
4. Drop the ego
While every business needs a good leader, success is all about finding a team that works together. In fact, Human Innovation’s CEO Lee Powney believes that for any entrepreneur to succeed, they have to drop the ego.
“People say that ego drives success and that it’s just a natural product of being an entrepreneur,” explains Powney. “I think that’s absolute bullshit… From my experience you have to let that ego go.”
While ego can surely drive a business in meetings and the public eye, it’ll only get you so far in the workplace. “Ultimately, you want to find people who are better than you and inspire you, because setting up a business is the most painful high-and-low roller coaster you could possibly ride.
“Lose the ego and map out the type of people you want around you. Go find the stars and don’t build a business around yourself.”
5. Do what you love
One of the most successful tech ideas to come out of Britain in the past decade is the Raspberry Pi, the barebones microcomputer designed to help get children interested in programming. Five million of the devices have been sold, but Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton pointed out that he doesn’t measure success based on his bank balance. “It would seem kind of strange to start a business because you’ve got to make money,” he said. “You’ve got to think that you’re going to accomplish something that’s worthwhile.”
“It’s easier to “sustain the work level” if you enjoy what you’re doing.”
It’s more fun that way, he said, and while that may sound flippant, Upton points out that it’s easier to “sustain the work level” if you enjoy what you’re doing. “Most startup companies fail… but one of the things that makes a difference is the work rate that the people who have started the company can sustain,” he said. “It’s much easier to sustain a high work rate if you believe in what you’re doing. I don’t know many people who can sustain a high work rate because of the prospect of a big payday.”
6. Do things your own way
Learning from others is always key, but to retain that true entrepreneurial spirit, you’ve got to keep your core ideas in focus. If Brin and Page had taken some of the terrible advice they were given in the early days of Google, would it be the powerhouse it is today? Probably not. If you want to grow, you’ve got to stick to your guns.
“The primary lesson is that you have to build a company your own way,” explains Zendesk CEO and co-founder Mikkel Svane. Sure, you have to go to somebody and look at their formulas and learn their lessons, but you can’t have them making all the decisions for you, that’s how Zendesk jumped from being three of guys coding in a Copenhagen kitchen to one of the largest SaaS companies in the world.
“It’s like [having] kids. You can’t tell them how things are, you can’t tell them how to do things, they have to try them on their own. Our lives are all unique in many different ways.”