Lessons from billionaire Entrepreneurs to start your week

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Yipee! It’s another first work day of the week. What better ways to douse away the grumblings and reluctance that come with Monday, than to share some priceless insights from successful entrepreneurs?

Who is in the best of position to give advice and directions if not (s)he that has worked in one’s shoes before? They alone can relate with our fears, anxiety, and trepidation.

While doing research is good, I have come to discover that scouring the internet looking for tips on entrepreneurship can be an ad infinitum process; you can read forever. The internet is what I call the ‘garbage of information’ with no filter to separate the quality of advices and opinions people drop. Many advices on entrepreneurship on the internet are from people who haven’t really succeeded at anything. To me, the “who” behind the advice is as important as the “what,” because ultimately, you have to believe that the person giving you advice has actually been in your shoes.


Having said this, roll up your sleeves, put on your swimming trunks, and let’s take a dive with Richard Branson, Mark Cuban and co……………

1. Build something that actually solves a problem.
I know this might be the thousand and one time you’ll be reading/hearing this, don’t get mad yet, it only tells you how integral it is to the survival and growth of your business. If you want to build a valuable and sustainable business, approach your venture with a problem-solution framework. In truth, successful entrepreneurs like Branson and Cuban have come to the realization that customers/clients only buy two things: solution and the feel-good effect it has on them. The most successful companies in the world emerge from genuine needs and consequently create real opportunities and value. “Innovation” is just the process of solving a problem with a creative solution that’s never been thought of or executed before. Your business must offer something to the people. That is your unique value proposition.


Do not be afraid to push the boundaries.
Both Cuban and Branson have said that the most successful companies in the world create a legacy by breaking the rules and not following common beliefs or thinking. When you think unconventionally, true innovation and disruption can occur. Call it a “paradigm shift,” “transformation” or whatever term gets you motivated. Take the “road less travelled” if you really want to upend an existing business model or traditional industry.


Fail fast.
 Sounds absurd? According Branson, failure to entrepreneurs is not what it is to every other person; it is a learning curve. Your first attempt to develop something that has the right product-to-market fit probably won’t work. The sooner you understand what’s not working, the sooner you’ll arrive at a working solution. Therefore, the key is to iterate quickly and ship frequently. Building something that provides value to its respective market will require multiple attempts and failures. This was the case with every big companies ever built.


Build a great team and you’ll typically end up with a great product or service.
Most entrepreneurs think startups are all about the idea. They’re not. Initially, most ideas are way off base and don’t have product-to-market fit. Investors such as Cuban and Branson look at the team as much as the product. If you have a team that knows how to problem-solve and persevere, you can brainstorm, iterate and prototype until you arrive at the right idea. The right team has the right blend of attitude, intelligence, perseverance, passion and domain expertise. Investors know it when they see it.


Build culture from the start.
Culture is the foundation of your company, and culture comes from people, not theory. Follow the SWAN formula: Smart, Works Hard, Ambitious, and Nice. If you hire SWANs from the start, the company culture will be organic and build itself. Ultimately, culture will give your company the momentum it needs to overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship.


Now, if you decide to base your entire business strategy around all that is here, you have violated tip number two; you are not pushing boundaries. Insights from mentors should spur you to form your own strategy while using their shared experiences as guidelines. Remember, no two startups follow the same path.


So use these as guidelines as you create something the world can’t ignore, do your own thing! Go build a company Cuban or Branson wish they could invest in. Maybe they will.



I'm interested in stories, news and opportunities for African entrepreneurs. Be it tech, fashion, SMEs; breaking entrepreneurship stories is the next best thing that can happen to me, after Jollof

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