Successful entrepreneurs are a rare breed, driven by ideas and goals, relentless in pursuit of success. Most don’t find success right out of the gate. They have ups and downs, false starts, failures and pivots. The journey to the top can fill you with frustration and even fear.Those who embrace the unexpected and learn who to depend on and when to pivot stand the best chance of achieving success. Dr. James Nitit Mah, CEO of IntelLegend Corp, and author of NeuroPreneur, shared four lessons from his own success journey.
Seek innovation wherever you can.
Traditional business models no longer work. Entrepreneurs need new methodology to succeed. Dr. James found success by bringing wellness products to a brand new market, his home country. Bridging the gap requires being unafraid of disruption and the willingness to embrace unfamiliar things.
The global strategy deemed quite lucrative over the course of two years and the message was simple — modern entrepreneurship does not have any geographic constraints.
Truly learn what customers want.
When the India government began lifting regulations on the wellness industry, enterprising companies found a huge market interested in the wellness products already so familiar to Americans.
Wellness product companies quickly moved in to fill the gap, and customers clamored for new products.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, all humans want and require the same things — physiological functions, security, belonging, self-actualization, and self-esteem. Every customer, no matter who they are, need the above five things.
Entrepreneurs who tap into one of these five basic needs to provide solutions to common problems win. Wellness products answer the needs of self-actualization and self-esteem, and consumers all over the world respond.
Successful entrepreneurship today often means understanding the global market and fundamental consumer needs.
Never underestimate the power of networking.
Nearly every business advice article will tell you how important it is to network. Professionals and thought leaders constantly emphasize that the best way to find a new job or make meaningful connections is to hand out your business card as much as possible.
While this technique might not work for everyone, it certainly worked for Dr. James. He collaborated with PayPal Asia in their Singapore headquarters thanks to a referral from his network.
Don’t dismiss the power of weak ties in the world of networking. With the right timing, that one message or introduction could change your life. Utilize both physical and virtual networks. It’s now easier than ever to connect with new people thanks to websites such as LinkedIn.
Remember that networks might not benefit you instantly, but that you gain more trust the longer you engage. Once you gain trust, opportunities will appear.
Strategically holding on can be good — sometimes.
Intelligent entrepreneurs know how to use their skillsets and knowledge in unique ways. Their cross-functional abilities help them succeed in many areas of life and business. Something you learn today can still have major impacts decades later.
Early in his career, Dr. James arrived a point where he had to pivot. Rather than give up the entire line of products, he kept the manufacturing specs and later sold them to several other factories.
“When I first started working, I would assemble laptops and sell them to customers,” he said. “Now, all I did was sell them the blueprints. It’s like sending someone an Intel chip and letting them build their own computer with your instructions.”
If you see even a glimmer of long-term merit in projects that never really got off the ground, keep them around a bit — it’s worth storing.
When preparing your exit plan, you must first ensure that the processes are in place so that all stakeholders benefit after you leave. Build up successors who will grow the company before handing it off. Alternatively, you can opt for public ownership via IPO or ICO (if relevant).
Successful entrepreneurs have much to share about building success, and it’s often the little lessons along the way that provide the most useful information for moving upward.