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Lessons learned of a successful start-up

“Finish what you have started and you will move on and further with better focus and capability”, is the lesson taught by his father to one of my course-mates friends in Westminster University Business School in London.

We were catching up as a group to celebrate successfully passed Digital Marketing exams recently. That evening was inspired by amazing life stories and lessons learned. One of which I’d like to share with you now – lessons learned of a successful start-up.

This guy, I will call him Syed, had his first business when he was 19 years old and just started university. He was selling jewellery in London. He travelled to Paris, chose the hand-made jewellery, brought that to London and sold. He started his jewellery sales business from the stalls in the market places to test it out whether customers will like it. When the turnover progressed, Syed developed his website to sell the valuable pieces.

When he travelled to Paris to choose the goods, he invited his girlfriend to come along for a nice trip and help him to choose what women like and listen to her opinions. Obviously, she knew better the magic of female jewellery. He tried out different producers and found that particular hand-made jewellery was best demanded from his customers. He kept progressing in that niche and developed his own brand for the chosen jewellery.

He started small, but as he worked hard and much, constantly listened to customer demands and feedback, his business kept progressing during next few years and demanded more and more of his time. He got to the stage that it became very challenging to combine business development with his university studies. Syed was considering a decision to quit university.

And then his father said to him: “My dear son, you are very hard working, like me. I have developed my well established and successful business because of my hard work, focus and persistence. But one thing you should keep in mind – education is very important cornerstone for success in your life. So my advice to you is to finish what you have started – your university studies, and then move on with the business. You will have better focus and greater capability to do that. You will also have much more clear awareness of what you want in life, what you are passionate about.”

Although Syed was tempted to continue to develop his business as it was paying off well and progressing, he listened to his father’s advice and sold his business to successfully continue and finish his studies.

He confirmed in our conversation – that was the best decision he took and he is glad he listened to his father’s advice. There are 3 lessons though he has learned while developing his start-up business that he will take on for further start-up opportunities:

1. Start small, try it out whether customers like it and then progress

Syed started with a few jewellery pieces and sold them in open markets and stalls. He spoke to his customers and listened carefully to what they said. After a year of start-up, the business has grown so well that he developed his webpage and expanded his business in web.

2. Find your niche and focus on it

Before Syed was able to expand, he tested and discovered the niche that he could differentiate him amongst competition – hand-made, branded jewellery from Paris. Although he was tempted to sell other stuff, he kept focusing and developing in his niche. That helped him to grow his business by becoming the brand in the niche.

3. Ask advice from the experts

Who can be a better adviser in female jewellery industry than female? When Syed started his business, he asked advice of his girlfriend and her friends. They knew well what women are appreciating in jewellery. He tested that with his customers and listened to feedback.

Syed has now moved on. He has finished university and explored other business industries than jewellery trade. He has discovered his passion for customer relationship management and is aiming to develop his next business in CRM implementation for local and global companies. He is a hard worker, very dedicated and customer focused professional. That builds a very strong personal brand foundation. I am confident he will succeed now even more as when you have discovered your passion, you have clarity and focus on your goals and you stream your energy to achieve them, you will succeed.

His father’s advice is guiding him for success in life:

“Finish what you have started and you will move on and further with better focus and capability”.

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5 Key Things That Define Leadership Mindset

There are so many different definitions of leadership. As example – the Oxford dictionary defines leadership as „The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.”

In Wikipedia “leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. For example, some understand a leader simply as somebody whom people follow, or as somebody who guides or directs others while others define leadership as “organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal”.”

Daniel Goleman defines Leadership as “Executing a vision by motivating, guiding, inspiring, listening, persuading and creating resonance”

I am confident that leadership starts from within. It starts with your own leadership mindset. Leadership mindset is seing opportunities, taking ownership of solutions and inspiring yourself and people around you to take an action towards achieving aspirable goals that lead to acomplishing purpose and striving towards vision. Leadership mindset initiates in your thinking habits, in your believes and ability to take accountability for solutions and actions.

You can only motivate, guide, inspire and influence others to accomplish something if you can influence yourself to accomplish what is meaningful for you and people around. If you can motivate, inspire, persuade yourself to do something inspirational and meaningful day in, day out.

To do that, you need a Leadership Mindset, that is build by the following:

  1. Strong Self Awareness.

Awareness of your values, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of your passion. Listening to your heart and what is important to you. Taking time to think and reflect. Be cristal clear on what is meaningful for you and what do you want in life.

  1. Vision and different perspective to strive for it

Vision is the ability to see things as they could be instead of as they are now. Every product, every  business, every scientific discovery that exists today was at some time in history “impossible.” It took someone with a different perspective to see, believe and create it. Leadership mindset is incouraged by innovation and different perspective.

  1. Passion, inspiration and commitment

Passion is the force which turns ideas into action, and dreams into reality. With your enthusiasm, passion and commitment you thrive to achieve your vision. What ideas inspire you? What are you doing to implement them? How excited you are doing it? How do you keep your commitment and energy levels to achieve result? How do you engage people round you to contribute and drive it forward?

  1. Courage to take risks

Some people have great aspirations, but fear of being wrong stops them from taking action and commiting to achieve the outcomes, so they don’t act on their ideas. Having great aspirations is not enough. You must take risks to succeed. Have a courage to admit your mistakes and learn from them. Learn to improve constantly. Make clear decisions on improvement and take further action.

  1. Measure results and go beyond

Take time to reflect – How is this working? How am I doing? What have I learned? How have I inspired and enthused others for leadership mindset? How have I communicated clearly to engage people around me? It starts with the leadership from within, but it shall go beyond. It shall go beyond your mindset and inspire others for developing leadership mindset. To enthuse and passionate people around you to live even more inspirational and fulfilled life and share it forward.

In conclusion – there are many different definitions of leadership. I am confident that leadership starts from within – with your leadership mindset.