This post contains the most valuable lessons I have learnt in my life so far.
Never in my life I learnt so much about myself and others before this year.
There are many events that lead me to eventually discovering myself, including: failing in managing a team, losing money in investments, failing in a partnership, and eventually realizing there was something really wrong with me.
The moment I realize there was something wrong with me, I started to look for answers. One day, my mentor at EO Accelerator, ko Michel said, “Vincent, you should join AsiaWorks training.”
I felt lost, so I went for it. I knew I needed to fix/grow myself. I was ready to discover myself. I make a summary of what I have learnt this year in this post.
Future Vincent, come back to this post again when you feel lost.
To Future Vincent: You need to realize that you were once selfish, arrogant, irresponsible, and afraid. Those behaviors may appear again. You have to overcome all of those, because you love your family, wife, children, friends, customers, employees, investors, mentors, and everyone around you. Be Bold, Responsible, and Passionate!
Key Life Lessons
1. Love 100%
I had a different childhood. My childhood was filled with a significant amount of pain and sadness. It shaped me into someone who is afraid to love and trust 100%. I wasn’t genuinely happy. I felt lonely. I felt that nobody cared about me during my darkest times.
Without me realizing, I was not kind and caring enough to the people around me. Sometimes, I said hurtful things to people I love most, including my mom, my girlfriend (now my fiancee), and many others.
I said I love them, but I said hurtful things to them. I made mistakes that I wish I could cancel. I wasn’t close with my family members. I didn’t even know what was going on with them or what they felt. All I cared about was myself. I deserved a wake-up call. 2018 is the time.
In AsiaWorks, I learnt about my false beliefs and examined they way I had been living my life. I needed a breakthrough to change everything. Everything changes when I chose to forgive myself and the people who have hurt me. I apologize to people I have hurt. The moment they have forgiven me, I felt happy and grateful. I knew that after this, my life would never be the same.
Everything is so beautiful now.
I am now committed to love 100% and show my love through actions, not just words. Thanks Ma, Pa, Jun, Cie, Dek, and all my friends (Wis, Steven, Huba, Felle, etc).
I love you. Thanks for loving me despite all my weaknesses.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I read the quote above often. I thought I understood it. Now, I finally understand. Thanks God for giving me the strength and blessing to love.
2. Receive Love, Support, and Help
I did not want to accept too much support from others. I was afraid of getting hurt if I was too close with someone. It made me feel alone.
I used to think that if I accept help, then it means I need to give something back. I was wrong. Maybe people just care about me and genuinely want to help me, they might not expect anything in return. The moment I understand that, I can naturally give something to others without expecting anything too. And it feels good to be able to do that.
It’s ok to receive help, support, and love. It’s ok to be close with others. It’s ok to love and maybe people don’t love you back. It’s ok to help and maybe people don’t help you back.
It turns out, when I help and love people unconditionally, they respond. I’m glad that I can be the reason for someone to smile everyday, that they know, people do care about them.
3. Caring Means Taking Risks
If I care about someone, it doesn’t mean I need to say yes to anything he/she says or do. It means that I truly think about the long term impact for him/her. If it is wrong, I will give a constructive feedback. Not just saying ‘yes’ to make someone happy.
This is not easy. Others may think that I don’t like them. Others may think I’m not supportive. Saying the right thing requires me to take risks. It means I care about someone more than my own image and comfort.
As long as the intention is good and kind. It’s ok, one day that person will understand. He/she will appreciate what I have done.
Key Business Lessons
In 2018, I also learn about Scaling Up a Business. Thanks to Ci Stephanie that accepts me to join Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator.
During this program, I met amazing people.
I can’t emphasize enough how amazing they are. EO contains a group of people who are truly visionary, passionate, caring, humble, and hungry for knowledge.
Every moment with them makes me grow exponentially.
Before I discuss about the lessons, I would firstly thank EO-ers:
Ci Stephanie, Ko Michel, Ko Ivan, Ci Mariko, Ci Irene, Mr George, Ko Joko, Maxim, Dama, Ci Fina, Inka, Gary, Daniel, Astri, and many more. The insights you share, have given a huge impact in my understanding about many aspects in business and life.
Also thanks to amazing EO Accelerator members that become friends with whom I could share my stories heart-to-heart:
Felle, Yasa, Gazan, Leon, Jeffrey, and others.
1. Live a purpose-driven life (Build a purpose-driven company)
This is the most crucial thing I learn about business.
This insight is combined from someone whose business generate $200+ million in revenue annually and the founder of Priceline (Jeff Hoffman).
“Money is small. It doesn’t make you wake up in the morning and be passionate. Whether you make IDR 10 M, IDR 100 M, IDR 1 T, it doesn’t matter. What makes me happy is to make an impact in people’s lives. Believe in something bigger than ourselves. Why do we exist? Why do we do what we do?”
The quote above is really powerful. It made me rethink how I lived my life. I couldn’t sleep that night. In the morning, I decided that I’m gonna make an impact that is far more important than just my own benefits.
Insights from Jeff Hoffman:
1. Use your business to achieve your dream, not prevent them. Sometimes we forgot about this. We work hard, but not exactly feeling fulfilled.
What are the top 3 things I want to do before I die to make my life epic?
Do the things I do every day contribute to achieving those? If not, why?
2. Entrepreneurship is about designing the future we want. Not about making money. What are the things we want to fix? Jeff was queuing for flight ticket for 1 hour, when he got his turn, he saw a woman printed the flight ticket and gave him. He thought it was absurd to wait for 1 hour for a paper, he then created Priceline, went from unemployed to building a $100 million company in 3 years.
3. You may be successful, but will you matter? Achieving your personal goals is called success, but if you want to matter to people you need to help others.
