Don't just read their failures and lessons. Do some processing and digestion of the knowledge read. Here is a 3 Step process to show you how to use the computer as your mind-extender to become wiser over the years.There are many books, blog posts and social media sharing about the successes and failures of business. Recently, some friend on Facebook shared this With a simple googling, we can find this 33 Start ups That Died Reveal Why They Failed - Business ... and this Entrepreneurs reveal their failures en route to success ..., and this 7 Reasons Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail in Business and etc. How can we really their lessons and apply them in our business and even in our lives? I suggest the following 3 steps process:
- Digest the Lessons learned from the blog post/book. This it best done with a mind-map.
- Build Your Success Knowledge Base. This is done by integrating the mind-maps from step 1 into your own knowledge base of success principles successively over time.
- Consult Your Success Knowledge Base whenever you need to. It is good even to browse the knowledge base now and then for you own reflection.
Step 1 Digesting by Mind-Mapping:
As an example, I drew the following mind-map from The 13 Biggest Failures From Famous Entrepreneurs And What They learned From Them:
A main use of the mind-map is to group the 13 lessons into 7 categories using your own words. You may want to re-order as to the timing sequence or priority. So I have "Come out and Start it" as the first category, customers as second, agility as third and so forth. We can also see that the common mistakes are not talking to customers and not focusing with 3 failures each. Surprising, Cash or Funding was mentioned only once. This must have been the ease of raising funds in the availability of Angel and Venture capitals and the various government grants and subsidies programs. Nevertheless, one key rule is the less the cash burnt, the higher the valuation and the likelihood of funding.
Step 2 Integrating to Your Success Knowledge Base:
I have built a Integrated Success Principles mind-map many years earlier based on the sayings for the very successful people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Stephen Covey and even from the Bible and Ancient Chinese Wisemen like Lao Zi and modern successful Chinese like Li Ka Shing. I hope to have a fusion of the best from the East and West. I compared the lessons learned in Step 1 and the wisdom I have here and integrated them into my map. There is almost nothing new to add, showing the power of the existing Knowledge Base. However, there is this failure lesson 7 ＂7 Never let growth exceed my own ability to fund it. If I am tempted to seek outside funding, it is a sign of a flawed business model．＂that impressed me. In this world of easy money and leveraging, reading this reminded me of HP founders policy of financing growth internally. So I added this to Money branch of "Methods for Growth". It also triggered other thoughts.
It also reminded of the "Sun Zi's Art of War for Business" courses that I have been teaching and was surprised that I did not include this in the map. So I took this opportunity to modify my map adding in a new main topic of "The External World", the 天 Seasons/Weather trend. and 地 Terrain Characteristics in Art of War emphasising the needs to take an Outside-In situational analysis in the design of strategies. The other 5 factors of Art of War, the 道 Dao - Way, the Business Philosophies and Cultural Values, 将 Commanders/Leaderships, and 法 Policies and Operation Systems can easily find their main branches and be included there. Then there is Peter Drucker's saying about business is about creating customers. So, it is added.
Here is the big mind-map, the version 10, for your consideration:
Step 3 Look-up or Browse the Map for the Advice you need.
Do you have an issue with your business? You can browse the main branches to see if you can find a related topic, roughly will do. You can look into the sub-branches for more details. Then if still unclear, do a google on the subject to discover more. The Internet cloud is the wisdom data base of millions of people. It could and should be a good source of reference. The Consolidated Map provides a guide to your search for answers.
Hope you can find the guide that will lead you further. All the very best to your business success.
Lim Liat(c) 12 May 2015