Why this letter matters to every entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur has never been an easy job, but a fulfilling one for sure. It is full of excitement/disappointments, achievements/failures, temptations/control; an experience of full spectram of extreme emotions.
When things get tough and decisions start getting cloudy, we still need to move forward confidently, but with a perspective.
I wrote this letter when I started my entrepreneurial journey, to keep reminding myself the right things to do on this journey.
It's a code I live by. I am open sourcing it for everyone to see. May be, all entrepreneurs share this code!
May be, reminding ourselves of the code is all we need for that 10x output.
Read it as if you wrote it when you started your entrepreneurial journey
Here it goes
Thank you for starting this wonderful journey. Remember yourself from the time when you took the plunge to start your entrepreneurial journey, I am that guy. I hope, in this endless journey, you're celebrating small victories, learning from failures, conflicts and you have a long way to go before you reach your next big milestone.
I don't have as much knowledge as you do, especially about your business. Yes, we are same person, just years apart but "what looks inevitable in hindsight was far from obvious in the beginning". Listen carefully what I am going to say next because I do have a better knowledge of why you started it. I am going to talk about things that will remain true for you always. No matter what you or others think right now, this is why you started
To make an impact
To realize this goal, I need a moment to help you think critically by asking some simple, however tough questions. These questions present a framework for making better decisions.
Start with reality check
1. How many lives are you impacting with your work?
2. How much impact are you making in their life?
Are you satisfied with it? I guess the answer is "Not yet". And it's a good answer! All focus should be on growth, which is the product of (no. of people impacted)*(magnitude of impact in life of each one).
The path we have chosen to make an impact is by adding value to people's life. For this entrepreneurial journey, we call this "value for customer".
Move forward with confidence
When there is not enough clarity, you still need to move forward confidently. Read further and it will become easier.
If the foundation of a building is not rock-solid, it may come crashing down any moment. That foundation for a business is “value for the customer”. This is not a one time job, it is a relentless grind.
I’m telling you something that you already know, yet I understand how tempting it could be sometimes to keep it at the back-seat. Especially in extreme conditions when you are feeling on top of the world, say when you just raised the money OR at the rock-bottom, say when you have 0 cash in the bank. I want you to always remember this
How obsessive you are about “value for customer” is your competitive advantage
And an entrepreneur who is obsessive about "value for customer" asks following questions.
1. Does this add value to my customers?
Ask this question daily for every action and for every decision. This question will always, always guide you towards the right path, making your foundation stronger each time you ask this question.
2. How can I add value to my customer's life?
Whenever things seem to be going wrong, whenever there's a need for new ideas, ask this question. How can I add value to my customer's life? Discover things that truly matter to your customer and hence to your business. Eventually, this will become a core part of your culture. Right things will happen effortlessly. Problems will get the right solutions effortlessly. All parts of your machine will work in sync towards a singular goal "add value to customer's life". And you as an entrepreneur will get more time to think about your next milestone.
Pause before you take that next big decision and think harder from this perspective. Keep things simple and remember these four questions we discussed and trust me, everything else will fall into place.
- How many lives are you impacting with your work?
- How much impact are you making in the life of each one?
- Does this action/decision add value to my customers?
- How can I add value to my customer's life?
I wish you all the success, conviction and satisfaction in your business and life.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West
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Keep it simple.
About Author: Pradeep is Founder of Invide. His experiences as developer and entrepreneur has nurtured deep knowledge about computers, internet, remote work, productivity and tech team building. He also manages an online course to educate high growth startups on how to build winning tech teams. His motto for life and business is "Passionately protest mediocrity".