6 Key Lessons You Can’t Ignore If You’re a First-Time Entrepreneur | Inc.com

“What everyone else in the world cares about is their own problems and how you can solve it for them.”

One of my favorite questions to ask is: “What if I did the opposite for X period of time?” This question positions you to accomplish two things: 1) ask if the traditional way of doing something is actually the best way, or if it’s because it’s always been done that way. 2) “X period of time” gives you an out. It allows you to test your theory without committing long-term.

This is worth repeating. No one cares what you’re selling, other than your loving mother of course. What everyone else in the world cares about is their own problems and how you can solve it for them.

We made the mistake early on pitching the solution of what we were bringing to the market but no one listened. Then we shared why we started our company. The beginnings of our journey, the purpose behind it, and the ineffectiveness of current solutions is what got people inspired and fired up about what we had to offer. Even today, we rarely talk about what we’re selling, and focus instead why we’re doing this.

This is my favorite lesson from Richard Branson. As wild and adventurous as he seems, his most popular advice to entrepreneurs is to always protect the downside. An example is when Branson started Virgin Airlines, he structured a deal with Boeing so that if the business didn’t work out, he had the option to return all of the planes. This type of deal was unheard of in those days, and his total risk of capital was a few thousand dollars instead of millions.

Onboarding and training new team members is something we’ve been working on optimizing. We’re nowhere near perfect, but we’ve learned that letting them fall gently on the grass is often better than being bogged down to micromanagement.

Falling on the grass means making small mistakes that are quickly reversible with little impact to the company or customers. By leaving space for small mistakes, we have a more independent and empowered team that can take responsibility for their own work.

This content was originally published here.

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