I started my first business in India at the age of 19, blindfolded. By 24, I had two businesses fail and had accrued $60,000 in debt. Fast forward to today, and I have helped many entrepreneurs in fourteen different countries accelerate and scale their businesses, from start-ups to companies with several million dollars in sales.
Throughout this journey, one of the things I have enjoyed most about my life as a business strategist has been mentoring entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. They possess several unique attributes that are hard to find among many startups. By adopting their mindset, you, too, can rewrite the destiny of your business.
Here are five characteristics of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that amazed me:
1. Adapt Early
Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are early innovators who have the patience to simultaneously wait for the right time and the right opportunity. They have the ability to recognize and seize that moment.
When that moment comes, they are early adaptors who create their own path as they work, undertaking projects that have never been done before. During this process they will face a multitude of problems and will fail more often than others who wait for a perfect solution.
2. Be a Purple Cow
If you see a cow on the road, you might gaze at it for a moment. But what if you were to see a purple cow? Wouldn’t you stop and admire it for a while? Most people would pull their phones out, take a video, and post it on social media. Some might take selfies with it. It might even go viral.
Successful startups in Silicon Valley are like that, too. They are the purple cows in their industry. They have unique, distinguished branding and positioning that sets them apart and gets them noticed.
3. Accept Failure and Learn from It
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will do everything they can to avoid failure, but they are not afraid of it. Their culture doesn’t shame them for failing when they do their best. In fact, they’re encouraged to fail fast and fail forward.
For example, when billionaire Sarah Blakeley was a child her dad would always ask her at the dinner table, “What did you fail at today?” His philosophy was, if you have not failed, it means that you have not tried anything worthwhile.
When Elon Musk first started, he said his company had “a 10% chance of survival at all.” But he had the audacity to continue forward, knowing that his company had a 90% chance of failure.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs see failure as an essential step in their journey to success. They understand that if they do five things, they will succeed in at least one. The other four attempts, which many people would call “failures,” are what Silicon Valley entrepreneurs call their “biggest lessons.”
4. Maintain Intelligent Optimism
Successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs do not blindly walk around with positive thoughts and dreams; they are intelligent optimists.
People who only have positive thoughts, without consideration for the world around them, are more likely to disregard or even miss red flags right in front of them. They may unknowingly ignore the dangers that lie ahead, falsely thinking that everything is for the good.
The key is to marry uber optimism with intelligent thinking. As Silicon Valley entrepreneurs pursue their big dreams with passion, they are also able to anticipate obstacles and industry disruptions.
5. Increase Speed of Implementation
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs go from concept to actualization seemingly as fast as they can think it. Even when their industry is upside down, their anticipation, adaptation, and speed of implementation enables them to move quickly into new opportunities. This strategy is especially important for entrepreneurs today who face major disruptions across multiple industries.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs think through their actions. That is, they think about what they can implement to reach their goal in the fastest way possible. They consult mentors who guide them to act with precision, speed, and accuracy. And then they take action!
Let me end by sharing an incident that touched my heart. As part of my consulting practice, I was advising a billionaire who happens to be the CEO of a Silicon Valley company. He shared his vision for the company with me: “In 10 years my company should be doing this… In 25 years we should be doing that… Here is exactly where we need to be in 50 years… I need your help to decide the strategies for that.” When you read this, you may envision a young man asserting this bold intention, but he was 82 years old! This is the mindset of a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
Global entrepreneur and business strategist Ruble Chandy is the author of the international bestselling book on conscious business strategies, 90 Days to Life: A Journey from Turmoil to Triumph, and the creator of the Online Business Accelerator™ workshops. Marrying eastern wisdom with western know-how, Chandy built three tremendously successful, seven-figure businesses before retiring at the age of 38 to pursue his passion for helping businesses accelerate growth using the same principles and strategies that propelled his own success. Fluent in three languages, Chandy has consulted with entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide. Currently, he and his team at Accelerator™ are helping businesses in 14 countries, including the US, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE (Dubai), and the UK to double their revenue, profit, and income and scale up to seven, eight, and nine figures.
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