A Startup Isn’t Mini-Google

startupI’ll tell you an embarrassing truth:

When I started out in business, it never occurred to me that I was a startup. It never clicked in my mind. Never!

I’m not sure what I was thinking, but the word, ‘startup’ was instinctively unappealing to me. I didn’t want to identify with what I thought was a base level of business engagement.

Several years later, due to growth and experience, I discovered the folly of my thinking. I was a startup and had to acknowledge that reality in order to function right.

But, where did the ‘anti-startup’ thinking come from?

I found out.

You see, in those early days, I read a lot (still do). My thirst for knowledge was intense (still is) and I read everything I could find about famous entrepreneurs and the awesome businesses that they were building.

I was particularly fascinated by companies like Google, Apple and billionaire investors like Warren Buffet. My love for Buffet was over-the-top (still is). His biography, The Making of an American Capitalist, was my bible. I felt I was the son he didn’t know that he had. It was crazy.

Based on this exposure, it was difficult to admit that I was a startup. In my mind, I was mini-Buffet and my company was mini- Google. Period!

~WHERE YOU ARE

At every stage, knowing where you REALLY are is one of the most powerful and freeing states to be in. Being fully conscious of your position is always a great place to start.

Not where you THINK you are, but where you REALLY are.

If I may ask: where are you – REALLY?

I know you’re struggling to maintain an image that folks can respect, but at what cost? Are you being crushed by the weight of something for which you lack capacity? Where are you?

For many startups, this question is the key to the next level of growth. You are not Google (yet). Figure out your current capacity and plot your growth from there.

~GROW: STEP BY STEP

Some visionaries see the need to be inaccurately positive. It’s the tendency to see the good in everything while poorly articulating the glaring challenges. The results are hyped while the fault lines get a whisper and are swept under. That’s how I know there’s trouble.

Usually, this attitude blurs reality (the tough part of birthing ideas). However, wise entrepreneurs know how to use the stones of reality as building blocks – one step at a time.

Reality doesn’t have to bite. Patiently wading through your dream is much better than exaggerating outcomes that do not exist. Let the growth process strengthen your entrepreneurial instincts. Mature well.

The time spent in faking it is the same time that you can spend making it – by process. Proudly start from where you are.

Advertisements

You Know Enough, Teach Another!

49HOne challenge that I face as a leadership expert in Africa is that I’m young. In most African cultures, leadership is ascribed to the elderly. Sometimes it’s hard for folks to grasp the idea that leadership can be found anywhere, age irrespective. Still, I thrive!

And this is why.

I understand that growth attained by one is vital to another. In other words, what you’ve gained mastery in automatically qualifies you to teach another and help them attain your level of mastery.

All you have to do to lead is teach someone what you already know in order to lift them up. You know something that another doesn’t and once you teach them, leadership has occurred. Now, that person is empowered to advance beyond the limits that once held them back due to ignorance.

It’s easy!

You’re 25 and skilled at writing, teach an unskilled individual who wants to learn; you’re 15 and have mastered the art of singing, help another; you’re 35 and good at basketball, train a rising star; you’re 65 with plenty of experience, never stop learning.

The more you teach, the more you lead.

The War Within: Professional Development Vs Personal Growth

OnecoinEveryone has two faces. They are: the personal and professional face; who you are and what you do. Usually, they’re nonidentical and creating sameness requires hard work.

The pressures of work life often force the individual to focus on professional development and success at the expense of personal growth. You’ll find someone who’s a great investment banker, but has a nasty personality or an amazing surgeon, but untrustworthy. Folks feel the need to increase professional capacity alone because their survival depends on it.

Sadly, it’s costly to ignore any aspect of you. The uncouth professional eventually makes his life difficult because people want to be treated with respect while the incompetent but polite worker is unhealthy to the firm’s bottom-line. Balance is essential.

Honestly, attaining balance is not the easiest task. This is why people lose interest because the demand on their time leaves little or no room for both sides. They find themselves having to choose.

It’s tough, but it can be done. First, acknowledge the need; see why it matters. Then, search for systems that can help you – a book, coaching program, a class or group, etc. Now, take it slow. It’s a journey!

The Rise Of Social Misfits

SFMOMA is ClosingSecurity, peace, stability, “don’t-rock-the-boat”, certainty, a good job – it all sounds like 1975 or years back when folks were advised to go to college, get a great job and raise a wonderful family. What makes you think it’s different now?

Anyone who went against the established standard was declared a social misfit. You had to have lost your mind.

I recall discussing my ‘big dreams’ (in my teens) with an uncle who promptly warned against my leaning. He was afraid to witness the emergence of another heretic. “Fulfillment is only a passing emotion. Don’t buy into that thinking”, were his words. It was too late.

