How much compromise is there in a business partnership?

Business partnerships are like marriages. A successful marriage is  all about compromise. That’s why you should be careful who you marry. Never pretend to be someone you’re not just to impress a potential spouse. If you fake it, you’ll be forced to compromise too much and you’ll end up with a very unhappy marriage. Rather be yourself. Find people…

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Great products are used

Great businesses are sustainable. To be sustainable you must sell a product that is used. Any product that is not used is not sustainable. Your customer may wake up one day and realise she is paying for something she doesn’t want and BOOM! you’re out of business. Businesses that sell products that are not used are fragile….

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Are you a finder or a keeper?

Some people can find the money. Some people can keep the money. Not many can find AND keep the money. You need to do both. Open the door and close deal. Innovate and commercialise. If you only focus on finding opportunity, then you’ll never make any money. If you only focus on exploiting opportunity, then you’ll…

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Do you want to provide or achieve?

There’s a difference between providing for your family, and achieving for yourself. The former comes with job security, the latter comes with risk. Seldom can you have both at the same time. Security of income (and the peace of mind that you can provide for your family) usually entails scaling back your ambition and cashing…

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Startup life is not romantic

Its easy to think  startup life is an “adventure.”Its like watching a man on a camel cross the desert. For onlookers, it is entertaining.Far less entertaining for the actual man on the camel travelling at two miles per hour in blistering sun and blowing sand.To the onlooker, if the adventure ends with success, it is romantic. If…

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Take out the middle man

Do you hesitate to publicise your contact details? Scared of stalkers? Scared of sales people? Scared of being inundated with emails? Wake up. You’re an entrepreneur. You’ve already signed up for all of the above. The price of being a salesman is that you will be sold to. You have no choice. You need to find your…

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Don’t build a house on a sinking island

Before you plunge into startup life, make sure your industry is not on the way out. You want to pick a rising tide, not a sinking island. Take the news industry as an example. It doesn’t matter how successful your startup is, it will fail because the news industry is shrinking. Fast. The strongest building in the…

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The line of least expectation is the line of least resistance

You want to avoid direct frontal assaults. Steer clear of competition . Stay away from fights. Take the path of least resistance. That path is usually the path of least expectation. Do the thing that your competition is least likely to expect, and you’ll find the route with the least resistance. Not only will you have no…

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Sometimes you just have to wait it out

During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln sent a letter to one of his generals, William Sherman, expressing his conviction that he was about to lose the election and that all that remained was for him to hand-over matters to the next president as smoothly as possible. The reason Abe was so pessimistic was that…

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Kill your darlings, publicly

Every business has some favourite employee. Someone that is the darling of the boss, can do no wrong, walks on water. Beware. These people will cause resentment in your company, fostering politics, slowing you down. Don’t play favourites. If you do have a darling, fire him. Publicly. It will send a message that there are no…

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Keep your team humble

Arrogance leads to blindspots, complacency, politics. It will slow you down your team. It will kill your business. Stay humble. Its not only you, the founder, that needs to remain humble. Your team needs to be humble. No matter how big your stars are, their feet must stay on the ground. Make self-effacing jokes, use unpretentious titles,…

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How to be courageous

Its not useful to have the courage of a lion: Genetically inbred and taken for granted. Rather have the courage of a coward. A learnt skill, therefore more powerful. Being a natural coward is useful for business. It forces you to acquire the habit of avoiding the thoughts that lead to fear. It forces you to teach your mind to think in…

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