Imagine if you could travel back to when you were beginning your career, but with the wisdomyou possess today. Would you do anything differently? Here’s what these successfulleaders say they wish their younger selves would have known.
“As an entrepreneur, taking risks is extremely important but it is the resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity that really counts. It is important to take risks and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable as you persevere in the face of adversity.”
–Telle Whitney, CEO of Anita Borg Institute, which connects, inspires and guides women technologists and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative.
“Many entrepreneurs think there’s a secret formula for habits of successful people, but in my experience, routine and habits are anathema to entrepreneurialism. You have to focus on making the most out of every opportunity and every project, and that requires an approach as specific and unique as each situation. If you’ve started forming your business habits, try breaking them completely. You’ll be shocked at how creative you’ll be.”
“I’m actually glad that I didn’t know how hard it is to build a global company, and that I didn’t realize how much investment capital it would take. Had I known both of those things, I’m not sure I would have attempted it. The thing that sustained me through it all is knowing we had a big, world changing idea. The thought of not pursuing that idea has always been tougher than what we’ve had to go through to get where we are.”
–Scott McFarlane, cofounder and CEO of Avalara, a provider of cloud software which helps businesses handle tax compliance through automation.
“The most important thing every entrepreneur must do is make sure they are attacking a problem in a very large market. The market is the key to how successful and large your company can be. Small markets tend to create average or lackluster companies.”
–Darren Guccione, cofounder and CEO of Keeper Security, a password manager and secure digital vault.
“As an entrepreneur, you make thousands of decisions every day, determining what’s best for the business you’re building. Every decision lays the foundation for your company’s success and its culture. If you cut corners, your teams will, too. Creating something that’s built to last takes hard work. It’s crucial to consider strategy and think things through the first time around, and when there’s a moment to choose between what’s easy and what’s ultimately the best approach for your business or customers, you should always choose the latter.”
–Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science, a technology and data company that builds verification, optimization, and analytics solutions for the advertising industry.
“Entrepreneurs are successful because they can contribute with a unique perspective, not because they copy other successful people. And it not only goes for the product, but also for the leadership style. Rather than copying other leaders, entrepreneurs should focus on strengthening their strengths and containing their weaknesses.”
“When I left Salesforce to launch Zuora, I figured I could rinse and repeat what worked before to produce the same results. The reality was much different, and I quickly learned that success comes from learning in specific situations, not blindly repeating the past. The key to avoiding sophomore entrepreneur syndrome is remembering to bring out a blank sheet of paper for everything, building for each specific moment in time and each individual customer.”
–Tien Tzuo, cofounder and CEO of Zuora which creates cloud technologies that help companies build subscription business models.
“I’ve learned that being patient, flexible and open to change can be of huge value when you run into challenges along your entrepreneurial journey.