IBU is back! Welcome to IB University, our free programme to help you build the skills you need to run your own business.
We’re continuing with a blog series by our founder Gerald Vanderpuye, sharing five things he wishes he knew before he set up his first company. This is number two, and we’ll post the rest over the coming weeks. So make sure you keep an eye out!
Catch up on number one here.
FIVE THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY BUSINESS
2. YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF BEING “LUCKY” BY DOING THESE THINGS…
A year ago, I was talking to a group of people about how my first startup “failed.” At the end of the talk, a stranger approached me and offered me a lucrative consultancy opportunity that generated tens of thousands of pounds.
Later that evening, I was telling a partner that this had happened, and she said to me – you are always lucky like that. I paused for a minute and realised that it was not the first time I’d heard this. My family and friends would tell me all the time that I was lucky. But they were only half right – it’s part luck, part engineering. Your behaviour can be optimised for chance, and many of us do this without realising it.
Take this for example. I always sit next to the most interesting person on the train, tube, bus, or plane. I once saw a woman reading one of my favourite books, the Tao Te Ching. I sat next to her, we struck up a conversation, and she later helped me make some really useful connections to help build my startup.
There are four things I wish I’d done to increase my chances of getting lucky when I first started my entrepreneurial journey. Here they are:
1. More public speaking, talking about my idea and the problem it was fixing.
Always accept an opportunity to speak or teach if it’s in front of the right audience. And make sure that you don’t only talk about your idea, you also talk about the idea it’s fixing. That way people can see straight away why your idea is needed, and you’re more likely to attract more potential investors, customers, and partners who also care about the problem.
2. More writing about my journey.
These days, I write a daily blog, ship a weekly newsletter, and share highlights and lowlights on social media. People always think about what is in front of them, so by sharing your progress, challenges, and learnings, many subconsciously think about how to help you. Even if it’s just a WhatsApp broadcast you send monthly to a select few, it will pay off in a way you can’t predict.
You don’t even have to ask for help – if you talk about your challenges, people will point you in the direction of luck.
3. Moving – luck happens when you place yourself in the right place.
LinkedIn bought our competitor even though they were already using our far superior product. I later learned that our competitor had a deep network of investors in San Francisco who had a connection with the LinkedIn board.
I knew I should have moved my life to San Francisco, where most of our customers were based. I never dared and potentially lost out because of that decision. You are more likely to get lucky by being where the right people for your business are. Even if you can’t move countries, join an incubator, an accelerator, or even working in a community co-working space will increase your chances of getting lucky.
4. Helping other people (for free) on their journey.
I coach as many early-stage startup founders as possible. A lady I coached for years asked me five years later to run a coworking space with her because of the time I had spent helping her with her startup. That’s how I came to found Impact Brixton CIC. Never hesitate to help someone on their journey. It tends to come back multiplied.
DISCOVER MORE TOP BUSINESS TIPS ON OUR IBU BLOG
To read more of Gerald’s writing, head to his blog, Virtue Collectors Club.
We’d love to hear your suggestions for blog posts. What do you need to know to get your business off the ground? Whether it’s cash flow, social media strategy or something else entirely, email us and let us know!
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