Let’s make something clear in the beginning. Being an entrepreneur is, most of the time, a handful. It is more than “challenging” or “demanding”. Being a founder is frustrating, it often puts you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to think and act faster than you’d like. Simply putーit is hard to run a company.
By now you might be thinking that we are exaggerating and trying to make you feel better. Guess whatーwe are not. Doubt it? We’ll let the statistics speak for themselves:
- According to Hustle, 30% of entrepreneurs live with depression.
- Small business owners reported that managing their business is four times more stressful than raising children.
Our founder would agree with both of these statements.
It is perfectly normal to feel discouraged, lonely and anxious. And, sometimes, you just need a small push in the right direction. A push from the people who have made a name for themselves or their companies.
That is why we decided to present you with the five business lessons from successful people that will inspire you and give you the strength to continue the neverending battle of running your own business.
Listen to Your Guts
Do you remember your beginnings? Do you remember the days when you came up with your business idea and set your mind to transforming it into reality? How you felt like nothing or no one was able to stop you, and you just knew that it was the right thing to do and decided to pursue that idea.
It’s normal for that initial enthusiasm to wear off after a couple of months (or years) of maintaining your business, but as much as it wanes, you should never stop believing in yourself and your idea. In fact, our first story will cheer you up and remind you why you should always follow your intuition.
Our first story today is one about Konosuke Matsushita, the man whose life consists of small business lessons.
Back in 1917, Matsushita was just an apprentice at the Osaka Electric Light Company. Although he had no formal education and was pretty young (only 23 years old), he had an eye for details and an engineering way of thinking.
What happened was this: Matsushita came up with an improved version of the light socket, but his boss wasn’t interested. Despite this, Konosuke never gave up on his idea! He believed in it so fervently that he decided to make samples in his own basement. Later, he went on to expand the product line.
Now, do you know which company we are talking about? Well, you might know it as Matsushita Electric or Panasonic, to be exact.
As you can see, the founder of Panasonic never gave up on himself and his ideas, especially in the beginning when it was the toughest for him to make it on his own. He listened to his gut and slowly created a multimillion-dollar company.
So, the next time you feel a bit down and are unsure of what you’re supposed to do, just listen to what your stomach has to tell you and you won’t regret any decision you make.
This is the first out of five business lessons. Each of them is equally important, so make sure you remember them!
There Is Always a Way to Achieve Goals
When you feel like the time is running out of your hands, that your employees are not capable of doing enough, and that you are far from achieving your goals and living your vision, remember this story.
Our second story is about business lessons that will, hopefully, put business and management into a new perspective for you. The story is about the founder of ZoomーEric Yuan.
In case you haven’t heard of Zoom, it is a company that offers a software for video conferencing, which also includes mobile cooperations and online meetings. If you Google it, you will see that the company’s headquarters is in San Jose, California while its founder is from China. That’s where the story begins.
In the mid-‘90s, Yuan wanted to come to America and make use of the Internet expansion, which, at the time, wasn’t all that popular in China. He applied for a visa eight times before he finally got itーon the ninth try. He had no idea that one of the biggest business lessons in his life has started. Make no mistake, this is not a story about persistence.
When he finally, after two years of applying, got to America, there was only one problemーhe didn’t know the language. So, what did he do? He started coding. Little did he know that he would soon get a job in WebEx, a company that provides its users with collaboration and communication platforms. And, as it usually happens, Eric saw a room for improvement and decided to make a new communication platform. This platform was born in 2012, under the name Zoom.
Why did we choose to include this story on our list of business lessons? Because just when you think that you’re all out of solutions, there is one waiting for you around the corner. You just have to keep your eyes open and they will lead you to your goals.
You Can’t Do It All by Yourself
We are sure you have heard various stories of business buddies that achieved great success together. We would like to highlight one in particular: a well-known Apple story, about two StevesーSteve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Don’t worry, this is not a story about acquiring a lot of money (the duo became millionaires in their twenties). It’s about being a team player. As you will later see, most business lessons have to do with being human, not getting rich.
