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Monthly Archives: August 2016

About ‘Hard Work’ and Business Succed

We’ve all heard the exhortation, and for the vast majority of our lives: you can do anything, the length of you endeavor to arrive. Diligent work pays off. There are a million quotes about diligent work, and I’d have a tendency to concur with the vast majority of them. Diligent work is essential, and it isolates you from most of the populace who aren’t propelled enough to buckle down for anything.

However, I have to confer some slight obscenity here and say: diligent work isn’t sufficient to make your business succeed. The answer for enhancing your business, or yourself as a business person, isn’t only “diligent work”- – and here are 10 reasons why:

# Hard work will exhaust you. Work too hard, skipping breaks and vacations, and it’s going to catch up with you. You’ll be less productive, you’ll feel like garbage, and you might even become so burnt out you don’t want to be an entrepreneur anymore. Yes, there’s a certain level of honor in fully investing yourself into a project, but if it saps your will to go on and leaves you exhausted, what’s the point? Don’t be afraid to take breaks–it’s actually good for your productivity.

# Entrepreneurship is a team sport. Few businesses grow to be successful based on the efforts of one individual. It takes a team to devise a good strategy and eventually carry it out. Accordingly, you can work as hard as you like, but if you’ve hired the wrong team members, or if they aren’t working the same way you are, it could all be for naught.

# Working hard doesn’t always make your work more valuable. Would you rather work for 10 hours on a project that pays $400, or work for 5 hours on a project that pays $500? Assuming the nature of the work is similar, the answer is obvious. Pouring more hours in doesn’t make those hours more valuable; find ways to improve the value of your work rather than its raw quantity.

# Hard work can’t come up with a good business idea. Can you force yourself to come up with a good idea if you spend enough time thinking about it? If you can, I want to partner with you. For most of us, good ideas come as random, unpredictable strokes of inspiration that we pursue and develop later on. Try to come up with a good business idea right now, through “hard work” alone–it’ll drive you mad.

# Hard work doesn’t equate to productivity. Here’s an idea for you; hard work doesn’t necessitate getting a lot done. For example, riding your bike uphill demands a lot of effort, but doesn’t get you very far. You may exert yourself in any number of ways, but it won’t necessarily get you closer to your goals. Find ways to work “downhill” instead.

# Hard work doesn’t yield creativity. This is similar to my claim that hard work can’t generate good ideas; it can’t problem solve for you, either. “Cultivating creativity is a must for business success, and it can’t be forced or extracted…” says John Rhodes, co-founder of ScreenCraft, and someone I had the pleasure of interviewing a few weeks ago at the Sundance Film Festival.

# Hard work can’t trump experience. Experience leads individuals to make smarter decisions, at an almost intuitive level. Hard work can’t beat that (at least in most cases). Consider the game of Go as a good example–the most experienced players often describe their best moves as “feeling right,” the product of experiential intuition rather than the product of exhaustive logic.

# There’s a limit to the brute force approach. Hard work is a kind of “brute force,” by which you wear away at your tasks, but there’s a hard limit to this approach. There are only so many hours in the day, and so many ways to solve a problem directly. Finding alternative problem solving routes and maximizing those hours is the only way to get the most for your effort.

# Time is money, and it can be wasted. Let’s adopt the analogy that “time is money.” Spending lots of money doesn’t necessarily mean acquiring lots of value; for example, you wouldn’t rate a $100,000 real estate investment as holding the same long-term value as a $100,000 investment in cottage cheese. Like money, time can be wasted, meaning hard work only counts if it’s spent on something that matters.

# Your competitors work hard, too. You’re working hard, but does that automatically make you more competitive? I’d argue no. Most, if not all, of your competitors are already working hard, so if anything, working hard puts you on par with them. You’ll need something else if you want to get ahead.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t work hard, or that hard work isn’t important? Absolutely not. In fact, hard work is imperative if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. All I’m saying here is that it shouldn’t be your only preoccupation, and you need to understand that “hard work” alone isn’t the solution for everything. Find paths of least resistance, work smarter, delegate, cooperate, think outside the box, and don’t forget to take breaks! Hard work pays off, but only when you do it appropriately.

Take Innovation Drive You Love

It’s surrounding graduation season, when the air is thick with sayings. One pearl of alleged intelligence routinely cast out is the guidance: “Pick a vocation you cherish and you’ll never work a day in your life.” By the force of the Internet it’s been connected to Confucius, however the old person was much more astute than that.

Above all else, a great many people – for a wide range of reasons- – don’t have that choice, and they definitely know it. Why rub their face in it? Be that as it may, far more terrible, the announcement suggests there’s something not exactly alluring about working. Actually, if your lone objective is accomplishing something you cherish, odds are you’re just taking the simple way.

If I’d gone that route, I probably would have been a history major in college. I love it, and because I do, it seems easy. Instead I majored in economics partly because the “dismal science” can be damn hard to understand. Decades later, I still want the same kind of challenge. That’s why I look forward to work every day.

It’s a curious fact that our company’s focus from the beginning has been on developing and manufacturing products that improve people’s comfort, yet one of the reasons I think we’ve been able to grow so quickly is that we stay “uncomfortable” by giving ourselves new challenges. We’re always pushing our limits and trying new things in order to understand them. That’s what led us from fans to lights to interconnected smart devices, and has us now working on HVAC systems. It’s how we’ve acquired close to 150 patents, with almost as many pending. Contrary to what some might think, we’ve found that tackling a problem despite not having years of experience in the field can actually be a benefit because we see it with a fresh set of eyes.

