“If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, don’t chase the money” are the words of Tomas Gorny, an entrepreneur whose life and business experiences will be the point of this post, as he emphasises the point that the creation of great things is actually more important than the accumulation of wealth.
Do check out some of his precious thoughts.
1. Do Not Look Down On People Because They Are Different From You
Early in his career, he experienced a lack of respect because he spoke with an Eastern European accent, having emigrated from Poland to the United States in his late teens. And the people he came across in business circles thought him stupid because of this. But rather than let their biased comments stop him, he worked harder and eventually gained the favour of business partners and before long was respected throughout his industry
From those experiences, he learnt never to underestimate anybody in life because of looks, demeanour, accent or dress. Rather, he reaches his conclusions about people by considering their character, their attitude, their ability, and how well they will fit into his company.
2. Never Be Afraid Of Failure
Still talking about Tomas Gorny, one of his first businesses was as a 17-year-old; but to emigrate to the United States, he had to sell it, and that was in 1996. He would soon after arriving the US join a company that paid far less than he needed. What did he do?
To make ends meet and save enough money to start his own company, he took on other jobs. After years of hard work and really long hours, it all paid off, as he saw his business grow into a really successful company, which he would later sell in 1998 – just two years after arriving the US!
With this success came the money to invest in another business idea. It was successful for a while, until he lost nearly all he had worked hard for due to the market crash that happened at that time -the year was 2001. Only five years after arriving the United States, and he was right back where he had started. Tough, right?
But this setback didn’t discourage him, he only worked harder to succeed. With roughly $6,000 left in his life savings, he launched a web-hosting company and built it into the second-largest business in its industry.
3. Keep This In Mind At All Times – The Customer Is King!
He believes that customers are an entrepreneur’s best teacher. A business that can deliver quality products that solve a customer’s problems, he says, will become invaluable and will get referrals from the customers it has satisfied.
As a business owner, he advises that one will be smart to adopt his/her customers’ mindset. This will make one ask such important questions like: What problems are they struggling with? How can I make their lives easier?
And even after asking these questions, he insists that it is important that one seek feedback from customers to determine how well they like the solution you have come up with, rather than simply assuming it’s right and perfect.
4. Ensure To Focus In This Order. BUSINESS FIRST, MONEY AND EXIT STRATEGY LATER
The process of succeeding and failing and succeeding again has taught him not to focus on just money alone. He says:
When I lost my money, I recognised that to succeed, I needed to focus on providing value to customers, not on how much money we could bring in. I now live by that principle, and it has served my companies and me well.
He also advises that entrepreneurs should start with what money they have first, rather than looking for investors right away, and gives reasons for saying so.
Because an investor’s most important concern is how to get returns on their investment, they will be less interested in the long-term growth of the business which is unhealthy for a company – a new one at that! Rather, entrepreneurs should grow their business to a certain level before shopping for investors, as this will give them an advantage to show investors what they are capable of and win them over to their way of thinking.
The summary of it all is this: Though it can be easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in raising money for their business, working out a way to get quick returns on investment, and selling the company to the highest bidder; this approach is never the best. It is always better to focus on the product and the service than the money(which will come later if your offering is fantastic).
What’s more? You get to build a great company that lasts, not just a flash in the pan!