Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Nepal is famous for the Himalayas, Momos (Nepalese spiced dumplings), temples (did you know that Buddha was born in Nepal?) and dangerous roads. I recently was sitting in the front seat on travels from Kathmandu (the capital) to Hetuada (an industrial town). The distance is approximately 87 kilometers, or roughly 55 miles, and it was a five-hour journey due to many factors that I’ll discuss shortly. The drive made me think about the similarities to entrepreneurship and lessons from my three-year journey.

The first start of the journey was smooth; the roads were wide and then, very quickly, the roads started getting narrow and curvier. Lesson #1: The initial glory days of starting a company can soon surprise you with curveballs. There are so many firsts during startup years, such as first hires, first social media campaign, first time giving a 60-second commercial. Keep your eye on the goal, and don’t let the narrow roads or curves take you off-guard.

80% of the journey from Kathmandu to Hetuada were on unpaved roads. Imagine driving on gravel roads for more than three hours. Lesson #2: There will be bumps on the road. Don’t complain. Prepare and plan for the journey. Get the right tools for the job (vehicle). Know that bumps will occur and will disappear with time (and experience).

There were several places during our journey where roads were congested. Competition is fierce, and, even if you are first to market, you are at best six months before other startups start offering similar value propositions. Lesson #3: Having a strong sense of direction, strength and perseverance will allow you to navigate the congestion. Have the right people in place to handle difficult tasks (driver in our case). It may at times seem near impossible to get out of the congestion, but, with the right maneuvers, you can come out triumphant.

There are no road systems, or like a DOT (Department of Transportation) in Nepal. and cars, motorbikes, buses, horse carts and other vehicles with wheels will sneak in and pass you. There are times where our car did the same, depending on the opportunity. At times, it may seem others are getting ahead and are succeeding. Lesson #4: Don’t get discouraged – if you are solving the right pain points, have a strong team and present a solution, when the right opportunity arises you will succeed and make a pass. When I started my entrepreneurship journey, my co-founder and I built a product that was a “vitamin,” not a pain-killer. It was when we met an individual in 2016 who shared with us the pain points within the life/annuity industry that he experienced while selling and servicing products in the life insurance sector. Both of us fell in love with the pain points and joined forces through a company called Benekiva. We found the right pain point, a strong team and our solution, which incorporates portion of our initial solution.

See also: The Entrepreneur as Leader and Manager

The drivers in Nepal are completely bold. One wrong turn, and you may not exist. Lesson #5: Be fearless. A startup is not like a trip in the Himalayas. Fail and fail fast. A failed startup does not kill you, it makes your stronger. Also, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. If you want a stable and normal life with steady work hours and pay, then it may not be a right fit. If you are a creator and have a fear of mediocrity, then you are in the right club. I recently read a fantastic blog – Fearing Mediocrity from Ryan Hanley, which summarizes my thoughts on being fearless.

There was a place during our journey where we stopped to take a stretch and tea break. Lesson #6: Make sure you recharge. Lori Greiner, from Shark Tank, has a famous quote, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” The statement is so true, and as entrepreneurs you don’t want to experience burnout. My break is this! I’m visiting my family and friends for three weeks, and my responsibilities for Benekiva are handled. I’ve delegated to my co-founder or my staff. I just have to be willing to check in. I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work even though some of my meetings are at 2:00 am or 3:00 am; it doesn’t bother me.

See also: AI Still Needs Business Expertise  

Though the travel is treacherous, and a short distance takes hours, the ride is gorgeous. Tall, beautiful mountains, breathtaking views and an amazing landscape. Lesson #7: Enjoy the journey. You will encounter amazing people, mentors, other like-minded individuals and people who make you think, “Where have you been all my life?” You will get to participate with leaders of industry, attend amazing conferences where knowledge is abundant and work with others to create ideas.

Enjoy the journey, my friends. As Dr. Seuss says in “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”:

“You’re off to Great Places!

“Today is your day!

“Your mountain is waiting,

“So… get on your way!”

Thank you for reading this article!

5 Things Sailing Taught Me

Most entrepreneurs don’t just want to be entrepreneurs—they have to be entrepreneurs.  

As a driven entrepreneur in the insurance industry, you will encounter both challenges and rewards far beyond that of the average employee. Navigating these ups and downs can be as challenging as steering a ship through a storm on the high seas, but I’ve done both—and lived to tell the tale.

