Elon Musk 5 Rules for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs for Success in 2019
When every expert in the car industry said that he would fail with Tesla, Elon Musk took to sleeping on the factory floor. What’s more, he has already defied the law of gravity with Space X and when it comes to startups, few people have more experience than the co-founder of Paypal.
Onthe face of it, you might think that Musk is a rebel of some kind but for thosewho pay attention, his motives are simple and honest to the very core. In otherwords, when he wants to go electric, the purpose is to produce safe cars thatcause less damage to the environment. As for going into space, he is just asquick to say that space travel is challenging and him wanting to explore thisrealm is really no different from a mountaineer wanting to climb Everest.
Anyway,let’s take a look at five rules for startup founders and entrepreneurs fromElon Musk:
Elon Musk 5 Rules for Startup Founders andEntrepreneurs for Success in 2019
1. Prepare for Disappointment
Aswith every startup, Elon Musk has faced inumerous challenges on the road tosuccess, but he always cites a certain threshold for pain as being one of hismajor strengths. That is to say, Musk will often advise entrepreneurs andstartups to expect pain and uncertainty at every turn.
Infact, Elon once described starting a company to “eating glass and staring intothe abyss”. It may sound rather negative but the truth is, this open mindedapproach is largely responsible for how he managed to pull through all the hardtimes.
Needlessto say, this is now his advice to other startup founders. More specifically, herecommends that founders should balance or counter their initial optimism witha realistic expectation. What’s more, Musk says that entrepreneurs shouldforget about happiness entirely until they become successful, at which pointthey can try to regain some of the enjoyment they lost along the way!
Takeaway – Prepare fordisappointment and expect a long climb to overcome the many challenges ahead.
2. Ask for Criticism
Oneof my favourite pieces of advice from Elon Musk is that every startup foundershould ask for criticism. It seems so counter intuitive but the reasoning makesperfect sense.
Yousee, there is such thing as constructive criticism and Musk comparesarticulated criticism to gold in a sense that this is the most meaningfulfeedback you can ever receive. He also goes on to compare this kind of feedbackto the opinion of friends and family, for its hard for them to criticize butwhen they do, it usually makes sense. Elon also sums this concept up in a verysmart way by saying that entrepreneurs should think about they are always wrongand the objective is to be less wrong!
Takeaway – Ask forcriticism and use this advice to be less wrong.
3. Never Aim to Be aLittle Bit Better
Whenit comes to creating a new product, Musk believes that too many startups getbogged down in the minor details. More specifically, he feels that too manypeople get caught up in the detail of ideas and concepts without realizing thatthey are simply not good enough.
Accordingto Elon, if you enter the market with a product that already exists, thisproduct must be significantly more valuable than whatever might be out therealready. Furthermore, it cannot be just a little different or better and mustbe something that stands out to customers as being much better than theoriginal. After all, if the concept is similar, customers will always go withthe trusted brand.
Takeaway – Never aim tobe a little better, aim to revolutionize the product.
4. Don’t Rely on Passion
Anothergem from Musk is that startup founders should never base their will to continueon passion alone. For example, if an entrepreneur is in constant search ofinspiration, it’s likely that the long term outlook for the project is doomed.After all, businesses rely on much more than passion.
Infact, running a business is more to do risks, failure, work and worry. Whenpassion is the only foundation for a business, there is a clear weakness and reasonfor concern. The truth is, Elon is explaining here that many founders orentrepreneurs have the wrong mentality when they start a business and end upmiserable when they grow frustrated and fail to achieve what they set out todo.
Takeaway – Start abusiness for practical reasons and leave emotions to one side.
5. Focus on Asking theRight Questions
Elonmay be hugely successful now but his road to this point was anything butsmooth. However, since a very young age, Musk was convinced that the hardestthing about life is deciding what questions he should ask. From experience, hebelieves that knowing these questions is the real secret to whatever comesnext.
It’squite an unorthodox piece of advice but if you look at any of the great leadersin technology over the past few decades, it’s clear that they have this way ofthinking in common. In other words, the likes of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or ElonMusk ask different questions than most people and hence, they end up withdifferent, more interesting ideas – like Space X or Tesla!
Althoughmany startup founders might feel daunted about this prospect, it must be notedthat Musk undertook some of the most complex tasks that the modern world hasever encountered and against all the odds, he still managed to succeed.
Takeaway – Thinkdifferent.
As far as startups areconcerned, few entrepreneurs have the same experience or knowledge as ElonMusk. From Paypal and Tesla to launching rockets into outer space, he hasclearly used a formula of some kind to gain traction and bring his ideas intoreality. Either way, one can only admire his many achievements and listen tothis sage advice, for these are not merely words but first-hand experiences.