Depending on where you start your entrepreneurial journey, your life skills, your lessons learned thus far and the obstacles you face in getting up and running your lessons learned will vary. Here is a short list of some of my most valuable lessons learned and how they relate to some advice I received from Peter Kemball.
Peter provided me with one of the most memorable and important lessons I have ever learned. Basically it goes something like this; 15% of people are truly altruistic and do things for the right reasons all the time, 70% of people are normal do things for the right reason most of the time and finally 15% of the people are just out for themselves, arrogant, bullies and just generally nasty. Understanding what motivates people and which bucket they fall into; 15% good, 70% normal or 15% nasty is super important.
Some of the best advice I ever received came from very close to home, my wife. Her advice to me was being nice to everyone. This is great advice and since Ottawa is really a very small town with everyone connected by one degree of separation and usually by multiple paths being nice is important. This applies to the first two buckets or 85% of the people. Usually the people in the top 15% bucket (Altruistic) are great to have as close friends.
Being nice to people doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is your friend, there is a difference. You need to collaborate and get along; however, certain relationships are more about business and less or even not at all about being friends. Separating business from being friends and knowing which category people fit into is really important. You need to deal with people in your life and business in the appropriate tone and tact. This has been a valuable lesson and one best summed up in a quote from Ben Franklin; “Those things that hurt, instruct”. This applies primarily to the second bucket or the 70% who could be either good friends or business associates, have a firm idea in your mind where people stand.
Finally there is the third and final bucket or that lower 15%. Keep an eye on these people, however, they will never and should never be friends and in a business situation be sure to protect yourself. If someone like this threatens your business then you should take appropriate action. Good entrepreneurs have a ruthless or shark streak in them that is kind of a survival mechanism and when threatened this characteristic kicks in. Identifying this type of person is super important and often they are great chameleons. Use proper business etiquette under normal circumstance, however, if threatened remember your first goal is the survival of your business.
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