Friday 5: Advice from Successful Entrepreneurs


At IDEA, it is our ultimate goal to help our ventures succeed. We have many resources available to ensure this success, including mentors and coaches. Our mentors are professionals in their field that advise and guide ventures, and our coaches are Northeastern students who work as consultants with ventures on a day-to-day basis. With so many dedicated members involved, there is never a shortage of advice or ideas to being thrown around the IDEA lab. This week’s Friday 5 gives advice from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs who have undoubtedly inspired our ventures, mentors and coaches alike.

1) Break the rules. Richard Branson has been quoted saying, “you don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” By going against the grain and trying something that’s never been done might not work out, but it might lead to your next idea, and will be much more worth it if it does work.

2) Have some ambition. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart has said that “high expectations are the key to everything.” If you’re not aiming high yourself, why should investors, employees, or your team expect success? Chances are, if you’re starting your own business you have quite a bit of ambition. The key is making sure that ambition grows with your ideas and never burns out.

3) Never settle. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, knows that “the most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement.” Your startup journey will be filled with highs and lows, but entrepreneurs should always be looking for the next bar to raise or the next opportunity to grow.

4) Build the team that’s right for you. LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman knew the importance of team effort when he said no matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” You may have the idea, the brains, the drive to get started, but finding people who can further that idea and make it a reality is truly invaluable to your business’ success. Find the right people who share your ultimate goal and will work hard to get there.

5) Trust your gut. It’s true that the advice of others and making connections with people can take your business to the next level. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to every piece of feedback you’re given, especially negative ones. You are responsible for the success of your business, and there’s a reason for that.  Steve Jobs said “what’s most important is having the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” It’s no secret that people doubted Steve Jobs when the idea for Apple was first conceived. Imagine if he had listened.