The lessons I learned sailing the seas have served me just as well on land. Here are five tips about entrepreneurship that sailing has taught me:

  1. Know the terminology

In sailing, understanding boating terms like aft, starboard and leeward is vital to working with your crew and operating your vessel. The same is true in business. If you can`t speak the language of your clients and your competition, your next deal may get lost in translation.  

Attending conferences and taking courses are both great ways to learn new terms and highlight that there`s a reason why you’re the expert.

  1. Use trends like the wind

When sailing, jibing and tacking help you manipulate the winds to steer your vessel in the right direction. In business, trends are your winds, and you need to understand which direction they`re heading. Take a few minutes every day and bring yourself up to speed on the latest global and local trends.

Aggregators like Feedly or SmartNews, along with social media feeds, keep you on the cutting edge and aware of which way the wind is blowing.

  1. Learn when to tighten or ease the sheet

The sheet is a line or rope used to adjust a sail against a force of wind.  

In business, you need to think about when to tighten or loosen your budget and your business’s growth in line with your sales cycle and market forces.

Markets ebb and flow, and your business will, too. Tracking these fluctuations over time will help determine the ideal time to launch marketing campaigns and hire employees, or to tighten the purse strings.

  1. Adjust quickly and wisely to a changing climate

The weather can change in an instant when you’re sailing, and you need to know how to use the sails to compensate, navigate under tough conditions and capitalize on whatever’s thrown at you. It`s not much different when you`re a leader in business.

Like the weather, business is always moving and changing. Whether you`re steering your ship at sea or driving your business on land, it takes experience and at times raw courage to weather a storm. See each storm as a chance to gain experience for the next one and know that sometimes you simply need to batten down the hatches – and wait it out.

  1. Be a decisive captain

It can take an entire crew to run a sailboat, but they won’t work effectively without a captain calling the shots. The crew rely on your vision, tenacity and experience to guide their actions. Without this direction, no one will know which way to travel.

As the captain of a ship or a business, you spend your days adjusting your sails, guiding the crew and at times navigating dangerous waters. If you’re on the verge of starting a business or taking it in a new direction, remember one thing above the rest – always keep your hand on the helm and keep in mind:

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader trims the sails and sets a new course.

Leap Year Season 2, Episode 10 – How To Bite

Leap Year Season 2: Episode 10 by Mashable

Now this is where the C3D team is at their best – all working together against a common (and real) foe.  It’s all a team effort, so when Aaron neglects his critical task to try and make up with Lisa, his good old slacker/turncoat/thief brother is there to make sure Andy Corvell gets his come-uppance in front of the appreciating crowd.  Andy told Bryn that he stole their prototypes, drained their bank account and created a fake competitor to “teach them a lesson.” Turns out this was a lesson that went both ways: C3D learned to think quickly on their feet and Corvell learned that sometimes there are actual, real-life consequences to his actions.

Operation Revenge was a winner, but not because Corvell was led out of the auditorium by Detective Doyle.  That was sweet, but the positive feedback from the crowd, the many business cards from VCs Jack had in his wallet afterwards and, most importantly, Glenn Cheeky’s kiss of success are what will make a difference in the long run. The product launch was their graduation from a start-up into an all grown up business.  So, what’s next?

First, they need to keep spreading the word through PR and social media.  The reporters won’t always be there and it’s now up to C3D to keep their company and product top of mind.  Which leads nicely into their second task.

Second, C3D needs to keep influencing the influencers.  A positive Tweet or blog post by a tech industry thought leader could be the key to C3D’s commercial success. Sending free C3D conferencing systems to some top Silicon Valley media and investors would be a nice start.

Finally, they need to define the C3D brand in the marketplace.  This is about meaning something specific to the right people, not everything to everybody.  People like to hide behind texts these days, how can C3D get them to invite their friends and family around the world into their living room via hologram?

It’s been great to see C3D roll with the punches, keep finding new ways forward and never lose their will – just like thousands of successful startups have before them.  This season both the team and the business matured into better versions of themselves.  Their next step will be no easier – going from concept, to reality, to actual commercial success.  And that’s the thrill of entrepreneurship, no matter how high the next hill is to climb, if you believe, work hard and get the right support, you can make it to the top.