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Entrepreneurship

10 Clichés Every Ambitious Person Needs To Remember

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“I have a dream.”

Those words echo from every human soul. Big or small, our dreams are launched with a swell of excitement, but it doesn’t take long to realize it’s not smooth sailing. When our GPS fails, we regret not checking Google Maps before taking off.

Indeed it helps to have a sense of direction. Often, we overlook the most obvious; we steer away from clichés because, well…they’re so cliché. But just because something is trite, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Whatever your dream is, here are 10 clichés that are worth remembering:

 

1. It’s not what you get, but who you become

Great words from Tony Robbins. In our hyper-materialistic world, success is gauged by wheels and white-picket fences. But the Mercedes will rust, and the house will need to be repainted; but the habits and characteristics you’ve cultivated on the way to earning those possessions, they’ll last a lifetime.

Rather than see personal development as a byproduct of success, see success as a byproduct of personal development. Einstein said, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” The latter will bring the former.

 

2. Quality will beat qualifications. Every time

You’ll question whether you’re qualified to do the work. Inevitably, you’ll run into someone with more degrees, more initials after their name, and you’ll put your tail between your legs.

But history is full of successful high-school and college dropouts: Anne Beiler of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels dropped out of high school; and of course, Richard Branson, who left school at 16. That being said, it’s not that they decided to cease education altogether—they just found other ways to educate themselves, and succeed.

At the end of the day, if your work absolutely rocks, nobody will care what piece of paper hangs on your wall. Do as Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

 

 3. If you want success, start failing

Failure and losing have the unique ability to uncover our blind spots. Significant improvement comes not from studying your strengths, but your weaknesses.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

It’s called iteration—refined progress toward a goal. It’s one thing to move forward, but another to do so with improvement. Failure is the drawing board for iteration.

 

4. You can’t please everyone

Even close friends and family won’t all be supportive of your dream. While it’s in our nature to love and be loved, to make friends, not enemies, striving to live up to someone else’s blueprint only creates bitterness.

Before David fought Goliath, he was told to put on King Saul’s armor. It was so uncomfortable he could barely walk. Only when he stripped the armor, and picked up his own sling, was he able to defeat Goliath. It’d be a different David & Goliath story had he taken King Saul’s advice.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking counsel and taking advice, but you have to filter the advice that propels you, from that which derails you. It’s wise to have an inner-circle of people you respect to speak into your life and act as a second filter, but ultimately, only you know deep-down what makes you happy. The sooner you realize you can’t please everyone, the better.

Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

 

5. Talent = 10,000 hours

The best athletes train even when they don’t feel like training. The best musicians play even when they don’t feel like playing. The best writers…you get the idea. While there’s much debate over Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, there’s convincing studies showing talent and success are cultivated rather than inherited.

Mastery and success isn’t arrived at on the back of good feelings, but pushing through the painful grind. Showing up and doing the work. Seth Godin says it best:

“The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.”

 

6. Just go with your gut

Or follow your heart. Fairytail-ish for sure, but solid advice nonetheless. We’ve all had “trusting your gut” experiences—something not quite right, and the right decision was unexplainably clear as day.

Daniel Kahnerman sheds light on our intuitive thought in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow; the effortless and automatic ‘knowing’ comes from our unconscious ability to process vast amounts of information. Because it happens beyond the scope of our conscious minds, we’re completely unaware of it, and so we label it a mysterious gut feeling.

There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes of our snap decisions—a method behind the madness; which makes it less mad, and quite trustworthy.

 

7. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

Nobody leaves a campfire without smelling like smoke. Subconsciously, we can’t help but take in information from our environment. And, after much exposure, it manifests in our behavior.

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most time with.”

We’re deeply impacted by the people we allow into our lives. That’s why “Mastermind” groups are so popular and effective among entrepreneurs.

It’s a good time to take inventory of the people closest to you. Are they lifting you up or bringing you down?

