“Elon Musk: 50 Life and Business Lessons from Elon Musk.”.George Ilian.
Lesson 1: Success is not about an individual. It is also about the team that has got them into the position where they can succeed.
Lesson 2: A conventional education isn’t for everyone. Sometimes the most important lessons are those we can teach ourselves.
Lesson 3: You are never too young to start being an entrepreneur. Have faith in your ideas, and encourage your children to develop theirs too.
Lesson 4: The relationships – personal and professional – that you establish in college might well be some of the most important you ever have. Maintain your friendships and associations, and support one another.
Lesson 5: As an entrepreneur you have to know what is important to you. Once you have established this, it will dictate the direction you and your businesses follow.
Lesson 6: Take advantage of the capital – human and financial – that is available to you. Be grateful for it and deploy it in such away that everyone who contributes will benefit.
Lesson 7: However great your idea, there is no substitute for hard graft and the right timing. All three of these things need to be in place if your business is going to be a success.
Lesson 8: If you have a gut hunch about the potential of an emerging market, be prepared to put your money where your mouth is. Only then can you test the waters and benefit from the upswing.
Lesson 9: You won’t always be the only person to have come up with a great idea. Sometimes you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons of competition v joining forces.
Lesson 10: We are all learning throughout our careers. Everyone needs to be humble and to be able to bounce back when they have made a mistake.
Lesson 11: Sometimes even the sky isn’t the limit . If you have a dream , however hard it might be to realise it, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it happen. Giant leaps forward demand giant dreams!
Lesson 12: Money alone doesn’t buy you credibility. You need to do your research , plan , and bring in the right level of expertise if you want to be respected in new fields and markets.
Lesson 13: Applying models and strategies from different industries can make you huge savings in your own industry, particularly if you have the capacity and inclination to do things in house.
Lesson 14: If you want to make the very best products, you have to hire the very best people in their field.
Lesson 15: Never rest on your laurels. You have to constantly be thinking of – and actioning – the next big idea if you want to keep ahead and ensure your offering is fresh.
Lesson 16: Make sure that you have sufficient cash reserves to carry you through your product development phase comfortably. You don’t want to run out of money at the final hurdle and be left with nothing to show for your effort and expenditure.
Lesson 17: One relatively small oversight or error can have dramatic consequences. Don’t overlook the small things.
Lesson 18: Cash flow problems kill companies. You need to understand clearly exactly how much money will be needed at each stage of your business’ growth, and where that money is going to come from.
Lesson 19: You will put your best efforts into pursuing an idea if it excites you. Yes, there has to be a business case for the idea too, but it is far more rewarding (and more likely to succeed) if your business is also a passion.
Lesson 20: If you can provide a high-quality product or service at a competitive rate, customers will come to you and you will dominate your marketplace.
Lesson 21: The best ideas aren’t necessarily new ideas. Be prepared to take products or services that already exist and rework and improve them for the modern world.
Lesson 22: If you find someone else who has a great idea, and you have the skills, connections and capital to make it happen, work together. You don’t have to be the inventor!
Lesson 23: If you want to make really big bucks, there will always be an element of risk involved. You need to do your homework and decide if the gamble is worth it, ignoring detractors if you think that the odds are indeed in your favour.
Lesson 24: People will always try to rain on your parade. Keep your head down, keep working and ignore idle gossip. This is the only way to remain focus and not get bogged down by other people’s negativity.
Lesson 25: Investment and growth are all about confidence. When one investor comes onboard and in doing so endorses your business, others will more than likely follow. The challenge is getting that first one to say “Yes”!
Lesson 26: Right from the start you should know what your exit strategy for your company will be, and what the necessary conditions are for that exit. When the time is right, don’t be afraid to let go. This is, after all, what you have been working for all along.
Lesson 27: Creating aspiration creates demand for your brand. It
is far easier to start at the top, selling and building a reputation for quality, than to begin at the bottom end of the market and to try to claw your way up.
Lesson 28: Be aware of all the essential components in the product you sell. Their quality, reliability and cost will have a significant impact on your end product too.
Lesson 29 : There is money to be made reworking your existing products in new and imaginative ways. Think outside the box for ways you can enter new markets.
Lesson 30: No market or business exists in isolation. Be constantly on the look out for ways to collaborate and build relationships that will stand you in good stead in the future.
Lesson 31: Apply your expertise to real world problems if you really want to have a positive impact on the world in which you live.
Lesson 32: Commercial secrecy, though understandable, is an outdated model. You will make progress far faster if you can access the ‘hive mind’ of the wider community and harness their ideas.
Lesson 33: You don’t have to be possessive about your ideas. If you really want something to succeed, be prepared to let others have a go at it if you don’t have the skills or resources available to you at the time
Lesson 34: Vested interests can block even the best ideas. Look ahead and find ways to circumvent them so that your projects don’t get mired in the mud.
Lesson 35: In today’s multi disciplinary world, it is not enough to be an expert in just one area. A true renaissance man will earn the appreciation of his peers in every field.
Lesson 36: Academic awards can enhance your credibility in the commercial world too. The two worlds, though they sometimes can appear to be poles apart, are in fact compatible and have mutual benefits.
Lesson 37: Even when selling high ticket items like space crafts and electronic cars, there is no harm in appealing to the general public through popular culture.
Lesson 38: Politics, and indeed one’s own political position, is not black and white. You can, and should, shift your allegiance as required by your commercial needs.
Lesson 39: When lobbying and making donations, focus on the causes that make most business sense. Consider these efforts as part of your core business development costs, and take them seriously.
Lesson 40: If the criticism of hypocrisy is levelled at you, have a good reason for your change of heart.
Lesson 41: Playing to the gallery will earn you plenty of Brownie points amongst the elite. Look after your supporters, and they will look after you.
Lesson 42: If there is something out there that worries you or that you fear, be honest about it. Don’t hide in the dark and hope that it goes away. Instead, think about what you can do to overcome the threat and tackle it head on.
Lesson 43: The characteristics that make you successful in business are not necessarily characteristics which will serve you well in other aspects of your life.
Lesson 44: No amount of money makes you immune from personal tragedy. What is important is how you respond when that tragedy strikes.
Lesson 45: A successful marriage depends on mutual respect and balance. If it is important to you, you need to work as hard at your relationship as you do at your career.
Lesson 46: If you are going to mix marriage and money, make sure the paperwork is sorted out before you start. If you don’t, only the lawyers will win.
Lesson 47: In every walk of life, civility makes things far, far easier for everyone involved.
Lesson 48: The prying and speculating of the press puts every high profile relationship under pressure. Be clear about what you are and are not prepared to share with the media and the public, and defend your right to privacy to that those around you are protected.
Lesson 49: Support only the things which really interest you. If you make money, every cat and dog home will come begging, but you don’t have to fund them all. Use your money wisely.
Lesson 50: As an entrepreneur, you have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of innovators. Doing so may well be the greatest legacy you leave.