At the 2013 awards ceremony for National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, Entrepreneur.com caught up with Sean Combs. Combs donated $250,00 to the organization behind this business contest for kids in low income communities, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
After being born in Harlem in 1969 he started his entrepreneurship career early with a newspaper route. Talking his way into an Uptown Records internship, he launched his own record label in 1993. He signed rap and hip-hop legends and even won a Grammy for his own album in 1998. Appearing in movies, launching a fashion line and producing Revolt, a cable music network, are perfect examples of his ongoing success as an entrepreneur.
Below are the 5 business lessons Sean Combs shared at the event:
1. If you are going to run a business, make sure you have a way to make money. Combs says there’s truth in the saying “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” To run a business, revenue has to come first.
2. Be deliberate, but jump when the time is right. As a business owner, you have to take care of your employees. If you have received outside funding, then you are also the caretaker of somebody else’s money. Don’t be foolish, says Combs.
3. Be the master of your domain. Inherent in taking a risk is the possibility of loss. The way to be sure that you are taking a smart risk, and not a foolish risk, is to know the market you are working in, backwards and forwards, inside and out.
4. Give people what they want. Know your market and use common sense. You can’t sell to consumers who don’t want what you are offering. “What do people need? What do people want?” asks Combs. “That is the start of a great businessman or woman — just understanding what people need and people want.”
5. Don’t try to go it alone. Individuals who are attracted to entrepreneurship often have exceptional levels of ambition. That can sometimes spill over into a level of perfectionism and desire for control that can be ultimately restrictive. Combs had to learn, throughout his career, that to grow his ventures he would have to be able to step back and let others help him.
Do you agree with the advice from Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs on how to become a successful entrepreneur? Why or why not?