 

8. You gotta have a faith  

Human imagination continues to baffle scientists. In a study comparing pianists, those who imagined playing a melody performed almost identically to those who physically practiced. Elite athletes visualize a completed action before attempting it physically. Your imagination—creating a vision, blurs the lines of reality.

Writing down goals and dreams involves the imagination, and likewise with profound effects. Dr. Gail Matthews’ took 267 participants and found that those who wrote down their goals with weekly check-points had a 76% success rate compared with 43% who only stated their goals.

Practically living out your dreams is fueled through “impractically” dreaming out your dream. Write down and visualize goals often. Clear, and detailed—seeing yourself celebrating at the finish line.

 

9. Ain’t no valley low enough

Your dream won’t be presented on a silver platter. Every successful person bears scratches and scars.

J.K. Rowling, chased her dream from the age of 5. But before Harry Potter took over the world, Rowling spent years deep in the valley. Losing her mother, a failed marriage, whilst raising a daughter, Rowling reflects, “I was as poor as you can get without being homeless.”

Of course, depression and turmoil aren’t prerequisites for success—but sacrificing your comfort zone is. And by definition, that’s not a pleasurable experience. Think of Rowling’s words when you feel down and out, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

 

10. Don’t just make a dollar, make a difference

Inspirational men and women have a vision deeper than their pockets.

Let’s be real—money is important. It’s a powerful resource that can bring great change. And when ambition turns into success, wealth is sure to follow. But money can make or break you. Much like the ring Frodo carries, money has an all-consuming power. And if the scope of your dreams cannot see beyond dollars, your fulfillment will be as short-sighted.

Just take a look at the tragic ending for most lottery winners. Money without meaning is worthless. Create a grand vision for your success that extends beyond your own pockets, and your own life.

Entrepreneurship

Science is the Next Big Thing in Startups

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From pharmaceuticals to petrochemical processes: Newcomer companies and investors and investors alike are setting their sights on science. How the start-up scene moves beyond the mobile apps bubble…

For the last two years Silicon Valley analysts and venture capitalists are anticipating the burst of yet another bubble. This time, under the risk are the mobile start-ups which constitute the biggest share of the market. Out of 50 companies listed in Forbes’ “the hottest startup of 2015” (by valuation) only six companies are based on innovations in other-than-mobile area, one company provide cleaning services, while the rest are diverse mobile apps.

Meanwhile many products listed can be barely called innovative. A significant proportion of the listed start-ups are texting apps, apps for people search (starting from business partners to life partners) or delivery services. While those services can definitely facilitate one’s life, in general they differ from their predecessors by only a narrower audience.

Many venture investors expect stagnation if not decrease on the markets, which is why they start to transfer their capitals from start-ups offering customers software to start-ups offering specific solutions for existing businesses. Such companies are expected to demonstrate more stability in the near future.

The Market for Mobile Apps Might be Saturated

Back in 2012 a talented entrepreneur could walk into a venture capitalist’s office, say his startup was a mobile-first solution for pretty much any problem (payments! photos! blogging!), and walk out with a good-size seed investment. “That pitch was enough to get going,” says Roelof Botha, a partner with VC firm Sequoia Capital. “It’s not enough anymore.”

“I think investors are bored with investing in another messaging app. And our idea is crazy enough that it might just work. ”, has declared in 2014 Nadir Bagaveyev a founder of a start-up using 3-D printers to make rocket engines. By 2016 the company attracted investors funding sufficient to launch its first rocket.

Pharma and Biotech Start-Ups in High Demand

Currently the most successful science-based start-ups are the companies offering innovative solutions in the field of pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies. It’s noteworthy that despite the previous revelations and even judicial proceedings the list of the most expensive start-ups still includes Theranos, blood analyzing laboratory, whose story did not descend from the main pages of the global leading media from 2014.

It first amazed the audience with its fantastic take-off and then with its collapse. One of the crucial parts of the success story of this start-up is its fundamental difference from the majority of the services produced in the Silicon Valley. Unlike the others, it was not a story of yet another beautiful gadget for communication or mobile app, but the story of the scientific idea which intended to conquer the world.

