"Always take a gun to knife fight"
Technology entrepreneur Mike Lynch shares his tips on building a brilliant business
Mike Lynch, the technology entrepreneur described as Europe's answer to Bill Gates, was at Cass Business School to deliver a lecture titled 'Building a brilliant business'. Lynch is responsible for the biggest ever sale of a UK technology company, having founded Autonomy in 1996, and sold it to Hewlett Packard for $11bn in 2011. Here are his tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Watch the Mike Lynch lecture, 'Building a brilliant business'
• Start with naivety. You never start something if you always see the difficulties. You need to clear space for people to think the unthinkable. Take 10 minutes to talk about why an idea might work and 10 minutes to discuss why it might not
• Take control. Ignore the emails in your inbox when you arrive in the morning otherwise you work to someone else's agenda. Write a list of the five things you want to get done, and do them
• Question the status quo. If you hear the potted phrase, "To do it properly, you have to…" ask why it has to happen that way
• Be prepared to do a U-turn. There are almost no examples of successful businesses that followed their original plan. You have to continually adapt to new information
• Always take a gun to a knife fight. Don't think about starting a business unless you have a massive advantage
• Don't get drawn into his kind of fight. Most businesses define themselves in terms of who else is around the landscape. For example, "We're like Facebook but…". Create your own fight instead
• Crossover is what matters. We like to hang around with people who are like us. But in business you must create a team from people who have skills and attributes that you don't
• Admit you don't have a clue. One of the best ways to run a business is to admit you don't know what's going to happen all the time, and then hedge
• Reward talented staff. If you want to be successful, look after your best people.
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