Over the years, you might have noticed that people have started judging Jobs and his tech knowledge, and that more and more people have actually started glorifying Wozniak as the “brain of the operation”. This is no coincidence. In fact, Wozniak was in charge of building the product in the beginning (Apple I and then Apple II), while Jobs took care of the sales part. Although people often refer to Jobs as the man who was a difficult work partner, the truth is that neither of them would have succeeded if they hadn’t stuck together.
Having a right hand to confide in and share your business with might seem like a good idea, but only if you pick the right person to work with. If you feel like you need an equal partner to help you run the company, you have to be careful and make sure that you trust this person enough to play such an important part in the business management.
And remember, one of the most important business lessons is that delegating work is not an acknowledgment of your incapability, but a recognition of your limits. It’s okay to make mistakesーafter all, you’re only human. This leads us to our next lesson.
It's Okay to Make Mistakes
As we mentioned above, it’s okay for you to make mistakes, even if you’re a busy founder. What you want to do, though, is take those mistakes, learn from them, and turn them into valuable business lessons.
In order to get an idea of what kind of mistakes we are thinking about, we are going to talk about Airbnb’s story.
Three years after Airbnb was founded, in 2011, a negative comment on one person’s blog threatened to ruin this entire company’s reputation. To be precise, a woman by the name of EJ left a comment on her blog saying that Airbnb renters had destroyed her home. At the time, it seemed like the situation had been properly handledーnot long after that, one of the founders, Brian Chesky made a public statement, saying that the company was going to do right by her. That’s only the beginning, though.
The women thought that all Airbnb wanted was to make things go away and was not pleased with the answer. The situation only got worse when another renter complained about crystal meth users destroying his apartment.
At this point, Chesky could have done the same thing for the second time and publicly responded to the man. However, he didn’t have the luxury to let the bad word spread, so he admitted that the company had made a mistake with one simple tweet: We screwed up and we are sorry. The tweet also included a link to the company’s blog, with the title Our Commitment to Trust & Safety.
Bad entrepreneurs would consider this mistake as one of the failures in the business management, but it is actually one of the best business lessons from successful people.
As you can see, this story proves that you can take control of how your users/customers perceive your brand. It is completely understandable to make a few mistakes along the way, as long as you own up to them and are open to the public eye. As you can see, nobody’s perfect, not even a multimillion dollar company like Airbnb.
Do Not Settle for Average
We have to admit this statement sounds like a cliché, but it’s the truth. Once you have reached one of your goals, don’t stop thereーalways think bigger and strive to do more. And, if you thought an article that includes business lessons from successful people could go without mentioning Elon Musk, you were definitely wrong.
Elon Musk. An entrepreneur who inspired actor Robert Downey Jr. for his role as the famous Iron Man. Believe it or not, Musk is more than a real-life Iron Man. He is a man that has a couple of companies behind them.
The first company Musk launched was a software company by the name of Zip2, back in 1995. Musk created it with his brother Kimbal, and it served as an online city guide for newspaper companies, which were trying to keep up with this new trend called the Internet. Without getting into too many details, let’s just say that one thing led to another, and four years later the company was sold. Musk received 22 million dollars.
The next one was PayPal, which was eventually sold to eBay, and then Tesla Motors Inc, SolarCity, HyperLoop, and more recently, the Boring Company.
We have to admit that Musk is a walking encyclopedia of business lessons. Alas, not everyone can be and think like Elon Musk, but this man is the living example of always trying to do more and making a change in the world. There is no need to settle for average or think small. Be brave and keep on challenging yourself on a daily basisーonce you start doing so, great things will happen.
Entrepreneurs are modern-day supermen. They have an out-of-this-world strength and above-average intelligence which only goes up with the years they spend as founders.
So, next time you start doubting yourself, remember that you are not the only one, that a lot of people before you went through the same situation and came out as winners. Keep your chin up and channel your inner Elon Musk!
Thank you for reading this article to the very end. We hope you found these business lessons helpful and inspiring. Is there any other business lessons you would like to add to this list?