The great success stories in other scientific areas are now happening on occasional basis. However certain facts allow to predict that the situation is to change soon. One of such factors is growing interest among the big corporations to attract innovative solutions from outside to develop their businesses.

Given the accelerating pace of scientific and technological development of the world, the activities of internal R & D departments are often turn to be insufficient to ensure stable development of innovative business. Outsourcing of the R&D may become the efficient mechanism to stimulate the growth of the company. And high-tech start-up can certainly benefit from it.

Start-Up Technology for the Petro-Business

In December, 2016 world leading companies in the field of gas processing, petrochemicals and chemicals announced their intentions to enforce their R&D capacities by attracting start-ups. 3M, AkzoNobel, BASF, The Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, Henkel, Honeywell UOP, LG Chem, Linde, Sibur, Solvay and Technip together created a global stage for startups and investors.

“The petrochemicals industry can and must rely on the potential of open innovations to facilitate further inventions and implementation of new solutions in all major application areas, from construction and medicine to packaging and 3D printing. Thanks to the participation of international partners, IQ-CHem is now the largest global project within the industry which attracts innovative solutions and provides for their implementation into practice,” said Vasily Nomokonov, Executive Director of Sibur, a company which coordinates the project.

Positive Experience in Chemicals and Beyond

Some of the listed companies have already gained positive experience in working with start-ups which may have driven them to elaborate a systemic approach to attract innovative companies.

At the beginning of 2016, SIBUR and RRT Global start-up reached an agreement to build a pilot plant for isomerization based on RRT Global technologies in Sibur’s Industrial Park SIBUR “Tolyattisintez”. According to Oleg Giyazov, co-founder and CEO of RRT Global cooperation with a large corporation bring significant advantages to his company.

“By cooperation with Sibur we get a huge industrial experience that enables us to develop technologies and solutions better fitted to the market demand. This advantage is often not given due attention, but we, on the contrary, see significant opportunities in it. Currently, RRT Global cooperates with several companies around the world” he said.

Another petrochemical leader BASF enjoys successful cooperation with Genomatica start-up. In 2013 BASF started the production of 1,4-butanediol based on renewable feedstock (renewable BDO) using Genomatica’s patented process and in 2015 the license was expanded to the Asian market.

Unlike traditional forms of cooperation between a start-up and a venture capitalist, a cooperation between start-up and a relevant corporation allows to minimize the risks associated with investing in a potentially promising idea where the key word is “potential” (but not “guaranteed”). While delivering services in the same field as the start-up the corporation gets an opportunity to more effectively and accurately estimate the market value of an innovative idea and to support its implementation.

Structural Changes Ahead: Outlines of A Coming Market

In the short term prospective, possibly in 2017, the global start-up market will face structural changes – both in terms of start-ups professional orientation and of funding mechanism. In the future science-based start-ups will dominate the market and will change our lives at a deeper level than the way of sending a text message or searching the restaurant for an evening meal. To be more concise this is already happening in the pharmaceutical industry, and the other scientific areas are to follow.

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About the Author

This article was written by Dominik Stephan of Process Worldwide. See more.

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Callum Connects

Norman Tien, Founder of Neuromath and Early Math Matters

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From a young age, Norman Tien, found his passion helping students as a math tutor and went on to translate that into a successful business.

What’s your story?
From the age of 14, I knew I would be in business for myself and started designing my company logo.

Growing up in a poor family, I worked part time while I was in school. That’s when I started tutoring and realised I had a gift to help students “see” mathematics. I delivered good results, and my students started to love math as well.

A turning point was when I was down with dengue fever and I realised I had to grow my business to the next level. I started a learning centre and that was the beginning of Neuromath. The initial years were tough as costs went up while my personal income took a dive. I almost gave up, but I pushed through.

Today, we have 3 specialty math enrichment centres managed and delivered by my dedicated team of teachers.

