You gotta do what you gotta do

Maybe you have to fire a friend. Maybe you have to move into a cubicle. Maybe you have to cancel your long-planned family holiday. Whatever the price you have to pay, accept it as the price of being an entrepreneur. No one else can make the hard decisions. No one else can do what has…

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Set the example

If you want staff to prepare for meetings, then you better prepare for meetings. If you want staff to be polite & professional, then you better be polite & professional. If you want staff to be early, then you better be early. Whatever it is that you want of your team, you better be that…

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Do you want to be right or kind?

Which one appeals to you more? Being kind? Or being right? If it’s the latter, bad news: You will not make it life. Being right, all the time, might make you feel good, but it will not make you friends. In the long run, you need friends. You need people who will help you. If…

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No one likes everything. Everyone hates something

You can’t please everyone. It’s much easier to hate stuff than love stuff. Be careful not to do stuff that upsets folks. If you can’t win everyone’s approval, at least minimise the amount of disapproval that comes your way.

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Skill vs luck

How do you tell whether you need luck or skill? If you can influence an outcome by working harder, that’s skill. If you can’t lose on purpose, that’s luck. For both, the only factor you can control is how hard you work. The harder you work, the luckier and more skilful you’ll get.

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Double the work doesnt mean double the profit

In a startup, profit is not linear to effort. To make double the return, you need to work ten times harder. Later one, when you have a big, stable business, the relationship between profit and effort inverts. Double the work and you make ten times the profit. But that’s later. In the beginning you need…

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A little bit of debt can help

Debt is an impediment to having options. Debt is a nuclear button that can wipe you out. Debt is always a bad thing. Period. Except, that having zero debt can give you so many options that you lack focus. A little debt can keep you away from distraction. It makes you think about backup plans,…

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Starting from scratch can be a blessing

Sunk costs are things like IT systems, staff complements, pricing policies, that have built up over years. Sunk costs are so entrenched that it often takes a disaster to wipe them away. Part of the reason the German military was so powerful in the early years of World War II is because it had to forfeit…

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Sometimes a low valuation is the best valuation

When raising money, you obviously want as high a valuation as possible. But there’s a downside to a high valuation. Reversion to the mean is the most powerful and unforgiving force in finance. Odds are your valuation will revert to the mean. A crazy high valuation today increases the odds that subsequent fundraises will have…

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Business competitors destroy each other. Businesses without competitors destroy themselves.

A little bit of competition is a good thing. It keeps you on your toes. Keeps you awake. You don’t get complacent. Better that than a monopoly. Sure, you’ll make big profits for awhile. But eventually someone will come along and eat your lunch. And you’ll be too fat and lazy to fight back. Be…

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Watch out for jargon

People use industry jargon to hide that they don’t know what’s going on. They use it to impress the audience. They use it to dazzle dazzle. They use it to ensure the audience doesn’t know what’s being said. There is no good reason for using jargon.

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Trust the process

Most entrepreneurs are mostly the types of people as impatient. When there’s a problem, it must be solved immediately. When there’s a solution, it must be grasped immediately. Speed speed speed. Now now now. That works well for a startup, but not so well as the business grows. Impatience can cause more damage that benefit….

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