With heightened uncertainty, people still frantically look for the safety net. At a point, the ‘adventure-juice’ is sucked out of them by real life, bills and their daily job demands. In the process, the dreamer dies.

Social misfits now face the same challenges that their counterparts endured in 1975.

~THE SAFETY MYTH

The 2008 global financial crisis proved to the world that when the going gets rough, it’s possible that – not even an Ivy League education can save you. Fault lines in the comfort zone were evident. Security never felt so unsafe. It was a mess!

These days, safe feels more like scary. As a result, depression is now a normal state for many people. Some mental health professionals believe that a good number of folks have no idea that they’re depressed…it’s that normal. Simply making it through the day seems to be the preferred success story.

If safety means daily living in fear, count me out! If it means waking up every morning to go to a job that I hate, I’m not interested. I know the bills have to be paid, but there’s got to be a better way.

~THE NEW SAFE

What does the future hold for you? What do you see? Does it make you nervous? Where do you find certainty?

These are troubling questions.

More so because global changes are happening at a mind-boggling speed and the face of safe is constantly altered.

So what’s the way forward?

Difference!

That’s the new safe.

In order to deal with the crazy state of things, playing it safe has been proven ineffective. This is the time to not fit in. Become a social misfit.

The pressure of modern times is pushing humanity to the place where people have to dig deeper within to find real solutions to the challenges that they face.

This is the wrong time to be like everyone else because challenges appear with amazing complexities; we have to dig deep and this is close to impossible when we’re busy living factory-fitted lives.

Fitting in sucks! I tried it – didn’t work for me. In the process of trying to squeeze into a mould, we ignore our uniqueness (our greatest wealth). We buy into the lies that, who we really are, cannot thrive in this world. We die within…now, that sucks more!

25 Signs of the #POORLYRICH

PoorlyRichIn society, what’s obvious are the POOR and the RICH. But there’s another group: the #POORLYRICH. This group is generally ignored. Here’s a brief profile of this crowd:

  1. They have money but have been traumatized or psychologically damaged by poverty.
  1. To this group, their money or possessions – form the core their identity. They’re rich with a deep sense of inferiority complex. Without money they lack effective presence.
  1. They’re not careful to properly heal from the traumatic experiences of the past due to poverty. Eventually, some become oppressors due to past wounds.
  1. They have the ‘messiah complex’ and only lead followers. They’re not secure enough to lead leaders or smarter folks. They’ve got to be the smartest in the group. Great talent can’t thrive in their environment.
  1. They have a vague or no understanding of honor. They display uncouth behavior, believe that having money is grounds for rudeness and are unable to appropriate respect.
  1. They’re always winging it; wealth creation is a gamble. They lack the discipline required to create healthy sustainable systems. ‘As long as we’re making some cash, all is well’ – they think.
  1. They think using people is the same as building relationships.
  1. They ensure you’re ‘baptized’ by their influential network list every time you meet; name-dropping is essential.
  1. They would rather watch the world burn than to admit they don’t know. Extensive enquiry makes them sleepy; they hate questions.
  1. They’re always running from poverty, even with a huge bank balance. They’re never settled or relaxed in their wealth.
  1. They’re rich folks who frustrate great talent due to their trust issues and inability to delegate effectively.
  1. They’re oblivious of their capacity for delivery. They confuse talking big for effective delivery. These guys talk BIG, but deliver SMALL.
  1. They fail to realize that wealth is the THINKING or SYSTEMS, not the cash.
  1. They value money over relationships. Consequently destroying valuable relationships for short term gain. They forget that relationship is currency.
  1. They honestly believe that people are unable to see through the ‘money-noise’ into their emptiness.
  1. The appearance of wealth is more important to them than solid wealth systems.
  1. In their minds, big spending, being loud and noisy equals power and authority. They’re convinced that noise is substance; classic display of poverty.
  1. They help you at the expense of your dignity. Make no mistake, their help is a debt that you must repay
  1. Their self esteem is powered by the inferiority of others. They need you to feel and act inferior in order for them to function properly.
  1. They’re quick to play down your value or out rightly devalue you in order to control you and get your best at no price. Manipulation is natural.
  1. They view being rich as a revenge mission. The world must pay for their past sufferings.
  1. They believe that having expensive taste is the same as being classy. They forget that CLASSY is about HONOR, not pricy possessions.
  1. They believe that money is a defense and almost never see that wisdom is a better strategy.
  1. They focus on DOING and HAVING – and have little or no regard for BEING.
  1. They TALK about change with no plans of changing. They’re heavy on the change rhetoric with no growth plan.

The Business of Wealth

BusinessOfWealthPoverty and wealth share one trait: thinking.

Each path is governed by thought patterns that create systems which in turn guarantee specific results.

