When times are good, keep a warm heart

When times are tough, you need to keep a cool mind. Stay rational, don’t panic. When times are good, the hard part is not a cool mind. The hard part is keeping a warm heart. Don’t get arrogant. Don’t forget how lucky you got. Don’t ignore the folks behind you. When times are good, keep a warm…

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There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know”

If you don’t know the answer to the question, say so. The alternative is of no help to anyone except your ego. Pretending to know the answer makes you lose the respect of those in the room that know you’re faking it. Pretending to know the answer prevents you from finding out the true answer….

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Learning to be an entrepreneur is like learning how to swim

Reading a book doesn’t work. The only way to learn how to swim is to get in the pool and swim. Preferably with someone by your side to stop from drowning. Reading about swimming might help your technique, but it won’t stop you drowning. Only experience can teach you to swim properly. Same for being…

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Jargon is for fakers

“Own the stack.” “Find synergy.” “Put it in the cloud.” Beware. When you hear someone using jargon , steer clear. He is most likely a faker. He is trying to impress you into thinking he knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t. People who know what they’re talking about can explain in plain English. Jargon is for fakers.

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Don’t be subtle

If you’re selling hotdogs, don’t say you’re selling a “roll with a sausage in it.”Say you’re selling hotdogs.Don’t beat around the bush. People are too busy to interpret and translate your subtle messages.Say what you’re selling.

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Whatever your dream is, dream bigger

Jorge Lehmann, chairman of 3G Capital, and his partners have built the world’s biggest brewery, AB Inbev SABMiller, and yet he’s on the record as saying his greatest regret is not dreaming bigger. Can you imagine that? You build the world’s biggest beer company, and yet you feel you didn’t shoot high enough. There’s a lesson…

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Only listen to entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur may not have the necessary detachment to effectively share advice for other entrepreneurs. An outsider may have the necessary detachment, but is too far removed from entrepreneurial reality to make statements of any real value. Only an entrepreneur can provide advice. At worst, her advice may not be objective, but it at least comes from real life experience. When…

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If a tree falls over without a witness, it makes no sound

If your customer doesn’t hear your excuse, he’ll leave you. If your investor doesn’t get your pitch, he won’t invest in you. If your star employee doesn’t know you’ve included him on your share option allocations, he’ll take an offer from a competitor. If a tree falls over and there is no witness, it didn’t make a…

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Success cannot be pursued. It ensues.

Phil Knight of Nike fame didn’t get rich by chasing money. He got rich by trying to make the best running shoes in the world. His financial success was not pursued, it ensued. Most times, financial success is accidental. You can’t directly chase it. Rather, it ensues from you chasing something else. That doesn’t mean…

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If you truly want something, you must fight for it

The best prizes are contested. You can’t wait for what you want. You must go and get it. Maybe your startup finds itself in greenfields for a time. No competition, lots of opportunity. Eventually someone will try take what you have. Maybe you’re sitting in corporate, looking out the window and dreaming of financial freedom. Eventually you will…

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An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour

If something crazy happens in your business, don’t turn to your rule book. Abnormal situations require abnormal actions. Your reaction can’t be predictable. You can’t follow the rules. When something completely out of the ordinary strikes, you must strike back fast with whatever is at hand. Throw away the rule book. An abnormal reaction to an…

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Dress neatly

Why wear a suit when you prefer wearing a torn t-shirt and jeans? “It’s just being dishonest. I am who I am, why put lipstick on the pig?” That’s just arrogance. Don’t be that guy. Dressing smart is not being dishonest. It simply shows respect. If you don’t show your customer respect, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t…

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