Today our spotlight is on Peter Thiel, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world who co founded PayPal.
His life and his business sense can offer a lot of lessons for entrepreneurs, people about success. You may have heard of Thiel, he was a founding member of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook.
He has also released a best-selling book called Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. In it he wrote out his entrepreneur lessons he has learnt over the years.
Lesson 1: Start Small But Think Big
If you focus on the small markets, you need to plan to dominate that market completely. This allows you to start small, with manageable goals that can expanded on as your business grows.Thiel says, entrepreneurs are drawn to the lure large and established markets when they should be looking smaller.
Amazon as an example. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, wanted to dominate the entire online retail market. But when he started out, he started small by focusing on the online book market. From these humble beginnings, Amazon has now become one of the largest retailers in the world. And this is just one example of what can happen when you start small, but have big plans as an entrepreneur.
Lesson 2: Be Bold
After the dot-com crash, many entrepreneurs adopted a very cautious mentality. One key feature of said mentality was only making small incremental advances in their business. Thiel says that it’s far better to ‘risk boldness than triviality’.Of course, this doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind completely, boldness does not mean being foolhardy. But no one ever achieved great things by playing it safe all the time. Everything in life, success, as an entrepreneur involves risk.
Lesson 3: Think Long Term
Too many people have a ‘live for the moment’ mentality, summed up by the obnoxious word of YOLO(You Only Live Once). This mentality is often applied to goal setting, to business decision, and in life in general. Well, Peter Thiel has an equally catchy saying for his mindset, “Remember the future”.
As an entrepreneur ,Thiel asks you to ask yourself the question “Will this business still be around a decade from now?” this is a question you should be asking yourself when considering being an entrepreneur or as an entrepreneur.
Lesson 4: Sales Matter Just as Much as the Product.
Another remnant of the conservative mentality that Peter Thiel spelt out is the focus on product over sales. He claims that many entrepreneurs keep trying to build the perfect product, relying on the idea that ‘if you build it, they will come’.
It might happen that way for some entrepreneurs, but most of the time this is a dream. You can build one of the greatest products or offer one of the greatest services ever as an entrepreneur, but if no one knows about it, nobody will come. That’s why Thiel states that sales and marketing are just as important as the product.This is even more important if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner. And even if you’re in the corporate world, it’s just as important to market your skills so you can move up the ladder. Whether you agree with this mindset or not is irrelevant; it is simply the way the world works.
Lesson 5: Don’t Be a Copycat
Originality is one of the key factors of success. He cites as an example that too many people are trying to ‘recreate Google’, and identifies it as a key cause of business failure. Thiel candidly says that the ‘next Mark Zuckerberg’ won’t be building a social network.
“All of the great innovations in business and technology happen once,” Peter Thiel says in his book. Companies like Facebook, eBay, and Airbnb are the dominant leaders in their niche.
That’s why he teaches that it’s better for people who want to make their own success to look elsewhere and entrepreneurs who wants to be better in their business. This advice should encourage you to look more closely at your own skills and abilities. What skills do you have that separate you from the world? It may not be any one skill, but a unique combination that could lead you to an original idea or niche. And when you’ve identified where you can add value to the world, you can then work on dominating that niche.