As one of the most successful people in this decade, Elon Musk has come a long way from his humble roots. He was born on June 28, 1971, in South Africa, but he relocated to Canada at the age of 17. He went to The University of Pennsylvania and graduated with degrees from business and physics. After dropping out of Stanford University, Musk, and his brother found their first web software company, Zip2. In 2013 his estimated net worth was $6.7 billion. He also found several other companies like PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and SolarCity. With these over-the-top achievements and credentials, we can surely learn a lot from Elon Musk. Here are fifteen ideas that startup companies can get from the man himself:
- Thinking Out of This World. Impressive, one of the words that best describes what Elon Musk’s impact has made in this world. His car company Tesla Motors can be compared to what Henry Ford has done for the auto industry, in terms of innovations. SpaceX is utterly planning to build a sustainable colony on Mars.
- Opportunities in Emerging Industries. One thing about Elon Musk is he prefers to build companies in developing industries. In the late 90’s the Internet industry was still on it initial, He started Zip2 and then Paypal. These companies were successful in the early years of the Internet boom. Now with the emergence of electric cars, he started Tesla Motors and the development of space transportation he founded SpaceX. His companies benefited from the high growth potential and competition in emerging industries.
- The Quality of the Product Comes First. He always prioritizes the quality of the products from his companies. “I’d say stay very focused on the quality of the product” as Musk stated. With innovative rockets from SpaceX and of course the high standards that Tesla Motors has set for the electric cars they produce.
- Prepare to Change Direction. To change direction in business is good, but you must keep one foot grounded to where you started. Elon Musk did this when his online bank X.com changed to PayPal, a popular global payment transfer provider. PayPal is now unrecognizable from X.com, but he still used many of its resources. One of them is the safe method of transferring money online through the recipient’s email address, a method the Musk developed. PayPal gained so much growth when Ebay added it as a feature.
- Accept an Exit Plan. If Musk stayed working in PayPal he would still be rich and successful, but he did not stop there. He learned when to exit his startup companies. Zip2, an online city guide was sold by Musk to Compaq for $307 million; he then went to found X.com that became PayPal, which he also sold to Ebay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. For him when starting a business, you should keep in mind to end it.
- Invest Earning to New Businesses. Musk invested at least 45% of his earnings from the business he has sold to his brand new businesses. He did this when he sold Zip2 and founded PayPal. After selling PayPal he invested as much as $100 million in creating SpaceX.
- Hire Fast, Hire Carefully. Elon Musk has considered hiring people as his biggest challenged. He said “I have an exceptionally high standard for people that get hired and especially for SpaceX. We really aspire to hire quite literally the best people in the world at their job. Finding such people is so hard.”
- Be Your Happiest Customer. Musk loves the Tesla Model 6 that he went on a road trip with his sons with it across the USA. He also announced this on Twitter. More than a PR campaign, he put himself behind the wheel to test the product of his company. At first-hand he tested and noted how to improve Tesla’s premiere model.
- Make Failure an Option. A successful business has taken a lot of risk in making decisions. All of his business came from industries that have the hesitant history of making a profit. Like the early days of the Internet, electric vehicles and space travel. Musk knew that the chance of failure is high but he always made a contingency plan for it.
- Be a Leader, Put Yourself Forward. On August 2008, after the failure of SpaceX’s third attempt at launching a rocket, a lot of its employees were distraught and feared to lose their jobs. Musk addressed the crowd revealing that he already secured further investment for SpaceX so that they can continue on the mission in case of failure. “For my part, I will never give up, and I mean never.” Musk said.
- Be Driven to Hard Work. Elon Musk has worked for 100 hours weekly between Tesla and Space X according to sources. He considers hard work as the foundation of his success. Musk offered, “Just work like hell. If other people are putting 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, even if you’re doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”
- Know the Limits. In 2006, Musk had the idea for a solar power company, during that time he was already busy running both Tesla Motors and Space X. So that the idea won’t go to waste, he helped Peter and Lyndon Rive to found SolarCity. Musk served as the principal investor and chairman of the board for the company.
- Find a Higher Purpose. On his idea for a colony on Mars, Musk considered it as the future of the human Species. “I think it’s important that humanity becomes a multi-planet species. I think most people would agree that a future where we are a space-faring civilization is inspiring and exciting compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event. That’s really why I started SpaceX.”
- Start Businesses the Align with Your Higher Purpose. Elon Musk looked beyond profits when he founded his business. He wanted to “expand the scope and scale of consciousness.” He has in mind that he helps in reducing carbon emissions, produce renewable energy and eventually prevent human extinction with his businesses: Tesla Motors, Solar City and Space X.
Elon Musk’s 15 Lessons for Your Startup Business – Make Money Online. (2016, January 01). Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://www.incomediary.com/business-startup-lessons-elon-musk