Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, Space X and Neuralink, was included in the Forbes list of “America’s 20 most powerful CEOs 40 and Under” in 2011. He was named “Businessperson of the year” by Fortune in 2013. Wired Magazine recently ranked him number one on their list of 100 global influencers. These are only a few awards he has received.
With so many companies to his credit, he could be a brilliant source of learning for young entrepreneurs. TaskQue, a task management software for entrepreneurs brings key lessons budding entrepreneurs can learn from Elon Musk to take their startup to the next level. Without further delay, let us get down to business.
1. See the Big Picture
Many young entrepreneurs run after short-term profits. Elon Musk thinks differently. Did you know that 50% startups fail to survive the initial five years? One of the key reasons behind this failure is poor planning. He advises young entrepreneurs to see the big picture and go in with a long-term plan. Following this tactic will increase the chances of long-term startup survival and give entrepreneurs room to adjust according to the evolving situation.
2. Be a Pioneer, Not a Follower
One thing that is common among all Elon Musk ventures is that he starts early and grabs the first mover advantage. That is what he wants young entrepreneurs to do. Whether it is Tesla Motor’s electric cars or X.com online banking endeavor, he was the pioneer, not a follower. With this approach, he did not have to face any competition and made an impact in the world of entrepreneurship.
3. Think Out of the Box and Challenge Traditional Approaches
What makes Elon Musk a great entrepreneur? There could be many answers to this question but one of them is that he thinks out of the box and is ready to challenge the tried and tested approach. With a fearless and innovative mindset, he has driven many of his startups to success. If you want your startup to get noticed among the crowd of startup, it is imperative that you come up with a unique idea and have the courage to pursue it to the end, irrespective of the hurdles and circumstances.
4. Form Dedicated, Innovative Teams
From the outset, Elon Musk never hired employees from big corporations but he looks for talent and innovative mindset instead of big fat resumes. Both Space X and Tesla hired young, talented and innovative engineers with less experience and formed a team of individuals that are ready to make sacrifices in order to achieve the organization goals.
When it comes to work ethics, you will not find many who work harder than he does. He sets highest expectations from his employees and asks them to work for 100 hours a week, which is almost more than double of the industry average. This also means that only those employees can be a part of his companies who are ready to give it all.
5. Focus on Signal, Not Noise
Most successful entrepreneurs always emphasize on the power of focus. Elon Musk is no different. He tells young entrepreneurs to spend money on enhancing your products instead of other aspects. Stay focused on product development and keeps distractions at bay.
He diverts a major chunk of his budget to product development as depicted by his statement, “At Tesla, we’ve never spent any money on advertising. We have put all our money into R&D, engineering, design, and manufacturing to build the best car possible. When we consider spending money, we ask if this will create a better product. If not, we don’t proceed with spending the money.”
6. Seek Criticism and Improve
Most young entrepreneurs are hungry for recognition and praise but Elon Musk has a completely different take on things. His statement sums it up brilliantly, “When I spoke with someone about the Tesla Model S, I didn’t really want to know what’s right about the car. I want to know what is wrong about the car.”
Although, praise and recognition are also important because it increases trust and commitment but criticism provides you an opportunity to fix the loopholes and make your product even better, which is much more important. Musk once said, “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong”.
7. Dip Your Toes in Serial Entrepreneurship
Elon Musk wants young entrepreneurs to try their luck in serial entrepreneurship because that is what worked for him. If done right, it can work wonders for new entrepreneurs as well. He introduced online banking solution and transformed the way we make payments and then focused his attention towards space industry.
After producing low-cost spacecraft for NASA, he then moved on to electric cars. The list goes on and on and it teaches young entrepreneurs the skill to use success in one domain and convert it into success in different domains. Even though serial entrepreneurship could be very challenging but the rewards and learning experience makes it worth a try.
8. Failure is an Option
Fear of failure is one of the biggest reasons why people do not want to become an entrepreneur. Even a successful entrepreneur like Elon Musk was afraid of failure, but consider it an option. Instead of throwing in the towel, Elon Musk overcame failure by anticipating it and having a contingency plan. He used this formula for Space X and managed to get it out of hot waters. He never succumbed to failure and kept trying eventually success opened its doors for him.
If you want to learn the art of entrepreneurship, then there is no one better than Elon Musk. Although, his advice might be unconventional but they really work as it did for him. Prepare a long-term plan and have an innovative mindset to come up with unique ideas that can make your startup stand out from the crowd. Instead of being preoccupied with your achievement, it is better to seek criticism and iron out the issues. Lastly, do not fear failure but have a contingency plan ready to deal with it.