Entrepreneurship is a dream many of us share, and rightfully so: the idea of changing the world while simultaneously living the “good life” is something most of us find appealing. That being said, entrepreneurship is not easy, and every entrepreneur will have hurdles they must pass to succeed. As we move from point A to point B, we learn valuable lessons that can be passed on to upcoming entrepreneurs. We spoke to the highly regarded Dev Tandon about his advice for upcoming entrepreneurs, and he gave us many insights into what he has learned in his 15 years of business experience.
Many of the lessons we learned from Tandon have to do with our mindset towards business, as our mindset defines whether or not we will succeed. Tandon wants all new entrepreneurs to accept failure, and understand that it is a crucial part of entrepreneurship. Everyone fails, but your ability to learn from your mistakes and pick yourself back up after failure is what will define you as an entrepreneur. In addition, Tandon wants you to know that your situation is never quite as bad as you think; it's easy to get overwhelmed when a couple of plans go awry, but keeping a cool head in stressful situations is one of the best traits you can have when running a business. Things will go wrong and you will want to give up, but putting your problems into perspective will help to ease any uncertainty you may have when difficulties arise.
As much as mindset matters in business, so does luck – and that's Tandon's next piece of advice for young entrepreneurs. No matter how hard you work, and no matter how great your idea may be, luck will play a role in how quickly your business grows. For example, one of your competitors may skyrocket in value because they were featured in the Wall Street Journal. Understand that this happens, no matter how great your company may be. Alternatively, this kind of luck can happen to you as well, but don't rely on it. Instead, focus on doing things right day in and day out, and good luck will find you. In fact, having a positive outlook is Tandon's next tip for new entrepreneurs. Maintaining positivity throughout your journey as an entrepreneur is one of the most important factors of success. When you think and behave positively, you are more likely to overcome hurdles as you work your way towards success. When the going gets rough, having a positive attitude can be enough to set you apart from the crowd, giving you an advantage in the long-run.
Running a business is not a one person job, and you'll need to work with others if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. Whether it be investors, suppliers, customers, or employees, you'll need to network like crazy in order to achieve growth. Networking connects you with other successful individuals in your field, allowing you to surround yourself with people who only want to see you succeed. In addition, you'll make valuable business connections that may be of use now or later on in the future. Each and every time you meet a new individual, be respectful and put your best foot forward. You'll want your new connections to respect you, and you can achieve this by showing them respect from the moment you shake their hand. Be responsive in conversation, and add valuable commentary that shows your knowledge of the subject. Conversely, you'll want to show respect to those you do not wish to work with as well, as to minimize any bad relations or bad publicity. Although you may not want to work with someone for a number of reasons, be sure to let them down kindly, and make them feel respected. This not only helps you in the long-run, but it saves someone else the frustration of dealing with disrespect.
While we're on the topic of respect, let's discuss Tandon's advice with regard to – well, advice. Throughout your journey as an entrepreneur, you'll need to seek advice from others more experienced than yourself. This advice is crucial, as it gives you a third-party perspective as to the direction of your company. Seek out mentors that you can trust, and ask them for honest, brutal feedback about your business. Understand that negative feedback is not usually meant with disrespect to you or your company, but is designed to help you. Ask for brutal advice, and accept it when it's given. You may not like what you hear, but you should take the opportunity to make improvements as needed. That being said, you'll only want to listen to advice from those you trust, not from those that will coddle you or give your company unfair judgement. You'll need to trust your instincts when seeking advice, which is another key tip from Tandon. In fact, you'll want to trust your instincts in every area of business, as they'll tell you more about the validity of your ideas than research will (in many cases). Your instincts exist for a reason, and it's of great importance that you listen to them from time to time.
Finally, Tandon wants young entrepreneurs to know that creating something new is always better than improving on an already existing idea. While the latter may work in some occasions, it often means fierce competition. However, pursuing an idea that's never been done before puts you in a league of your own, giving your room to establish yourself without the need to compete. Competition can be great, but making a name for yourself is far easier in a field that didn't exist prior to the start of your company. However, you'll want to do market research prior to pursuing your wild and wacky idea, as not all new ideas are as marketable as they may seem.
What's your advice for new entrepreneurs? What life lessons have you learned since starting your business? Tell us about a time you listened to your instincts, and in the end you were grateful you did.