Whether they are billionaires today or not, recognized internationally or in France, they dared to launch out, clung to their dreams despite the failures and ended up creating value. What are their tips today for aspiring entrepreneurs? A small dose of inspiration for the day, to be consumed without moderation!
1- Do it with passion or don’t do it
The greatest entrepreneurs are all unanimous here: you will never do things as well as when there is passion and pleasure.
For Jeff Bezos (Amazon), you have to do something that you have a lot of passion for ‘‘even if it is not in the current trend’’. Steve Jobs adds that it is so difficult to be successful when you undertake that ‘’if you have no passion and you are sane you will stop’’. Likewise, Biz Stone (Twitter) says ‘‘failure is almost guaranteed’’ if there is no ‘‘emotional engagement’’ in your approach. And money, a sufficient engine to succeed? Michael Dell believes that ‘‘people who are looking for ideas to make money are not as successful as those who are doing what they like.’’
2- Find a solution to a problem
We have told you again and again, but we can’t say it enough: nobody wants a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. For Paul Graham (Y Combinator), if the majority of startups fail, it is ‘‘because they created something that people did not want to buy’’. Aaron Vidas (Strategybox) also advises you to ‘‘be the solution to a problem, not a solution in search of a problem to be solved’’. In practical terms, ‘‘pay attention to people’s needs and what hasn’t been done’’ (Russell Simmons, Def Jam Records).
3- Having an idea is good, executing it is essential
Anyone can have an idea. But there is a gap between idea and action, which is sometimes difficult to cross in the entrepreneurial adventure. Walt Disney (himself) said that ‘‘the way to get started is to stop talking and start acting.’’ Likewise, Jack Dorsey (Twitter) confirms that ‘‘the hard part is getting started.’’ For Sarah Azan and Hannah Oiknine (Babbler), ‘‘it is not enough to have a good idea and a little bit of money’’, the success of a project depends on its execution.
‘‘Your winning advantage is not an idea that you keep with you, but the ability to check if this idea is working, to find the right team, to get started’’ (Reid Hoffman, Linkedin)
In entrepreneurship as in life, you have to be constantly on the move. To avoid getting stuck, make decisions every day (same little ones), take a step forward every day (even little ones). As Serge Kampf (Capgemini) says: “You have to be constantly on the alert. If we sleep, we are dead ”.
4- Surround yourself … and the best!
Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift) warns the founders: “You don’t have to know how to do everything, and even if you can, you shouldn’t do it”. Reid Hoffmann (Linkedin) adds: “If you play solo, you will always lose to a team”. However, did you know that a bad team is one of the main causes behind the failure of a startup? Renaud Visage (Eventbrite) advises entrepreneurs to “pay particular attention to the first recruitments”. For Warren Buffet, you have to “rub shoulders with people better than you”. Beth Hurley (Covanta Energy) said that you should also ‘‘find experts in the areas where you are not the strongest and not feel threatened by them’’. Even more concretely, Naval Ravikant (Angelist) says that ‘‘you have to find a partner who has these three characteristics: a lot of energy, very intelligent, and above all very honest.’’
5- Take care of your corporate culture
Once you’ve got the dream team together, how do you keep it and work together? For Florian Douetteau (Dataiku), we must ‘‘recruit above all people who know how to talk to each other’’. Then Tony Hsieh (Zappos) advises to “pay attention to the corporate culture”. Also capital for Jessy Bernal (Doctolib), he recommends developing it as soon as possible: ‘‘When the team is holding on the fingers of one hand, having a’’ culture “meeting is embarrassing. The exercise then looks artificial and there are so many other emergencies to deal with. But still, this backbone is crucial: it is on it that the structure will grow to stand upright and advance with great strides. Defining your values means formalizing them, sharing them and offering collective moments to your employees. ”
6- Tell a (beautiful) story
Simon Sinek said that “very few organizations really know what their reason for existence is, their cause, and their positive belief”. It is essential to define the values to which the company adheres, not only for the internal cohesion of the team but also vis-à-vis the outside. Seth Godin (Tribes) said he was not interested in the numbers but in the message that the companies are sending. “What’s the story you’re telling?”. So take care of your storytelling: even before your product or service, your customers or investors will pay attention to your story.
7- Speak and accept criticism
Worried that your idea would be stolen? As we said earlier, everyone has ideas but few people really put them into action. So, according to Benoît Feron (Modizy.com), “an idea is worth nothing”, so talk about it and don’t be afraid to do it. Hélène Quaniaux (MeetmyJob.fr) recommends not hesitating to seek advice from those around you. Everyone is more or less expert in a field, and as far as it is from yours, each opinion can bring you a new light: “Great leaders ask the opinion of everyone they meet” (Chris Sacca, Lowercase Capital).
Then, as Elon Musk (Tesla) puts it, ‘‘continually seek criticism because criticism of what you do is worth gold.” Marc Pincus (Zynga) does not go through all four paths and advises you to choose “the five to six most intelligent friends in the room” and ask them to gauge your idea.
8- But only constructive criticism!
Mark Svenson said, “Know when to listen to others and when to listen only to yourself.” Learn to distinguish constructive criticism that will make you progress and those that, simply negative, only discourage you unnecessarily. Dennis Crowley (Foursquare) warns: “Don’t be distracted by people who don’t like your idea. There are always people who will not like it or who think it will never work. ” For Mark Twain, only mediocre people will always try to belittle your ambitions while “the big ones make you feel that you, too, can become big.”
9- “Try, Fail, Fix”
Although it is beginning to spread in France, the “culture of failure” is much more integrated in the United States. We will tell you: it does not matter to fail, it is even highly recommended…! Mark Zuckerberg said it himself: “Often people ask me what mistakes to avoid, I generally answer not even trying to avoid making mistakes because you’re going to make tons of them anyway. ‘‘ So take failure as the opportunity to develop your resilience. For Céline Lazorthes (Leetchi), pugnacity is the main quality of an entrepreneur, you must “never take no for an answer’’. Alexandra Malsch (Melty) warns of “desert crossings” to come and the obligation to “keep believing”. Try, fail; repair and try again. As Eric Ries (The Lean Startup) says: ‘‘It is not enough to test your idea at the beginning, you have to check it throughout the process’’.
10- Don’t raise too much money at first Another of the most common mistakes of entrepreneurs wants to raise a lot of money right away. For Renaud Visage (Eventbrite), it is better not to raise too much money from the start because ‘‘the valuation is difficult to justify later’’. Jean-David Chamboredon (Isai) advises him to be realistic and credible in the eyes of investors: “It is easier to say that we want to raise 300,000 euros and ultimately get 500,000 because investors prove to be motivated rather than doing less than what was originally announced”.