What excites you most about your industry?
“How to win” has always influenced how I position myself in the industry. I researched the psychology of learning, why some students are so naturally good at math, while others struggled. I managed to find the connection, and have always sought out niches to position myself so I can win.

In the beginning, I fused academic delivery with psychology to differentiate my services. Now I have a good team of teachers fully equipped with a psychological skillset.

In the next evolution of our business, we will incorporate technology into education in order to customise each student’s learning experience based on his or her needs.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and educated in Singapore. One key driver why I started a business was, as a youth, I witnessed how my dad struggled daily as a taxi driver trying to make ends meet.

That said, I am very blessed to be in Singapore and to be given the right education. I see this as a very important factor to my success today.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore – well, for one, most of my businesses are here. Singapore is convenient for business and is very well governed. There are rules and systems that make the entire entrepreneurial journey more secure here. One big plus is the location: Singapore is a hub that allows us to connect to the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
船到桥头自然直 –
There is a Chinese saying that when a boat goes near the pier, it will automatically align itself (with the current). It means we don’t have to worry too much, that things will take care of themselves.

A mentor once challenged me: “But who can guarantee you can even reach the pier?”

It is such a highly competitive world we are in, who can guarantee success? This is the ONE question that has been etched in my mind for decades. The Chinese saying always comes to mind when I am positioning, designing and strategizing for my business.

Who inspires you?
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew – The fact that he started ruling the country just like a startup. With limited resources, he was able to find a strong positioning to differentiate his country from the rest of the of Asia. With hardwork and proper planning, he transformed Singapore from a fishing village to a prominent financial hub in Asia.

Because Mr. Lee Kuan Yew positioned Singapore so well, government owned companies, such as Singapore Airlines, have emerged as the best in the world.

His story inspires me, spurs me to understand that success is not by chance but by design – every little step, all the strategies are all planned out. Not at all by chance.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
My business coach, Marshall Thurber, shared with me the power of the “Trim Tab” – a small part of the rudder system in a ship. This Trim Tab, despite its small size, is able to influence the entire ship’s direction by turning it.

This metaphor helped me see that a man can influence the entire world if the right effort is applied. We are now living in an entirely new world, the way we commute with an app on the phone – that’s the power of the Trim Tab at work.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would embark on the same journey but I would seek a mentor at a very early age.

I have been through many hard knocks along the way, and I definitely could have shortened the learning curve if I had a mentor to advise me on the many aspects of entrepreneurship.

How do you unwind?
Driving down long highways helps me unwind, that’s when I let my mind relax and wander.

I love long distance driving and riding. My wife gave me a Harley Davidson Tourer for my 50th birthday and we intend to embark on riding holidays together in Asia.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hong Kong – I love the fast pace and the vibrance of the city. I love the cars there and it’s a very unique and exciting experience for me. And of course, I love the food there too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
One Minute Millionaire – this book highlights the mindset of an individual that is the key determinant for success in whatever we embark on. As long as we know we have a very strong reason why we need to do it, we can do it!

Shameless plug for your business:
I am the CEO and Founder of 2 Math enrichment brands:
Neuromath is a Specialist Math Learning Centre that helps students from Primary 1 to Junior College, empowering them with strategies, skills and a strong desire to learn and problem solve. We use technology to train students to avoid careless mistakes reclaiming 30 marks or more in Math exams and achieve their full potential in math.
www.neuromath.com.sg

Early Math Matters is a premier Mathematics and Cognitive Development enrichment centre for preschool children aged 3-6 years old. Through purposeful play and our renowned EMM approach, we help learners build a strong foundation for problem solving at an early age, and instil in them a passion & love for math that will stay with them for life.
www.earlymathmatters.com

We are actively seeking passionate teachers, entrepreneurs and investors who are keen to grow the education business with us.

How can people connect with you?
I speak regularly at workshops for schools, parents and platforms demonstrating the use of technology for peak performance in education.

Do contact me at
www.NormanTien.com

Alternatively, you can connect with me:
www.NormanTien.com/facebook
www.NormanTien.com/linkedin

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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