For instance, the thought or belief that you’re inadequate or never enough could make you constantly settle for less than you deserve. As a result, average becomes your default position. This root thought keeps your aspirations low and you naturally seek out mundane opportunities. It’s clockwork; never fails!

This is why poverty focuses on money while wealth is system focused.

The wealthy understand that a system is more powerful than a sale. Have you ever wondered why wealthy organizations have a well-thought out sales process? One good reason: the process is the wealth, not the cash exchange. The process guarantees the exchange.

~WHAT WEALTH VALUES

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are a few values of a wealthy system:

  • TIME

Any encounter with a wealthy system would reveal its respect for time. A system is designed such that one thing automatically leads to another in a time frame. It’s called the domino effect. The best systems are structured to properly manage time. Remember, time is money.

  • GROWTH

True wealth is firmly rooted in growth – personal and professional. Wealthy systems invest in the growth of its people. The prosperity of the enterprise depends on it. On the other hand, poverty and growth opportunities do not mix.

  • RELATIONSHIPS

An up-close encounter with some globally influential, wealthy folks and you would be shocked at how gracious and respectful they are.

Wealth is skilled at honor. This is not about crafted PR stunts in the bid to maintain a solid public image or avoid lawsuits. Without implying perfection, true wealth is respectful – deeply respectful – of human interaction.

  • EXCELLENT DELIVERY

A wealthy system thinks of how to deliver the best in the best possible way because people deserve the best. Beyond rhetoric, this thinking focuses on building the capacity for great delivery –consistently. Attention to HOW a promise is delivered is one major difference between poverty and wealth.

~ARE YOU WEALTHY?

I’m not talking about money in the bank. Anyone can make cash – but, how do you think? I’ve met rich folks who are not wealthy. In my opinion, the truly wealthy are few.

Wealth is an inward reality – the thinking, system and essence. A wealthy individual can be stripped of all riches – and be cool, because they can easily get it back. It’s essence, not cash.

What’s the quality of your thinking? What’s the quality of your results? Do you enjoy the products of your system? Will your current thought pattern get you what you really want?

The think and get it message is now cliché. However, there’s the aspect of skillful thinking that’s uncommon; this angle to thoughts is how wealthy systems get ahead. In being a skillful thinker, quality of thought is paramount.

Wealth isn’t rocket science.

Dear Entrepreneur, I’m Your Partner!

ImYourPartnerThe second law of ideas states that: no idea can be successfully accomplished alone. There’s always someone involved – directly or indirectly.

In the 21st century, it is risky for the entrepreneur to walk alone. There’s need for strategic partnerships on multiple levels. Our connected world proves that partnership is leverage.

On that note, I’m committed to be your partner on your entrepreneurial journey. I’ve decided to help anyone who’s determined to birth an idea that would be beneficial to others.

My partnership with you will offer five distinct benefits:

~FRESH PERSPECTIVE

In my experience, one major reason for entrepreneur failure is a narrow scope. That is: having a shrunken world view that makes it difficult to constructively interpret the happenings in the entrepreneur’s environment. This in turn works against desired progress.

That’s about to change because…

Our partnership would ensure fresh perspective on entrepreneurship. On this blog, you’ll be given the tools that you need to better understand the details of birthing ideas. I’ll be pulling from multiple sources (including guest posts) to help you view your idea with fresh eyes.

~COACHING

This year, I’ve decided to convert theyouideology.com into a free coaching platform for entrepreneurs. Through the posts, I’ll be challenging your thinking, poking around your ideas, making you uncomfortable with normal and asking you tough questions.

If you want to stay in your comfort zone or be mediocre, this blog is not for you because like any effective coach, I’ll be insisting on your success. The materials that you’ll find here will stretch you.

~RESOURCES

You’re in luck. I’m a writer. And fortunately, I have created content in various formats on entrepreneurship that I’ll be releasing this year. Really good stuff, I must confess; content that will uplift your essence.

I have prepared EBooks that would be available for free download. Also, I will frequently point you to other websites, blogs, books and materials that would help your journey.

~ENCOURAGEMENT

If you’ve been an entrepreneur for any number of years, then chances are you’ve experienced the ‘deep end’. The crazy aspect of doing business that threatens to drive you insane or actually does. Birthing an idea can be tough and times can get rough. That’s why encouragement is vital.

As entrepreneurs, we need a mechanism that helps sustain our courage or else we’ll easily lose steam. For you, this blog is that mechanism. I’ve been through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and I know how it feels.

So, expect plenty of encouragement from this platform for the times you get kicked in the butt and also for the good times.

~COMMUNITY

Theyouideology.com is a platform for entrepreneurs to meet, share ideas, connect, share ‘war stories’, learn, and help each other to grow. Here you’ll find the thoughts and tools that will support a healthy exchange. That’s my commitment.

It’ll be fun.

Are you in?