“There are a Million Reasons why You and I will learn a Million times faster” – A Multi-Millionaire, Venture Capitalist, owner of several international businesses and my friend.
It was a nice evening. We had just had dinner. And we were sitting by the pool in his beach house. And Steve (name changed), was talking about a future business and his mind was ideating several campaign ideas and how to quickly validate the market. And he spoke about getting started that very week, just he and me.
And I was surprised a bit. He is a Multi-Millionaire. Owns businesses that produce several hundred crores and he wants to get his hands wet?? And do the ads himself? Does he not have access to a TOP class digital marketing team. What about the building in his garden with two floors that can accommodate a dozen new people., can it not hold two more who can implement the stuff for us?
So, I asked him: I work on our campaigns because we are a startup and we are a very lean team. And I am curious to know do you still continue to work on the campaigns yourself for your new business initiatives?
He said: Absolutely, every single one of them. Sure, I may have a team that helps me but I review the copy (the ad content) myself. And I know you do it too for your business. You know why, Antano, because there are a Million Reasons why You and I will learn a Million times faster.
Wow. That is a profound statement. What has learning got to do with Entrepreneurship? Everything!
The way I look at any business is that there are two ways to go about it:
- Do something in an industry and market that already exists, but come with your own innovations and deliver better than anyone has done before
- Do something that hasn’t been thought of or well implemented until now because you are driven to find a solution to a problem that hasn’t been solved well enough until now.
The startup community refers to the first type of business as a lifestyle business. You have a template or a blueprint, you hire the right people, invest and take a loan if necessary and set systems and processes in place and things happen. An example of this is taking up a franchise or opening another restaurant, coffee shop or getting into manufacturing of commodities with a well-defined market. The agriculture and raw industry market, for example, is just waiting for someone to tap into it. Example, several multi-millionaires made in several countries within few years by starting the milk business. Some of these businesses come to the top by simply having better systems, processes, and people to ensure quality, consistency and reduce cost.
Then there is the other kind. Create a market and industry that didn’t exist before. The way GE introduced electricity, the way Xerox introduced photocopying, the way Microsoft introduced a PC in every home, the way Google introduced search to every user (and advertisement) and so on.
This is the kind of business I want to talk about. And I refer to people who create such businesses as the “Disruptive Entrepreneur”. A couple of years ago we moved from the NLP Certification industry to helping people accelerate their success. When a lot of our clients who accelerated their success wanted another level in their life, we came up with the Launch Your Legacy Membership, where we helped them create a unique and profitable business based exclusively on their unique life experiences and last year we hit that junction where these amazing people are ready for the next level. And what is the next level for people who are creating a legacy? The next level would be to multiply their impact. I believe, that a disruptive entrepreneur who focuses on positively impacting more number of people will naturally succeed in creating a disruptive business. The idea is not to disrupt anything but to solve a problem that has not been solved adequately and making it affordable. A disruptive entrepreneur knows that to be a billionaire you need to impact the lives of billion people.
So, what are some things that a Disruptive Entrepreneur does that a traditional business doesn’t have to:
1. Invest to Learn the Industry:
Traditional businesses have business secrets. You can learn them and you will avoid making expensive mistakes. For example, if you are starting a diamond business there is some wisdom that is unique to that industry, it doesn’t help even if you have been the CEO of a Multi-Billion Dollar business in another industry, you have to learn the Diamond industry and it may take a few years. But, the good news is that you don’t have to discover all of it yourself, you can find people and mentors who already know how to do this business. But, if you are solving an existing problem in a unique way, no one has done it before. You have to learn your industries unique secrets yourself. One of the things that Harini and I invested our time, money and resources is on product completion. Product completion is the exploration of what you need to remove from your product/service and add instead for your product/service to go viral. The idea is to continuously discover the needs of your industry. This is why most of our business comes from referrals. And we don’t have referral incentives as a policy. Because we want to ensure people refer for the right reasons and the reason is delight and value. This is why we have 12 people from the same family community to a premium, high-value product. And there are several families like that. But it took as several crores and a lot of hard work to understand our industry. We said no to a lot of high profile opportunities because we wanted to rather invest that time in studying our industry. Sometimes, investment also includes the opportunities you don’t take up because you are committed to learning and discovering your industry.
