IntelliSite’s very own Dave Borland was the keynote speaker at the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp graduation earlier this month. Dave was himself a former graduate of the program, which was called the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) at the time. As the keynote speaker, Dave presented five points of advice to the graduating class of eighteen entrepreneurs, and has reproduced them here.
1. Be Prepared to Fail
Don’t let the possibility of failing scare you into doing nothing. Doing nothing gets you nothing. Fail! Fail again! Keep failing! Failure is a prerequisite to success.
2. Be Prepared to Work Your Butt Off
Success comes from working hard. Working really hard, even after failing. Most of us don’t get lucky and win the lottery of business. Being successful is hard work, 12-hour days, working through weekends, living, eating, and breathing your business. Hard work is unavoidable.
3. Be Flexible
Your business plan may be useless in short order. The sheer speed of business and information touches every business. Be prepared to make quick, yet informative changes. Be small and agile enough to make quick changes when it seems to make sense.
4. Leave Your Ego at Your Last Job
Understand that you don’t know it all. Actually, understanding that you barely know anything is the real key. You will succeed only when you listen to your customers. Listen to your employees. Listen to your trusted advisers, and even your vendors. You aren’t the expert in everything.
If no one knows you, no one cares about you. Think about all of the ways that you can network with others - chamber mixers, referrals groups, trade shows, social media like Facebook, or LinkedIn. Hang with people who can buy from you, sell to you, partner with you, refer business to you, or just give you their expertise in something you aren’t gifted in. If you do this several times a week with the right people, your business will grow.
Dave was honored to have been chosen as the keynote speaker for the graduation, and his wish is that at least one of those pieces of advice sticks with the graduates.