“Success is measured by the numbers of lives impacted positively by a person and not by the amount of money a person has.” –Naveen Jain
Who Is Naveen K. Jain?
Naveen K. Jain is a typical rags-to-riches story who is amongst the most successful Indian-born American entrepreneurs.
Ever search for a name on the Internet only to be transported over to Intelius and realize that you can perform a personal background check on anyone? Ever wonder who created this search engine?
It’s Naveen Jain, a serial entrepreneur and founder of companies like Infospace, Intelius, TalentWise, inome Inc, an information genome project and Moon Express, a company bent on mining the moon for resources of economic value. You see, Naveen Jain is a man with big ideas and even bigger ambition.
He came to America from a poor village in India with just $5 and today, is worth around $2.2 Billion giving him rank 121 in Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans (2000). But unlike most self-made people, he built his empire with one goal: to help humanity through innovation and entrepreneurship.
“You want to become a billionaire, ask yourself how can you solve a ten billion dollar problem,” said the inspiring yet modest entrepreneur as he recalled days of his humble childhood migrating from village to village in India where he would gaze at the moon and wonder how he could get there.
Naveen believes that entrepreneurial success usually comes through great execution, simply by doing a superior job of doing the blocking and tackling.
Here’s Naveen’s Top 10 secrets of becoming a successful entrepreneur:
#10. You must be passionate about what you are trying to achieve.
That means you’re willing to sacrifice a large part of your waking hours to the idea you’ve come up with. Passion will ignite the same intensity in others who join you as you build a team to succeed in this endeavor. And with passion, both your team and your customers are more likely to truly believe in what you are trying to do.
#9. Great entrepreneurs focus intensely on an opportunity where others see nothing.
This focus and intensity help eliminate wasted effort and distractions. Most companies die from indigestion rather than starvation, i.e., companies suffer from doing too many things at the same time rather than doing too few things very well. Stay focused on the mission.
#8. Success comes only from hard work.
We all know that there is no such thing as overnight success. Behind every overnight success lie years of hard work and sweat. People with luck will tell you there’s no easy way to achieve success and that luck comes to those who work hard.
Successful entrepreneurs always give 100% of their efforts to everything they do. If you know you are giving your best effort, you’ll never have any reason for regrets. Focus on things you can control; stay focused on your efforts, and let the results be what they will be.
#7. The road to success is going to be long, so remember to enjoy the journey.
Everyone will teach you to focus on goals, but successful people focus on the journey and celebrate the milestones along the way. Is it worth spending a large part of your life trying to reach the destination if you didn’t enjoy the journey? Won’t the team you attract to join you on your mission also enjoy the journey more? Wouldn’t it be better for all of you to have the time of your life during the journey, even if the destination is never reached?
#6. Trust your gut instinct more than any spreadsheet.
There are too many variables in the real world that you simply can’t put into a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets spit out results from your inexact assumptions and give you a false sense of security. In most cases, your heart and gut are still your best guide. The human brain works as a binary computer and can analyze only the exact information-based zeros and ones (or black and white). Our heart is more like a chemical computer that uses fuzzy logic to analyze information that can’t be easily defined in zeros and ones. We’ve all had experiences in business where our heart told us something was wrong while our brain was still trying to use logic to figure it all out. Sometimes a faint voice based on instinct resonates far more strongly than overpowering logic.
#5. Be flexible but persistent–every entrepreneur has to be agile to perform.
You have to continuously learn and adapt as new information becomes available. At the same time, you have to remain persistent to the cause and mission of your enterprise. That’s where that faint voice becomes so important, especially when it is giving you early warning signals that things are going off track. Successful entrepreneurs find the balance between listening to that voice and staying persistent in driving for success–because sometimes success is waiting right across from the transitional bump that’s disguised as failure.
#4. Rely on your team. It’s a simple fact: No individual can be good at everything.
Everyone needs people who have complementary sets of skills. Entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch, and it’s very hard for them to believe that they are not good at certain things. It takes a lot of soul searching to find your own core skills and strengths. After that, find the smartest people you can who complement your strengths. It’s easy to get attracted to people who are like you; the trick is to find people who are not like you but who are good at what they do–and what you can’t do.
#3. Execution, execution, execution.
Unless you are the smartest person on earth (and who is), it’s likely that many others have thought about doing the same thing you’re trying to do. Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. A great strategy alone won’t win a game or a battle; the win comes from basic blocking and tackling.
#2. You can’t achieve long-term success without having honesty and integrity.
These two qualities need to be at the core of everything we do. Everybody has a conscience, but too many people stop listening to it. There is always that faint voice that warns you when you are not being completely honest or even slightly off track from the path of integrity. Be sure to listen to that voice.
#1. Success is a long journey and much more rewarding if you give back.
By the time you get to success, lots of people will have helped you along the way. You’ll learn that you rarely get a chance to help the people who helped you, because in most cases, you don’t even know who they were. The only way to pay back the debts we owe is to help people we can help–and hope they will go on to help more people.
When we are successful, we draw so much from the community and society that we live in that we should think in terms of how we can help others in return. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being kind to people. Other times, offering a sympathetic ear or a kind word is all that’s needed. It’s our responsibility to do “good” with the resources we have available.