2. Data Driven
We advertise a lot. But we advertise not only to get additional customers. We advertise to accelerate our learning. We would at the drop of a hat trade several lakhs in advertisements if that can save us a couple of years or even months in our learning process. Why? Because we value our age. We have a limited world life age. And we want to impact as many people as we can. And if advertisements can accelerate our learning, then why waste a few month? However, here is the catch, not everyone can learn from advertisement. Most people think of advertising as marketing department to bring in more money. Not at all, advertising is the domain of the data-driven disruptive entrepreneur. If you can track market behavior. What drives people to take action (buy) and the psychological chain of events that they went through, then you understand so much more about your customers and it empowers you to add value. Often, what people think they want and want they actually want in their hearts are two different things. You want to understand what is driving the person from their heart to take action. And being data-driven will allow you to turn advertisement, product delivery, customer feedback and everything into an unparalleled advantage to learn the psychology of your customers in ways your customers themselves don’t know about themselves and in ways that are not possible otherwise. There is a reason why the Silicon Valley invest several billion in startups but only if they have tech co-founder. There is a reason why most of the disruptive businesses that are valued over 100 Million Dollars in the last 10 years are built and founded by Engineers. Data-driven is not about maintaining excel sheets or watching likes and shares on social media, it’s a mindset and more importantly an intuition about what data to track and how to interpret the data accurately even if it shakes what you thought you knew. This kind of thinking can takes years to develop as it involves moving from a mechanical linear approach to cybernetical systems thinking. And it is not enough if you are a data-driven to succeed as a disruptive entrepreneur who impacts millions of people, you would need to create a data-driven culture.
3. Focus on The Beginning and the End Together
Traditional businesses can afford to go one step at a time because they have a blueprint of what has worked in the past. Disruptive businesses have to be very strategic from the beginning. And you can’t be strategic thinking one step at a time. To be strategic you have to understand the consequence of your actions now on the end result that you are going after. If you want to impact a million people, but if you build a business for 10 years in a way that is not scalable, no amount of investment, time and profits will help you scale 100x. You would have to scarp the old model and start fresh again. Scalability is not what you think about at the end of the journey, it must be the basis on which you decide if you must continue what you are doing. Most of the big names in the startup world that went from zero to billions within 10 years, scrapped their business models early on even when making profits, in order to pursue a model, that is truly scalable. If you get stuck in a profitable but non-scalable business, then you will most like end up being the operator of that business, instead of becoming a disruptive entrepreneur. This is why money, advertisement, and connections work as accelerators. It gives you the freedom to try, reject and restart. You can predict early what can scale and what won’t within weeks and months instead of years and decades. But you won’t learn that unless you are looking at the final scene, at the end picture at the final final final goal. This is why disruptive entrepreneurs give a portion of their company to investors, accelerators and business partners. They have the big picture in mind. And they know they need the freedom to try several things before they hit the model that can impact people in the right way and yet scale to the size they envision. About seven years ago, Ravi, the chief investor from the Singapore based venture capitalist firm and I were having dinner along with the owner of Hilton hotel in Chennai. And Ravi said, making a million dollar is easy. But making your first million in a scalable model is the struggle because when you do, it can become 100 million within a few years. And if you are not looking at the 100 Million dollars or 1 Million People or whatever it is that is your final outcome, you can easily be distracted by high profit but non-scalable opportunities. There is nothing wrong in accepting those opportunities. But if your vision is to impact a larger people, then you got to discern between what opportunities are bringing you closer to your final outcome and what opportunities are taking you away.
I hope this helps you and your business. Do share and impact the people in your life.
Business Intelligence Installations to help you evolve as a disruptive entrepreneur is available to the A&H Fast Track Members who have successfully launched your own business. You can read and apply here. (It’s like Deja-vu, we said something similar two years ago: A&H Fast Track membership to Launch Your Legacy is available to uP! Participants who have accelerated your success :) )