I started my first business when I was 23 years old, nearly forty years ago. That first company didn’t fail with a bang; it went out with a whimper, but it hurt all the same.
I swore that wouldn’t happen again, so I decided to go back to school and learn how to do it the right way.
Somehow, a miracle happened, and they let me into the #1 MBA program at that time, the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. It was a wonderful experience. I learned so much, and I made lifelong friends whom I cherish to this day.
That experience helped me in so many ways, but it wasn’t a magic bullet. After I graduated, I started another business. That one worked well, but the next one didn’t. All in all, I experienced three major setbacks in my entrepreneurial career, but I never lost hope.
I read, and read, and read, dozens, perhaps hundreds of books. I hired coaches, made cold calls until I was blue in the face, joined boards of directors, raised millions of dollars in venture capital, hired people who were smarter than me...
And you know what? I began to perceive things I never noticed before. Things made sense at a deeper level. I developed the ability to cut through complexity, to find the heart of a problem, the essence of an opportunity.
Things started looking up for my businesses, and I began to help my friends and classmates with their companies too. One thing led to another, and pretty soon, people were sending actual clients my way.
Fast forward to today... I often wonder if I could tell my younger self 3 things about starting a business, what would they be?