Experience Clarifies Lessons For Success, Says Serial Entrepreneur
“If only you’d known then what you know now” is a statement we could all make several times throughout our lives, says serial entrepreneur Parviz Firouzgar.
“I’m not just talking about knowing the winning lottery numbers an hour in advance to a drawing; I mean important and human lessons in life that we learn and feel deeply after potentially painful trial and error,” he says.
The saying applies to relationships, achieving a sense of self-acceptance and satisfaction in life and, of course, business. How many missteps does the average employee make throughout one’s career, and how much better off would one have been without having to make such costly mistakes?
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“If only I could have known how to navigate my first million like my second million, I could have been better off much quicker and with as much pain and effort,” says Firouzgar, who left a middling corporate job in his early 20s and eventually earned a fortune a few times over.
“This is why it’s so important to educate ourselves, to read and to learn from others.”
Firouzgar, author of “20/20 Hindsight,” says he has learned some importance lessons after 25 years of founding several multi-million dollar companies.
- The only way to predict the future is to create it. This is both the most common yet most important lesson to learn. There is plenty of business literature on goal setting, yet knowing how to keep your eye on the ball is crucial. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of to-do lists; in every study ever done on what habits set successful people apart from poor people, among the top two are virtually always setting goals and using to-do lists,” Firouzgar says. “An important trick in making these lists work is to do what you like least, first. Otherwise, you’ll be inclined to procrastinate doing this least-liked thing.” We don’t have to living according to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Indeed, the best way to predict what will be is to create it, he says.
- Understand what any potential partnership is based on. Any journey can be made less intimidating and more palatable with a companion or partner, but some journeys are better taken alone. However, that’s not to say it’s a bad idea to share the load. In a business partnership, keep the following in mind: the truth is that partnerships fail because of the most surprising foundations, good intentions. You must not let good intentions replace business sense, Firouzgar says. Of course, a failed business relationship often results in losing the personal relationship. Few people understand why this dynamic so often fails. But, more importantly, even fewer people have managed to avoid the pitfalls the first time they enter into a business partnership.
- Answer honestly: Are you really ready to be the boss? Bono from the rock band U2 has lyrics that can be interpreted as good business sense, including, “If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel.” While poetic with spiritual overtones, the business takeaway is this: if you want to achieve greatness, you need to learn humility first. “You might be the rock star in sales, and because of that, upper management may not want to promote you to middle management,” he says. “If you crave power and care little about serving your employees as much as serving yourself, you’re not ready. A good manager – and a good boss – means having no problem doing virtually any job, no matter how menial. He or she never asks anyone to do something he or she is not willing to do.”
- Loose lips sink ships! “I was once offered a vice-presidential position with a very good salary and great bonuses, and I was eager to share my good fortune with someone,” Firouzgar says. “After making the move across the country, I called my new employer only to be told that they could no longer consider hiring me, and it was my own fault.” His acquaintance told someone else, who told someone else, and it was soon news to all the big players in an industry that had friendly competition, which didn’t like the boat rocking. Firouzgar’s eagerness to tell a friend caused others in the sweepstakes industry, one that shared mailing lists, to feel threatened by the merger. That caused him to lose the big promotion. “It was a stinging lesson, but one I’ll never forget,” he says. “Loose lips sink ships.”
For 25 years, Parviz Firouzgar (www.parvizfirouzgar.com) has founded several multi-million dollar companies. He started a mortgage company that employed more than 500 loan officers and has written business plans for startup companies that have helped them raise millions in capital. After he discovered a new way of raising funds, he expanded into the charitable arena. Within one year, his company was supporting 2,300 needy children around the world, providing all of their food, clothing and education. Most recently, he has been in the precious metals and diamond business, including owning a gold mine. Parviz was a radio talk show host and a long time instructor for Income Builders International (IBI), now called CEO Space, an entrepreneurial forum with internationally recognized instructors such as Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Bob Proctor, T. Harv Eker, John Gray and Lisa Nichols.