Simone writes to Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Huffington Post and appears publicly on TV or radio quite often. Every year he attends more than 200 events and helps many entrepreneurs to learn how to make a profitable business.
Before his visit to the conference that will take place in Vilnius S. Vincenzi talks to DELFI about the most important lessons he learned as an entrepreneur.
- It is said that it is very important for a startup to grow fast. What is fast enough to stay in the market?
- I believe that the definition of fast cannot be universal. It depends on the industry. Different industries have different speed. Nevertheless, I think that companies are growing at the right speed when they set their internal goals and they move forward so fast that those goals become small very quickly. For example, a company plans to expand to 20 employees in a year but after a year they have 40 employees. Or you have a goal to reach a one million revenue in a year but you manage to get two million. This is a fast-growing company.
- When we talk about startups it is often mentioned that failure is not a disaster but a lesson you need to learn. What was your biggest failure in your career? What did you learn from it?
- I had so many failures that it is hard to pick up one now (laughing).
But I think that the biggest failure I had was a personal one. Business affects your personal life. I was working so hard that I forgot to take care of my family until my personal relationship with my wife started to be destroyed. I failed to recognize that actually the family and my wife are the ones that make me going forward. From this experience, I learned that you should never work so hard that your core relationships would fail.
- But there will be always people that would not put personal relationships as a priority. In this case, it is hard to compete in a harsh market.
- It can happen but everything backfires. I know a lot very successful people that are very lonely and they live a miserable life. So is this a success? To work so hard that you have no friends? Or you have a failed marriage and use your money to pay ex-wife?
Of course, business sucks your life. Entrepreneurs are passionate and want to put as much as they can into their business. But personally, I found that if my personal relationship is going well my business goes well as well. The moment my personal relationships start going down with my wife I am more stressed at work and I do not get the support that can help me to survive difficult times.
- You have worked with hundreds of different startups and met many various age entrepreneurs. Do you see any differences between Millenials and generation Z?
- From what I have seen generation Z is less willing to put more work in. They want faster results. I think it happens because this generation grew in the world where was instant gratification. If you want something you go on Amazon and have it straight away. Whereas Millenials grew up in a period of transition. I was 10 when I got my first Internet. We did not know how to use new technology and had to figure out by ourselves. Therefore, they tend to listen less than generation Z.
- At “Login” conference there will be some young people that are currently employed but are dreaming about their own business. What main three pieces of advice would you give them?
- First, if you already work in a company start your company while you are still working. When you start business everything falls on you. For a business to become sustainable and generate steady income it can take 3-5 years. Not many people can live so long on their savings. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Secondly, launch no matter what. Nothing is perfect. So many people wait too long because they want to go out with a perfect product or service. Perfection is never going to be reached. If you have an idea, get out, start selling and you will sea if people buy it, if it is a good idea.
And the third thing is about community. When you are starting a business at the beginning you are on your own but you need to surround yourself with people like you. This is there ideas flow, where you can share tools, strategies, tactics or find support when things are not going well.
- Startups have many advantaged to corporations, for example, flexibility. But what disadvantages do they have?
- The biggest disadvantage is access to capital. And also it is a question of how you spend that capital. I remember once we applied for some capital and we got 50 thousand pounds to get into the business. Three weeks later money was gone and we did not have a clue where we spent that money.
That gave us a big lesson that no mater how much money you make it is about where you spend it and what is the return of money spent. More established companies have a structure where they know where they spend money and what return it gives.
Flexibility also can be seen as a disadvantage. Because one day you can work on one project and another day on another. It is easy to get confused and distracted instead of completing one project and making it work.
- What mouse traps do you see in the startup world?
- I think the biggest mousetrap can be in the focus. There are so many things to do when you start a company and you need to learn. So it is easy to get caught doing things that actually are not serving your company. To avoid that, a businessman should first create a prototype and then spend all his or her energy on marketing and selling. If you do that you will get feedback from your clients and you will know what you can do better.
- Do you think entrepreneurs from small countries like Lithuania has any advantage?
- I am living in London but I am originally from Italy. My country does not have a great economic situation at the moment. I also have a lot of friends from Eastern European countries. What I found is that if your country does not do well you are willing to work harder. People that are coming here from Italy will make everything to make their things go well.
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