If you haven’t heard Jaylen Bledsoe, age 15 is the CEO of a $3.5 million technology company in Americas Mid West.
As someone who coaches and mentors young entrepreneurs I clicked the link when I saw it on my Facebook wall quicker than you could say “I wish he were my son”.
…and here’s what I saw
Now, I don’t know about you but the bit that stuck out for me was the advice given by his mentor, grocery store chain CEO Scott Schnuck.
“Take risks. As a minor, there’s nothing you can do that will shoot you down for too long. You can always jump back up and keep going.”
You can tell that Jaylen regards this as one of his key success factors. He had comfort in knowing that he had ‘time on his side’. That he had enough time to recover from any seeming failure.
However, in Jaylens case, his business has clearly gone from strength to strength. The fear of risk has been minimised by his mentor and his appetite for risk has increased, giving room for success.
The irony is that there is no event in business that you cannot recover from. Some of the most successful business people of our time have experienced huge, seeming failure and bounced back, or should I say, bounced forward into their equally huge successes.
This tells me is that what separates Jaylen from his competition and for those struggling with success, is his mindset. He’s not anchored by the thought of risk and therefore takes them.
Ernest Hemingway said, “Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age.”
Age uh? Hmmm…How limiting!
We tend to adopt whatever the status quo dictates, but it’s important to recognise that this isn’t a requirement of life or business. We don’t have to think that way or believe that what Mr. Hemingway suggests should apply to us (even though it may rightly apply to most).
The sooner we “get” that, the closer we get to success.
But let’s face it, risk is a problem; only today, a young woman came to me for advice because she was afraid to risk her day job to start her business. She had secured a business loan and even had a windfall amounting to £’000’s. This told me that money isn’t the underlying reason why a lot people don’t start a business it is fear that stems from the need to risk something. This is something we place more value on that the desire for greater success.
In my experience, and studying the outcomes of entrepreneurs around me over the last 20 years, there is however something that will minimise risk each time.
Excellence. Yes it’s true.
If you check out what our friend Jaylen actually does in his business, you may be surprised at the fact that he’s not reinventing the wheel with his offering. There are 100’s probably 1,000’s of companies across the US in direct competition to Jaylen but he’s doing simply doing it better than them.
Excellence isn’t just something you slap onto the end of your strap line. It’s not another managerial word you throw at your team on a Monday morning. It has to be part of the culture of your business, be it a corporation or a one-man band.
This is a probably the most basic unique selling point a business can have. It doesn’t require the application of rocket science but in order to pull it off it does require a little passion. Now I don’t necessarily mean passion for the overarching business idea or industry, but people passionately executing the thing that they’re doing. By this I mean people who are passionate about marketing, operations, finance, HR, PR etc. It’s arguably not their job to be passionate about the reason you set up your business – that’s your job. And your job is to get the best people in place to execute that business with a degree of excellence that secures your position in the market and reduces risk so you can sleep at night.
Sound too simple? Well Jack Welch former chairman and CEO of General Electric said: “Don’t make the process harder than it is.“ – So I won’t J
…and with that – to your success.
Julian “The Ultrapreneur” Hall