from Inc Magazine 17 March 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
As a student, Julian Kabab wasn’t inspired by $$$ or success. The things that thrilled him most were game-changing visions. During his last year in college, every student was required to finalize their degree with an Internship in a global firm. That was about the very last thing on the list of things Julian wanted to do, and he asked if he could build his own company to gain experience in his own way and to express his vision. His teachers said no, so Julian dropped school & his internship, and built his own company – Flashgap. Below is a list of the five most important things Julian Kabab learned as he continues to grow his business.
1. Never stop Studying, Learning, or Trying new things. Most universities have these great celebrations for graduation where they tell you, “Now you’re a grad. Get out there and fight for your life, you have all the tools you need.” Realistically, that’s probably the worst advice they can ever give you. Hopefully, this taught you how to do the research you need to find the info you want, then how to present it, so it’s useful for your audience (superior, customer, users, etc). A lot of the people I know from university have stopped studying or improving themselves with everyday knowledge. As someone who is constantly trying to better their knowledge, I am always a step ahead. In the world of startups, things evolve so fast, and what you learned a months or years ago may have completely changed and become antiquated. If you aren’t constantly studying, learning and evolving, how can you make a knowledgeable choice for your company?
2. When you make Mistakes, learn from them. School teaches you how to: avoid mistakes, reverse errors, & punish those who make them. But, ironically, real successful business are made by those who have a lot of failures. [“Fail fast, fail often, fall forward” (by learning from your failures) Wiz4biz]. “The most relevant example I can give of a failure is, what my colleagues & I did just after raising our 1.5M Euros in France” said Julian. “Like many startups, we had a great deal of money and – therefore – felt invincible and empowered by what we had accomplished. We were so over-confident, that we decided to spend a fair amount of our money in user acquisitions without measuring the ROI [Return on Investment]. This was a complete failure. Afterwards, every one of our Investors told us, ‘We knew it was a mistake for you to do this, but didn’t want to say no to your idea because – in the future – you would have been convinced that these actions were the best solution, and all of your future failures would have been because this hadn’t been done.’ A tuff lesson to learn, but it’s better to learn it early on.
3. Stop believing in Perfection, it doesn’t exist. Believe in constant improvement. Perfection is a unrealistic theory, an illusion that is hard to break in a human mind. An idea on paper is perfect, but when it’s built, with code, design & proper user experience, it will never be perfect. Stop trying to make it faultless – especially before launching, as you will stay stuck on making it perfect and never be able to successfully launch. [ Instead of “Ready, aim, fire”, try “Ready, fire, refine” (when you get feedback from Customers) Wiz4biz] Your product may always have unresolved concerns, omissions, gaps, confusion or errors, but never let that hold you back. You need to take action rapidly to improve on these issues. Your Team, Users, etc. will be the ones telling you the way to build a better product. Ask for their feedback, then listen to them. Show them the improvement, then ask them if it solves the problem.
4. Hire People who are better, smarter, & faster than you. (+ can do what you don’t want to or are not good at) If you hire people who aren’t better, you will end up doing their work for them – to get it up to your standard. If they’re not smart, you’ll waste a lot of time training them. If they’re not faster, you’ll be waiting for them and often windows of opportunity wont be open long enough for you to take advantage of it. In this world of fast pace, those that don’t keep up are left behind. I reality, the CEO & Founders of a start-up, should be less qualified and less effective than every other person in the company. Forget your ego–this isn’t a contest. Don’t believe that people who are smarter than you, won’t respect you or support your decisions. On the opposite side, employees know that if you are in your position within your startup, you’ve worked hard to get there. Hard work & the desire to better yourself in the workplace is the easiest way to gain respect of your Team in your Startup.
5. Work/Life Balance is key to a happy life. Your personal life is your best friend and your worst enemy. I have lost friends, girlfriends, and old colleagues throughout the course of a single year. I haven’t yet learned how to balance my life. It actually affects my business life as well–it fills me with regret some days. After a long slump in your business, you’re going to burn out and feel it’s not worth continuing. You need to find the proper balance between your business & personal life. If one aspect is more prominent in your life than the other, neither will work to their full potential and your happiness & satisfaction.
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