Founders' Leadership Series: Key Values for a Successful Entrepreneur

NESsT is headquartered in San Francisco, where entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology meet to solve problems in our daily routines and in global issues that will impact generations to come. I recently visited the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center to hear leading investor and Stanford Business School professor, Andy Rachleff, share the key values he's observed in entrepreneurs of successful businesses he's worked with.

Watch the full one-hour interview or read the key takeaways below!

  1.  Ask yourself: What do you uniquely offer to people that they desperately want?
  2. On market fit and exponential organic growth: Spend no money on marketing initially. Identify product market fit by seeing how it spreads through word-of-mouth. For exponential organic growth, uniquely serve them.
  3. On Growth: Appealing to everyone appeals to no one. "I'd rather have 70% love us and 30% hate us than 100% kinda like us... From there on,  growth took off."
  4. How to maintain the company culture? A great leader needs to model the behavior they want. Everyone models their behavior behind the CEO.
  5. Recruiting talent & the Fear of Loss strategy: People are motivated more by the fear of losing out on an opportunity than by the joy of gaining. Potential hires commit when they think, "I don't want to miss out on the opportunity of working here," as opposed to "What a great opportunity!"
  6. Your Vision: You need a compelling vision. It has to be authentic. If the leaders of the project do not have a vision it doesn't do well. You can teach management skills, you can't teach the vision.
  7. Skills of a CEO: Judgment distinguishes the great entrepreneurs and CEOs. They're seldom the smartest but they are the oneswith the best judgment. You will never see the exact same pattern, but your judgment should improve. "Pay attention to everything that goes on around you so you can develop that mental database."
  8. What recommendations do you have for competing with a lot of people? Don't. It's impossible to beat someone at their own game. Don't compete if you don't have an unfair advantage.
  9. Leadership Tips: Beware - the most dangerous people are high influence and low judgment. Intuition is one of the most important skills.