Know yourself

Take risks. Lots of risks. Fall in love, start businesses, travel, meet new people. Keep taking risks. Sometimes you’ll win, most times you’ll fail. It’s in failure that you you’ll find out how you respond to setbacks, what is important to you, what type of people you gel with. One of the biggest risks you’ll…

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Don’t hide behind process

Following due process is important. It ensures fairness. Maximises buy-in. Minimises legal risk. But sometimes process can be used as a shield from making decisions. In a startup, speed is the most important thing If you use process as an excuse to not make decisions you will slow down, and fail. Don’t let anyone hide…

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Pay attention to the person, not the words

Don’t spend too much energy judging the words of another person. Rather judge her character. Is she trustworthy? Does she behave with integrity? What she says is mostly noise. Maybe she says the right words, or the wrong words. It doesn’t matter. If she’s a crook, ignore her. If she’s not a crook, trust her.

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Always ask for a budget

If you ask a lawyer, or auditor, or consultant, to do work for you, be sure of following: Scope (what exact deliverable do you want?) Hourly rate Budget If you don’t, you will have a never-ending job. You will spend too much money. You will have nothing to show for it. Define the right scope….

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Startups = surprises

Startup life is unpredictable. No matter how thoroughly you plan, every day brings a surprise. If you don’t like surprises, you can’t be an entrepreneur. So start loving surprises.

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Don’t go legal

Using lawyers to solve your problems should always be the absolute last resort. Only when you’ve exhausted all avenues, do you consider the legal route, and even then, think twice. It will cost you money. It will take a long time (you have no control over the speed of the process) It will take energy…

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Leaders vs managers

Leaders take a business forward. Managers keep a business running.Leaders innovate. Managers replicate.Leaders take risk. Managers manage risk.Leaders build relationships. Managers build processes.Leaders create fans. Managers have employees.Leaders make people want to come to work. Managers make people afraid of not coming to work.Leaders make people smile. Managers make people sweat.Leaders communicate. Managers project manage.Leaders…

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Play to your staff’s competitive nature

Lee Kuan Yew: “Human beings are not born equal. They are highly competitive. Systems like Soviet and Chinese communism have failed, because they tried to equalize benefits. Then nobody works hard enough, but everyone wants to get as much as, if not more than, the other person.” That’s all you need to know about managing…

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You cannot step into the same river twice

It’s different water every time. Remember that before you decide to start a new company in an industry you dominated a decade ago. The game is changing all the time. What worked a decade ago, won’t work today. You cannot step into the same river twice.

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Welcome the best the world has to offer

The longer you run your company, the more likely you are to get stuck in your ways. Accounting software, employee management, product processes, whatever. It’s worked before, so why change? That way lies obsolescence. Not keeping up with the times simply opens the door for young competitors to come and eat your lunch using the…

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Different businesses have different leadership styles

Autocracy. Participatory. Democracy. Consultative dictatorship. Whatever the style, before you take-over/join/deal with a business, figure out it’s leadership style. Don’t try to change it. Trying to change it will result in failure. Rather align with it. Adopt it. Lead in the same way. That’s how you’ll take the company where you want it to go. Breaking…

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You need a free exchange of ideas

That’s how you innovate. That’s how you find the truth. That’s how you stay ahead of the pack. That’s why America keeps creating new products, new companies. No one is arrested for saying what they think. People are free to air ideas, exchange thoughts. Do the same for your company.

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