3 Pieces of advice for starting your own business – John Safa
Jump to 18.53 to listen to John 3 pieces of advice
John’s career started when he was 11 years old after a chance encounter with a computer magazine. His first computer was a ZX81 Sinclair and he had to type in his programs from computer magazines. Always a fan of taking things apart to find out how they worked John started deconstructing the programs he was typing into his computer and began learning from there.
This combined with a natural flair for working with people quickly saw John working in consultancy. John worked with Experian and in his spare time, he wrote a security application to protect some software he’d been writing. John developed software protection technology that turned into a powerful security engine that was used for companies like Microsoft Games.
3 Pieces of advice for starting your own business
- Don’t do it for money/ Don’t be scared of failure
I always say the difference between owning your own business and working for someone else is you know when you’re going to get sacked. But there is no true job security when working for yourself or someone else so don’t be scared of going it on your own. Also, don’t be scared of failure. Failure is not a negative, see it as a process of gaining strength. You’ll succeed at times and you’ll fail at times but you’ll only learn if you try.
- Surround yourself with high caliber people and listen
The second bit of advice from me would definitely be to listen. Always listen to what people say, because others have been where you are now. They know the hurdles you need to overcome and the pitfalls you might encounter.
- Be true to yourself
This one might sound a bit cheesy but it’s true. Be true to your self and treat everyone with the utmost respect. I can tell you a story with this one that really highlights my point:
“In my first startup, I was needing to raise some money. I was in a coffee shop across the road from a potential investors office getting my presentation ready before my meeting. I was sat at a table with my laptop going over my notes and an old lady accidentally spills coffee all over my laptop and me!
I went to the restroom, cleaned my self up. The old lady was so apologetic, I told her not to worry it could have happened to anyone. An old man behind me smiled and said it was good of me to be courteous, he then left.
Anyway, paid my bill and sorted my stuff out and went over for the meeting. In the boardroom where my presentation was supposed to be happening was the same old man I’d just spoke to. He said to me ‘I invest in people John, how much do you need and when do you need it!.’
So, the moral of the story is to treat everybody with respect, treat everybody nicely, even if they screw you over and mess you about. You have no idea whose path you’re going to cross.
00.31 John’s background and career.
06.33 John’s leadership style.
09.50 The influence California had on John.
12.41 What can US business learn from UK business practices.
14.20 Networking in the States.
15.33 3 pieces of advice for starting your own business.
21.01 Taking a considerate approach to people management.
26.38 Using business to change the world.