How to find your first customer

Which comes first: sales or track record? How do you get your first sale without a track record? How do you get a track record without your first sale? It’s like trying to figure out whether the chicken comes before the egg, or vice versa. The answer is: Your first sale comes first. When it…

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Sell first, build later

Before investing in a lemonade factory, you must first find out whether there are customers who are willing to pay for your lemonade. The best way to find out is to stand on the pavement and try sell lemonade. If people buy, hand-make more lemonade. If they keep buying, consider investing in a lemonade factory. Until you’re…

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Do you make money with people, or from people?

There are two kinds of businesspeople: Those that make money from people, and those that make money with people. Both can become wealthy, only the latter can build something truly big. No one has the skills, capital and time to achieve the wildest dreams on their own. You need partners if you want to build something…

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Don’t play politics

Where there’s people, there’s politics. You can’t stop it. All you can do is minimize it. The only way to keep politics to a minimum in your company is to not play politics yourself. “Not playing politics” means not talking about your staff behind their backs. “Not playing politics” means not being cunning or devious…

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Say I’m sorry

Sometimes you’re going make a mistake. You’ll drop the ball. Miss a deadline. Clang a recon. Say the wrong thing. That’s ok. Mistakes happen. What’s not ok is refusing to apologize. The easiest way to compound a mistake is to not say, “I’m sorry”. Pretend you did nothing wrong and carry on. All that does…

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The boss regulates the temperature of the company

The boss of a company is like the mom of a family. If the mom is stressed, the family is stressed. If the mom is happy, the family is happy. Same for companies. Whatever mood the boss has, the company will mimic. If you want a warm, positive, enthusiastic culture, you need to be warm, positive and…

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Chase the dream that only you have

Most people have more than one dream. To be a billionaire. To be an artist. To be an entomologist. To be Napoleon. Whatever. You have to choose one. Don’t choose the dream you love best. Rather choose the dream that no one else has. Go where the competition isn’t.

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Give yourself enough time

You’ll never get anywhere if you’re in a rushYou’ll always be in a rush if you don’t give yourself enough timeMake sure you have enough time between meetings, between ventures, between goals.Leave an hour between meetings (rather than stack them back-to-back).Take off six months between careers (rather than dive straight into something new).Aim to be…

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Only the paranoid survive, only the trusting win

You need to be paranoid to survive in business.Always have a plan B and C and D.Make sure you can’t fail.But surviving is not everything.You want to succeed. To win.To win, you need to trust.You simple can’t come first all by yourself.At some point you have to open yourself up and trust others. Partners, clients,…

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He who has the gold, makes the rules

Whoever controls the gold, controls. It’s a fact of life.If you don’t want to follow someone else’s rules, then you need to have your own gold to make your own rules.Earning a salary your entire life will rarely lead to enough gold to make the rules.Starting your own business doesn’t mean you make your own rules….

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Give mission orders rather than detailed instructions

In pre-Napoleon armies, all subordinates waited for specific instructions from the general before doing anything. Even if there was a defenceless enemy in front of them, unless they had written instructions saying, “If you see enemy, kill him”, they would not attack.It was total a command-and-control structure. The trouble is that it was very inflexible. Local…

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4 tell-tales of bad partners

According to Charlie Munger, 90% of success is not doing stupid stuff.The stupidest and most dangerous thing you can do is bring in the wrong partners.It’s hard to resist bringing in partners, especially when you’re under pressure and desperate for help.In times like these it’s easy to override your gut feel. To quell that quiet…

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