There are no hard and fast rules in the world. None. Sachin Tendulkar did not copy Vivian Richards. Nor did he copy Don Bradman.
So there are no ‘success rules’ that work for everybody. Start early – is a good rule, but Kentucky Fried Chicken was started by a man in his 60s, right? what happened to his focus when he was 25, 35, 55,….? right.
Get good education: Dhirubhai Ambani was only class 8th pass…Sachin is class 12. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard (hey he was good enough to get in, dammit). Warren Buffett was denied admission at Harvard…..
When I say ‘these are the rules, I mean for the majority this is what works’. We go by the majority. Most start ups are done by people in their 20s. An average CA earns more than an average class 8 drop out.
So let us look at what a fresh kid out of school should know – it hardly matters whether you are a CA, doctor, Mba, engineer, ….read on:
1. Have a clear vision: Enjoy what you do. Hardly matters if it is law or medicine. If you do not like what you do, chances are you will not be good at it. Make sure you do what you love.
2. Be sensibly persistent: If you hit a wall, you need to know whether to reverse and go around the wall. It is completely dumb to keep hitting against the wall till your head bleeds. However giving up easily is also foolish. It is a tough, very tough call – ONLY YOU CAN TAKE the call.
3. If you are on your own build a team quickly. Take people better than you – it helps. Even if you are planning to do some business 4 years later, build your imaginary team. Track them, keep in touch. The day you need them be ready to take them on board. Not all of them will buy in, so keep back ups. FB, Linkedin, etc are very, very useful. Track them for attitude. Network, build clients, vendors, suppliers, mentors, employees….IN YOUR HEAD – call on them the day you start.
4. Listen, listen, listen: can also be read, read, read…keep reading and learning…
5. Think like a businessman: an employee asks for a raise. A business man first delivers good quality, then expects payment. Get the basics right. Deliver and you will get paid. If you are not paid for good product delivered, change the market. Important learning: First deliver top quality, then expect to get paid well.
6. Be a super great communicator. Raising money, attracting customers, retaining employees – all of it requires fantastic story telling. Part facts, part fiction – but strong belief.
7. Having a billion ideas is fine, but only a few can be tested! Test your ideas in small markets. Talk about it passionately, and test market it. Find a mentor who will talk to you nicely – not too soft, not a wet blanket either.
8. Make budgets and see how accurate you are about anything. Making a budget and managing for your dad or yourself is an excellent exercise to test your business skills.
9. Manage your relationships, emotions, etc. very sagely. If you are upset about something or someone it WILL hurt your business. You need to sort out all emotional baggage first…
10. Practice Patience, Success and Happiness: You know all this, right?
11. Keep good health, good financial habits, ….
12. Have fun – that is very important!
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