Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?" Entrepreneurship Lessons from Steve Jobs

The retirement of Steve Jobs from day-to-day operations at Apple caused such a furor from the business community that the price of Apple stock dropped by 7%, losing a value of almost $17.5 billion dollars in one day. Jobs’ popularity stems from the fact that in spite of facing some stiff opposition in one of the most competitive industries, he led his company to become one of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world. Having started Apple in the late 70's, he was forced out by the board in 1984 and was asked to come back to turn it around in 1996. From then on, his creative vision and leadership single-handedly transformed the computer industry and changed how the world communicates.

Many consider him to be the embodiment of entrepreneurship and a great role model for businesspeople and entrepreneurs alike. He not only started and grew Apple, but also has done the same for other companies such as Pixar and Next Technologies, making him one of the most admired billionaires in the world. Here are some of the lessons that he's learned in starting and growing a business.

1) Follow your heart

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Being an entrepreneur is a tough job! So be very sure that you are passionate about the business that you’ve started. Never forget that the person that you truly must make happy is yourself – as you will face a lot of challenges in your journey as an entrepreneur. And when you’re up late at night fixing problems, you know that deep inside of you, you don’t want to be doing anything else. Being an entrepreneur means believing in your ideas and having faith and most importantly, you must have faith in yourself. It is this faith that will draw others to you; because that’s the passion and vision others that will allow you to lead.

2) Make a positive impact or change the world

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Those words challenged former Pepsi executive John Scully when Jobs tried to recruit him into Apple. Steve Jobs was obsessed with creating technology that would change the way people interact with it and make it an integral part of their everyday lives. To achieve his vision, he strove to push the limits of technical creativity, coming up with groundbreaking products that raised the bar in design and function. It was his vision that has made Apple the leader in innovation and the envy of many CEOs. But what does that mean for you? Ask yourself - does your business have a higher mission towards the world and your clients? Do you strive to make a difference in the world through your services and products? Because in the end, trying to change the world is just good business.

3) Don't follow the herd, be unique.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Stand out from the crowd, because that is what’s going to get you noticed. Progress in all things are made by people who stand strong in their ideas, are not swayed by public opinions and passionately care on how their actions benefit the world around them. Being unique in business may be just what your brand needs ... and should communicate. However, just being different isn't what you want to achieve. Instead, you want to be distinctive -- in the things your customers and clients value most.

Jobs’ achievements don't lie just only with Apple. However, it has been his crowning glory and by taking an almost bankrupt company to being the most admired, envied and emulated company in the world has left a legacy that will be hard to replicate by those who follow after him.