I’ve spent more than a decade being in corporate but did dabble in a few businesses in between and over the years. None so significant that I went full on towards being a entrepreneur, doing what I a really good at. Presently, I sussessfully manage Mother Teresa Crematory and Columbarium in the Philippines with expansion projects in various parts of the country.
1. The most valuable asset is time.
Once time passes it’s lost forever. Personally, time or the lack of it is the greatest resource that an entrepreneur or businessman has in his arsenal. Prioritization is the key! In the years being in corporate, I have seen many of my colleagues and staff who confuse activity with progress. They mix up the less important parts with the important ones that clearly need the utmost attention. Many, too have simply over analyzed situations only to miss the important thing, which is action. As my father in law one the Dean of Ateneo Graduate School called it “analysis paralysis”.
Nothing gets done with over thinking. My former boss Ernesto Santiago of St. Peter Life Plans constantly would remind us to start ahead which is always the hardest thing to do then have enough room for adjustments.
2. Stay curious.
I’m not quite sure how curiosity can be learned but what I do know, curiousity is the framework for innovation. At this day and age where we work at a frantic pace, today’s news is tomorrow’s history, a curious mind builds the best and brightest products/services we know and use as exemplified by the great Steve Jobs. Moreover, being a one trick pony is so old school equated to bell bottoms that can never be worn ever. As a rule, listen to trends – take small data by heart. Another is to embrace novelty and create you make opportunities for yourself. Novelties, are precursors to trends, once it clicks it gets sticky then you have yourself a market to play with.
Years back, I would often remind my managers to expose themselves to the world and not be confined to what they are used to. Curiosity takes a certain amount sacrifice as well being exposed to the unknown and using that to ones advantage. Conversely, if you always have your blinders on, your perspective becomes too narrow and you miss out on promising opportunities.
A decade ago I was so immersed in advertising that anything with numbers let alone the death care industry was too out there for me. However, curiousity enticed me to learn and master all about the memorial business and preneed/ insurance game from which I created the most powerful brands in the industry to date. In the same manner, the idea of bringing in traffic and general content to Yahoo! Philippines opened the floodgates to content and information supply in the Philippines.
Take the time to learn about new ideas or even entirely new businesses. By staying open and curious. Remember, if ever curiosity killed the cat, the cat had nine lives to spare.
3. Master your thoughts and emotions.
The most challenging in my career and perhaps my personal life was or I’d about controlling my emotions. By nature I wear my emotions on my sleeve like a billboard telling everyone, this is me. However, it was also my waterloo and cause of my disasters and troubles.
We often hear that failures, setbacks, and defeats make us better. Although painful, we have developed self-awareness to grow and learn forcing us to spend time on mastering our own thoughts and emotions.
I’d often like to think and emulate the character of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone when addressing the heads of the five families. You can see his coolness under stress quite the opposite of his brother Sonny who got the worst end of the stick after a knee jerk reaction from a call from Connie. Being emtional is then being predictable. As Don Vito said to the young Santino “What’s the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft with all that comedy you are playing with that young girl. Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking again”.
It takes a lot of discipline to be a calm and collected operator. Becoming the one who takes decisive action while others get emotional at the push of a button—gives you the unfair advantage.
4. Intuition and vision.
It’s one of those things that’s difficult to define and place into context. Intuition or gut feel is unmistakably esoteric that comes from a higher plane. Intuition comes often than most would think off, Malcolm Gladwell easily pointed out in his book Blink that is the first reaction, the first instinct that we should listen to. The problem lies in between and when rational thought enters our sensibilities. Since we do have a combination of both rational and irrational behaviors, training our heart and mind makes way for the decisive moment of trust. Trusting a vision that takes a successful entrepreneur to making things happen. Economists, accountants and finance folks rely on statistics or historical data forecasting decisions of the future. That is all fine if your desire is to go on cruise control. To be pioneering, creative and a game changer, metrics and scale at times should take a backseat.
5. To be the best, employ the best.
Life and business is about getting to point A to point B in the least amount of time efficiently and effectively. As the top honcho, boss, CEO your job dictates you to be the dreamer, visionary, the person who creates opportunities and makes it happen. Leave the small things to your employees but hire the best ones to do the job.
Top talents are means to end and reward them appropriately whenever’s there’s a reason to celebrate. By creating a championship worthy environment the under current for inspiration and motivation would manifest itself in more ways than one could imagine.
6. Be unpredictable, don’t assume you know everything.
Many have compared business to war, if this is the true then it’s better to unpredictable with your actions. Being level headed and not assuming you know everything opens alot of opportunities to made. Thoughts and comments like “I’ve done that before” “I tried that” have no place in the curious mind if a successful businessman. Much of my success and favor in the business community came from my ability to listen and taking the finer points into problem solving and challenging opportunities that are game changers or first mover endeavours. I truly belive that nowadays people are smarter and more opinionated than before, by using such with a sprinkle of patience can lead to your next big idea.
8. Toast small wins.
The wisdom here is to keep the ball rolling for longer periods of time rather than having dry spells and lulls for periods at a time. To start a company is harder and its even harder to keep it in the black for the first few years. Statistics show that 80% of all start-ups fail during its first two years for a variety of reasons.