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Facebook’s Greatest Lesson For Entrepreneurs

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A decade ago, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was completing his freshman year at Harvard. Today, thanks to last week’s record-setting IPO, he’s worth nearly 20 billion dollars.

Hmmm…

Weren’t we taught that the key to success was to “get good grades, get into a good school, and then get a good job?”

Mr. Zuckerberg certainly did the first two, but thankfully for him, nearly 1,000 of his employees who are all now millionaires, and the 900 million people who enjoy – or are even addicted to – his internet creation, he veered off that fast-track-to-average and built a business – fast.

But for some reason, that general concept is frowned upon in our society. In fact, almost always the words “get rich quick” and “scheme” go hand-in-hand. People are actually taught that making money quickly is somehow evil.

We’ve all heard the famous story, where a turtle actually defeats a rabbit in a race.

Did you ever really stop to think about it? If I went to the nearest pet shop and bought a turtle and a rabbit, then put them down on the ground, do you really think the turtle would win ANY race of ANY distance?

Of course NOT.

Aesop gave us all a little clue as to the reality of his stories when he called them “fables!” According to the dictionary, a fable is “a story not founded on fact…an untruth, falsehood…a false, fictitious or improbable account; a fiction or lie.”

Ouch.

Seriously, we all know that pumpkins don’t turn into stagecoaches, frogs don’t really turn into princes, and ducks don’t grow up to be geese. And, as historian Anita Brooker wrote:

“In real life, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market.”

In my opinion, it goes further than that. The American institutions of schooling, military and unfortunately, many families, are all designed to condition compliance. As children and still as adults, we are rewarded for following the rules and doing as we were told.

But that’s not a recipe for success in business. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Successful entrepreneurs are mavericks and renegades, always looking for new and better ways of doing things.

And business success is all about speed: taking massive action and getting things done quickly.

As Joe Vitale succinctly put it: “Money loves speed.”

In fact, success in anything loves speed:

  • If you see a great deal on a property, be the first to offer the seller’s asking price – before it’s sold to a faster action-taker.
  • If you hear about a job opening that you want, make sure to apply quickly – before it’s filled.
  • If you want tickets to the next big rock concert, get to the box office fast – popular concerts in big arenas often sell out in a manner of minutes.
  • If you think you’ve found the person of your dreams, don’t just sit there and wait for him or her to call you – you’ll lose out to someone else who takes action.

And so on. I don’t ever recall succeeding at something because I got there last.

The world is full of all kinds of B.S. business advice that tells people that the first thing they need to do is put together a complete business plan, marketing plan, etc. But reality is quite different.

Did Mark Zuckerberg put together a complete business plan before he launched Facebook from his college dorm room? Was Bill Gates drafting a formal marketing plan in his garage before he started Microsoft? Was Steve Jobs an expert in plodding and planning – or a brilliant action-taker?

I’ve counseled thousands of small business owners over the years to get moving in the right direction, to start taking action, and then course-correct as circumstances change.

To take it to its extreme, many successful business people make sure to start marketing, advertising and selling products and services before creating them – sometimes even before they’ve even started to create them! That way, if response is low or non-existent, we save all the time, effort and expense of even creating the product or service, and move on to another!

I have helped MANY clients make BIG money FAST with exactly that strategy.

Let your competition sit around planning and over-thinking everything. You want to be taking massive action. That’s what gives you the motivation to take more action, to solve problems, to overcome obstacles.

Those who insist that “slow and steady wins the race” and wait to take action “until everything is in place” rarely take any action at all. Those are the people who always say, “I thought of that idea a long time ago” whenever an action-taker successfully brings an idea to market.

I have a saying, that I’ve had made into a poster that hangs in the room at all of my entrepreneur-related events:

“Ideas Make You Feel Good, But Only Actions Make You Money.”

And the faster you take those actions, the quicker and more certainly you will get to the money.

For people who take things slow, time is their worst enemy. The more they hesitate, the more time they give for circumstances to change and new obstacles to pop up. And the more likely it is that quicker-acting competitors will beat them to the punch.

But fast action-takers get more done, experience more success and have less-stressful lives. You might think that maintaining a constant feeling of urgency to accomplish more would be stressful, but in my experience I’ve found the opposite to be true: I feel more stress when I procrastinate, when I’m not doing what I know I should be doing. By making the most of every single day, I find that I sleep best at night.

Of course, there will be times when moving too fast can end up hurting you. But in my experience, the benefits of taking fast action far outweigh any problems and losses that result from too little planning.

So when you fall – and you will fall – just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and take more action.

Success couldn’t care less about mistakes. Success loves action. Money loves speed – not tortoise-like behavior.

Now don’t think about this too much – just get out there and start taking massive action!

2 Responses to Facebook’s Greatest Lesson For Entrepreneurs

  1. David Reply

    May 23, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Great read Steve! Speed has been a slight problem for me until recently. Back against the wall type of thing.. You know typical story.. But now changing it all around with massive action.

    Will Keep Following

    Thanks,
    David

  2. Steve Sipress Reply

    May 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks, David. Way to make the change. Looking forward to hearing your success story.

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