Rapid growth–in our case about 30 percent a year over the past six years–means that every part of the business becomes something of an engineering challenge: Will it run, can it scale, how far can we push it before it breaks. Our engineers spend much of their time testing and retesting, then interpreting the results in order to make our products better, not simply meet standards. That’s essentially our approach to everything. Let’s test this plan or structure to see if it works, and if it doesn’t, let’s try something else.

Sometimes it’s not so much a deliberate plan as an inevitable result of rapid growth. Departments expand, responsibilities change, new opportunities arise. Recently we realized that the sales approach that had worked at $30 million was proving less effective as we near $300 million, so we totally restructured our sales and marketing teams. Everything is always up for review in an effort to make it better.

Too many manufacturers stunt their growth because they’re reluctant to try new things. They don’t want to rock the dinghy out of fear of sinking, so instead they moor themselves in a safe little harbor, focus on keeping down expenses and never venture outside to explore. The way I see it, that’s about as exciting as watching water come to a boil. It’s also an easy way to plot a course straight to the bottom.

More Information about Business Ownership Phase

ideasBuilding a business doesn’t occur incidentally. You don’t fabricate a business and after that sit tight for it to develop. You begin with a scarcely practical thought and you support it, controlling it through a few periods of development until it turns out to be verging on unrecognizable. In case you’re fortunate, it will continue developing until you begin creating a significant benefit, and get to be sufficiently steady to consider a way out technique.

In the event that you continue squeezing, you’ll see that there are seven principle “stages” of business possession, each with its own particular difficulties and open doors. Adapting more about these stages can help you get ready for your business’ development and give you key bits of knowledge on which to manufacture your association.

# The idea

The idea stage is a bit more than just coming up with the original idea for your business, though it is that as well. Once you’ve got some solid business idea, the remainder of this phase is spent putting together all the pieces of how, exactly, you can pull this off. That means creating a thorough business plan you can use as the blueprint for your business, working out all the kinks you didn’t think about when you came up with that initial spark, compensating for the competition you anticipate, and figuring out how you’re going to finance everything.

# The launch

This phase marks the “official” start of your business, though you can still consider yourself an entrepreneur in the first phase. At this point, you’ll have all the resources you need to begin operations. You’ll find an office (if you need one), secure equipment (if you need it), and start looking for your first clients and customers. This is a hectic stage, but usually doesn’t carry any financial risks–you’ve secured enough funding to see you through this phase. The big problem lies in facing the first line of problems you didn’t anticipate in your business plan–and they will come up.

# Survival

The next stage is probably the most volatile, because it’s a make-or-break point for your business plan. You’ll start to run out of your initial funding, but it’s still too early to have any manageable flow of revenue. You’re likely changing things in your business daily, so your structure is volatile, and all the while you’re scrambling to pick up enough clients to keep you afloat. Your business will either learn to adapt quickly or burn out in a flash–it’s up to you and your team to decide which. Adaptation is the key to surviving the “survival” stage, and it isn’t easy.

# Floating steady

Though the process will be slow and gradual, eventually you’ll secure enough clients and revenue to pull yourself out of the survival phase. At this point, you’ll be able to float steadily, breaking even or making a profit on a predictable basis, and all your internal processes will start to stabilize. You’ll learn to count on your core team, your products will be consistent, and you’ll start to think that theoretically, your business could sustain itself forever–and if you let it, it just might. Some businesses stop at this phase and self-sustain indefinitely, and there’s nothing wrong with that unless you’re after something more.

# Growth

The growth phase involves acceleration beyond your floating steady setup, and though it can happen naturally through word-of-mouth and high client retention, it’s more likely that you’ll instill this growth through some effort of your own. You can achieve this in a number of ways, usually involving heavy leaning on your sales and marketing teams. The more you promote your business, and the better job you do at retaining your existing customers, the better your chance at scaling your business upward. However, be aware that with growth comes volatility–growing too quickly or too slowly can put too much pressure on your resources.

# Evolution.

Generally speaking, as your business reaches a certain point of growth, it’s going to need to change in some drastic way to continue growing, or even to survive. For example, it may need to split into different companies, or it may need to acquire a new company to help it in some key area. It may need to branch out into different locations, or it may need to adopt a new model for some of its central processes. This evolution will be difficult, as your business has been consistent for some time, but it’s necessary to keep moving forward.

# Exit.

Finally, at some point, you’ll reach the level you wanted to achieve, and it’ll be time for you to move on. That might mean selling the business, passing it to one of your team members or a family member, or simply retiring and letting someone else figure out what to do (though I don’t advise this).


No two businesses are alike, and entrepreneurial journeys range from months to decades. These seven stages represent a general path that most entrepreneurs take, and you may find yourself experiencing some of them, all of them, or most of them but in a different order. Still, these seven stages define the general course of entrepreneurship most business owners take, and can help you prepare for the key moments and evolutionary stages that will help you become successful. Be wary of the pitfalls and opportunities of each stage, and keep pressing forward as you develop the idea that dates back all the way to stage one.