Entrepreneurs on Entrepreneurship: Quick Lessons on the Secrets to Success from Business' Greatest Minds

While there is no universal recipe for making it big in business, there are undoubtedly some timeless pieces of advice that we can learn from.
by Sead Fadilpasic / 2021-10-25

The art of entrepreneurship not only is not just about being good at what you do, and understanding how to provide for other people’s needs; your success will also depend on recognizing what worked best for your predecessors, and building upon it based on your individual situation.

Here, we pick the brain of some of today's brightest businesspeople in order to get to the bottom of two all-important questions: what makes a great entrepreneur? How do you become successful?

1. Where You Are Is Not Who You Are: A Memoir – Ursula Burns

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Now, often the stories of going from rags to riches may sound too saccharine, but businesswoman Ursula Burns wrote a riveting account of the paths she had to cross to become America's first African-American woman to helm a Fortune 500 company as a CEO.

Throughout her book, Burns repeatedly calls readers, entrepreneurs, and others, not to define themselves based on their starting material conditions.

Otherwise, her own journey from the poor neighborhood in New York to corporate offices would never start in the first place. The key thing to remember is not to take every opportunity for granted as these often come disguised as wild ideas.

quotation marksMy mother refused to have her children be defined by poverty. Where you are is not who you are.

- Ursula Burns

This works best when paired with lived experience. Yet, there is no shortcut to gathering it overnight as it has to be collected as life unfolds. This is made easier by putting in a lot of work into at least an outline of a life vision.   

Our summary of Ursula Burns’ business memoir also features her valuable insights into how society can curb rising inequality by nurturing a broad range of talents. To find out more about this powerful, motivating read, as well as fascinating insights into why opportunities will often present themselves in disguise, have a look at our Where You Are Is Not Who You Are summary on Uptime.

2. Guy Kawasaki on Entrepreneurship – Guy Kawasaki

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Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, also a well-known American marketing specialist, author, and businessman, has prepared a cutting-edge course for all of those who are looking to take baby steps in the world of entrepreneurship, as well as for the business veterans seeking new perspectives.

Kawasaki traces three essential stages of mastering the entrepreneurship craft. These revolve around creating a brief but punchy pitch, opting for a working prototype of whatever it is you're proposing, and creating buzz for your idea on social media.

Instead of focusing on a business plan, which the majority will see as a mere list of best wishes, Kawasaki proposes creating a pitch based on his custom 10-20-30 Rule. According to this golden rule, your pitch should have approximately 10 slides, take no more than 20 minutes, and use a size 30 font.

The role of a working prototype as a proof of value cannot be overstated, according to Kawasaki. The prototype should be a tangible representation of your business vision and it should get the majority of your intellectual and material resources.

Once you get past this stage, the final step is perfecting your social media presence in the promotion of your business vision. The role of quality content is essential, as it should not only serve as a promotional tool for your business but rather provide the users with true value in the form of actionable insights.

Our summary of Kawasaki’s course, a how-to guide for successful entrepreneurship, also features his thoughts on the essential role of feedback in perfecting one’s initial business vision.

quotation marksThe way it works is two guys in a garage, two girls in a garage, one guy and one girl in a garage... They build a product that they want. And knock on wood, they're not the only two people in the world that want it.

        Guy Kawasaki, author and venture capitalist

Guy Kawasaki's course is a fantastically quick how-to guide on how to start a new business venture. To discover its lessons in detail, and how you can start incorporating the venture capitalist's advice into your own daily routine, have a look at our Guy Kawasaki on Entrepreneurship guide on Uptime.

3. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers - Tim Ferriss

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Tools of Titans is a book of wisdom by Tim Ferriss, a famous American entrepreneur, investor, and author, best known for his widely popular podcast The Tim Ferriss Show.

His book provides advice on how a person set on becoming a self-made man or woman can create a winner’s mindset for achieving this goal.  

Now, a healthy start is to know that there is no foolproof formula to becoming successful in any walk of life. What you need instead is growing thick enough skin to resist peer pressure and focus on your own vision, despite all odds.

To spice things up, every business vision needs a touch of creativity, which is something Ferriss finds mainly in real-life experiences. Books and advice can help, yes, but trying what works best for you is done by testing it on yourself, be it a business venture or a healthy lifestyle.

What is universally useful, though, is the courage to recognize that your life goals are different, and that the call of immersing oneself in the lifestyle of the masses is an easy way out. You do not have to please anyone with your life choices, says Ferriss. Also, striking the balance between working hard and gathering experience is key to keeping the spark of creativity alive.

In our summary of Ferriss’ life-changing book, you’ll also get the chance to explore his thoughts on the value of pushing yourself into new waters on the path to success.

quotation marksThe world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.

        Timothy Ferris

Inspired? If these ideas have already set some gears turning, then we recommend checking out our Knowledge Hack of Tools of Titans in its entirety.

In Summary

In childhood, learning by example is the first skill we learn to keep us going - so, what better way to tap into this rich resource than to learn from the best there are in the world of business? Supported by powerful real-life success examples and engaging storytelling, the world of entrepreneurship can easily become a source of lifelong inspiration and wonder. 

If you're intrigued to discover more titles to jump into, we recommend starting with our book summary of Sophia Amoruso's #Girlboss, or our guide to the best books on leadership.


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