8 entrepreneur things

This is the quick summary of what I shared with a group of MBA students from McDonough School of Business | Georgetown University visiting Vietnam early this week. This is more or less what I have experienced throughout my entrepreneur journey to establish KMS Technology Vietnam and grow it up to nearly 1000 people company, before I resigned from the top position early in 2018, to pursue my new journey of spiritual development. Scroll down to read below.

  1. Idea vs. Execution. While idea is important, it is the successful execution separating the successful entrepreneur from the failure ones. While entrepreneur is usually “sticked” with “thinker” label, it is the “doing part” making the difference. Also, the “doing” part is where entrepreneurs can learn and grow. Deep learning comes from doing, not anywhere else. So, sharpening all skills related to execution. And roll up your sleeves to do the work.
  2. Superman vs. Super team. In order to successfully execute any great ideas, it needs the people, suitable group of people. Certainly, there is no superman in real life. Therefore, it’s not practical trying to become one to take charge of every perspective in operating a business. It’s much more effective and practical to build a super team with members having different strengths to compensate for each other, while sharing the same core values and goals. That’s the formula for a great team, a great organization, and a great company. Refer strengths-based theory for more about this.
  3. Crisis is where more opportunities appear. If you really want to look for opportunities, look for it during the crisis time. That’s where many chances are open, where a lot of issues need to be “solved”. Don’t be upset with crisis. It’s an essential and inevitable part of life. And it’s the part containing the most opportunities to learn, to grow, to be successful. Be mindful to see through crisis.
  4. Pick the game to play. Do not let the game play you. Once you set up a business, be sure to know what worst it could be. If you can accept that part, it’s more likelihood that you’ll have more confidence to play the game. Also, set for yourself a threshold of what the biggest scale of the business that you want to handle and at the same time it doesn’t harm your own life. And once it’s approaching the threshold, you have to ask yourself if it is the time you exit the game. You want to play the game, not let the game play you and play with your life, your happiness. At the end, you can be very successful in doing business, but it wouldn’t matter much, if you already sacrifice your life and happiness. I believe you should deserve both, being successful and being happy. If I have to pick only one of the two, I certainly pick the latter. Don’t let the game play you.
  5. Freedom of time. I picked for myself one principle that I don’t need a PA. It is that if I can’t handle my schedule (i.e. my time), it’s a failure for me. As time is one of the most valuable resources I can have. And if I need a PA to help me in handling it, it means I’m losing my freedom. I believe happiness must include freedom. And usually, one should secure financial freedom first. Then, it would bring the freedom of time to your way. And that would ultimately bring you happiness, once you can freely use your time for wherever it is meaningful for your life.
  6. 20/80 for the skeleton of the organization. I think the skeleton or the backbone of any organization would consist of 20% of the top people, who are usually the mid-level up to top management. So, if I have to do health assessment for an organization, I would try to see where is the top 20%, how strong they are, how fit they are with the organization business model, and how the organization has invested into growing them. If I have to strengthen an organization, I would use the same same questions to ask, to prioritize, to focus, and to invest. Effectively invest into your 20%, and the rest would come in a sustainable manner.
  7. Positive and healthy relationships matter. There is no magic to deal with non-stop changes and surplus of challenges in the Internet age, except that the magic lies in positive and healthy relationships that you are having. Invest to recruit and grow your network. The key to build it is your integrity and your care. Positive and healthy relationship is the glue to “build” a great and sustainable team as well as organization.
  8. Positive influence. I think people usually over-worry about making the world out there better and losing quite a bit of energy to making their team better. The latter is a lot more feasible to do. For me, I think that while I can’t go out there to make the world a better place for too many people, I believe that if I can have positive influence to my team at KMS with more or less 1000 people, that’s a good enough effort already. More importantly, that’s feasible. The great thing is that if you can do it well for yourself, for your team, and for your company, your stories are a great source of inspiration to the world.

#beHATT and good luck!

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