4. Sometimes when we saw people suffering we said “They should help them”. However, there is no “they”. I should be the one who help them! Always ask yourself, “Why not me?”
5. “Sell more flowers”. The idea of a great execution is to make sure every single person in the team do something that contributes to the same end game.
“The mechanic would change the oil filter of the delivery truck to save fuel, to deliver more flowers. Then use the money saved to print brochures and make more sale.”
Always ask everyone in the team, “what do you do now that can help us sell more flowers?”
Note: “sell more flowers” can be changed to whatever result we want to happen.
2. Leaving 1 golden opportunity and 10 land mines
As an entrepreneur, I take risks. Sometimes I made decision without really thinking carefully. Yes, there is a golden opportunity, but is it attached with land mines? If yes, how many?
I commit to be careful and take calculated risks from now on. It’s ok to miss an opportunity. Opportunities are like buses, there will be another one coming.
3. Sincerity and loyalty
Sincerity and loyalty are gold. Is a human measured by how much money he/she has?
Or how much impact he/she has created? I believe we are measured by the impact and value we bring to the world.
“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person,” says Buffett. “Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. I tell them, ‘Everyone here has the intelligence and energy—you wouldn’t be here otherwise. But the integrity is up to you. You weren’t born with it, you can’t learn it in school.”
Be a person with integrity. Look for partners with integrity too. Without it, intelligence and energy don’t matter.
4. 3C’s of hiring
Chemistry: Does he/she think the same way?
Character: Does he/she blame previous company / others? If yes, he/she will do the same to you too.
Capacity: Does he/she have enough skills and knowledge? However, as long as the character is good, anything else can be developed.
5. Build your fortress in every expansion
Build a fortress to defend every region that has been conquered.
Expansion vs Prudence
Be careful during expansion. Strong fortresses don’t collapse.
Not being aggressive enough may cause you to miss many opportunities.
Gengis Khan once conquered almost 50% of the world. He was really careful in defending his expansion.
Important fortresses include:
+ marketing and sales
+ system and management
+ finance and accounting
+ human resources and development
6. Expand the resources, shut the leaks
It’s important to get big sources, but be careful of wasting them for unnecessary things.
Save costs. Focus in efficiency and effectiveness.
7. Faithful in small matters
Do our best in every single thing. Including things that we consider small.
Success is in the details.
8. Analyze until root of problems
Always ask WHY? Learn about the cause of the cause.
Ask WHY 5 times. Using fish bone diagram:
9. Choose the right business (Think long term)
“A man needs to choose the right business. A woman needs to choose the right husband.”
“Ada yg kolam kecil, kolam besar. Ada angin kecil, angin besar. Semua yang sukses pilih kolam yang benar.”
“Contoh: dealer motor omzet 30-40 M. Komplain kenapa gak bisa kembang. Masuk bisnis sawit, dia mundur. Ya jangan complain. Bisa gak kaya dari beli franchise restoran? Ya gak bisa. Paling penting itu pilih bisnis apa. Bisnis yg dipilih masa depannya gimana?”
This is very crucial. The moment I took the time to actually set a measurable goal, suddenly so many business ideas won’t be able to achieve that number.
Choosing the wrong idea or the wrong timing could result in nothing.
The right idea equals the right market. The right market is more important than the team, experience, and anything else.
“Give me a giant market — always.” “Arthur Rock is the representative of: you find a great entrepreneur and you back him. My position has always been: you find a great market and you build multiple companies in that market.” “Our view has always, preferably, been: give us a technical problem, give us a big market when that technical problem is solved so we can sell lots and lots and lots of stuff. Do I like to do that with terrific people? Sure. Are we unwilling to invest in companies that don’t have them? Sure. We invested in Apple when Steve Jobs was about eighteen or nineteen years old — not only didn’t he go to Harvard Business School, he didn’t go to any school.” Don Valentine
10. The four pillars to scale up companies
Hire the right people. Create a system to nurture talents.
What is the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)?
How to keep everyone inspired and purpose-driven?
Without a big, exciting and scary goal, people are not excited nor passionate to work hard. Progress makes people happy. Slow growth can make the best talents uninspired. This is also why strategy matters.
Have a clarity of vision. This is the number one key factor that creates a business success. Think long term.
Can I be the number one or two in this market? If yes, how?
What is the X-Factor that differentiates me from the rest? Is there a 10x – 100x underlying advantage?
The moment we think about exponential and predictable growth, it will be even more obvious why the right idea and market are so crucial.
The right strategy will show incredible revenue growth.
Once a clear vision is known by the team, do I have a strong system to make sure the execution is all done perfectly?
Can I ensure everything is done efficiently and effectively?
Is there any leakages in anything we do?
For example: How is the conversion rate for salespeople? Do we spend too much on rent? How to improve ROI from advertising?
A strong execution will show an increase in profitability.
Last but not least, many companies suffered due to bad cash flow.
How long does it take for us to receive cash (Account Receivable)?
How fast do we need to pay out cash (Account Payable)?
How is our cash conversion cycle?
The cash conversion cycle will determine our profitability.
Bad cash flow management may require us to borrow money from bank (interest cost) or receive investment (equity).
Good cash flow management will give us more resources to grow faster without using debt or investment. The key is to receive money as early as possible and pay out money as late as possible.
2018 has been meaningful to me. I have learnt so much this year.
2018 made me humble, wise, happy, grateful, and purposeful.
Thanks to God for all the challenges and opportunities given.
Man is sharpen through challenges. Man has the choice to take the opportunity to grow himself or blame others.
Destiny is created through chance and choice.
God gives the chance, man makes the choice.
Looking forward to a meaningful year in 2019. God bless everyone!