We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.
Meet: Julian Pencilliah. Julian, a qualified civil engineer, has studied economics and industrial psychology and has 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and quantitative trader. As a world traveler and student of life, Pencilliah is attuned to the principles enabling people to make the most of their experiences, as he documents in his new book, The Jetstream of Success.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Julian Pencilliah: Rich!
All jokes aside, fortunately, acquiring business acumen and combining it with sound economic principles allows everybody the equal opportunity to pursue monetary gain.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Pencilliah: Apart from the obvious answer, which is the monetary gain, scalable business opportunities also offer you the challenge to evolve mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This process of self-mastery helps you redefine yourself and, as a result, your future.
When we consider the “Secrets of Success,” be it in any arena of life, I’m of the strong opinion that sound business acumen offers immense value. Even if you are not directly involved in business, you can still apply that acumen to the business of your life.
The extraordinary simplicity of business acumen helps you develop the skill to mobilize your life forward. As I wrote in my new book, The Jetstream of Success, “Life requires more than a whisper of wisdom.”
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Pencilliah: I’ve experienced several pivotal moments in my lifetime, but the one that is most conducive to my success and failure was the financial crisis of 1997. The pivotal moment for me was realizing that when your back’s against the wall and your thought is all you’ve got, that thought can become your journey and that journey can become the story of your life.
It was certainly a time that required me to reinvent myself exponentially. The critical wisdom that comes out of any catastrophe is that one should always mitigate one’s risk comprehensively before seeking any return on investment. Essentially, the secrets of success have more to do with self-engagement as opposed to any random twist of fate.
As I write in my book, “We’ve all seen it time and again, where individuals rise out of the most devastating circumstances and transform their lives into greatness. If you are in a place where you feel that life’s closing in on you, and you have a pressing urgency to transform your misfortune into another chance, then you have to make every effort to become more acquainted in the process of schooling your wits.
“The results you seek have to be relative to the intelligent mobilization of your intentions. Taking consistent action every day has to be done within the framework of the following definition. The Jetstream definition of ‘wits’: Investigative Skills, Keen Perception, Capacity to Quantify, Ingenious Contrivance, Risk Aversion and Composure.”
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Pencilliah: As a venture capitalist, the first assessment I make with every opportunity is to evaluate the market sector. Lots of entrepreneurs make the mistake of developing a product and then trying to find a market. The more sophisticated approach would be to identify and define the market sector first and then create a product that is conducive to that target market sector. Your definition of that sector should include everything from an assessment of the market value to the competitors in the market.
You will also need to be very strategic in the way you evaluate the percentage of the market share that you intend to monetize, based on your resourcefulness. One of the main criteria I look for in any opportunity is its scalability, which is its capacity to grow exponentially. Some of the shortcomings of small business entrepreneurs are that they fail to identify their entry strategy, the life cycles of the business, the dilution of the shares to employ industry expertise and secure necessary funding to facilitate scalability.
Defining the criteria for the exit strategy is critically important to me. One of the gravest errors entrepreneurs make is becoming emotionally attached to their businesses. This prevents them from exiting, if necessary, in dire circumstances when the economics and the financial engineering don’t offer the promise of a turnaround.
Fortune favors the bold. Business requires huge doses of courage, and when you are confronted with unfortunate circumstances, be sure to hit the ground running. Always remember that people don’t fail, strategies fail, and as noted in my book The Jetstream of Success, “Strategy is a sequence of ideas that are meant to be mobilized in relation to the intention.”
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Pencilliah: Most entrepreneurs get into business with the hope of becoming rich. But you will discover that as you evolve through the decades, it’s not the goal that matters, but who you become in the process of achieving your goals that defines your legacy.
We all need to realize we need to live lives framed within love, compassion and gratitude. It’s only when we establish this inner richness that life will elegantly unfold as a tapestry of synchronistic events that will facilitate our ambitions. To simplify, in context, here’s an extract from my book: “The typical characteristic of someone who fails to awaken love oscillates more frequently into frustration, a victim mentality, they disempower their environments, are of heavier spirit and denser demeanor. Due to the fact that they are more inclined to carry a heavier spirit, they find that life is less rewarding and significantly more difficult.
“As entrepreneurs, we are inclined to want to become rich; however, you will find true richness is achieved through the wisdom and realization that ‘The signature of love is everywhere.’ “
Lesonsky: Do you have a 2014 small business prediction?
Pencilliah: Small businesses need to be more cognizant of the impending interest rate hikes, which will obviously impact industry and the disposable income of market sectors.
Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?
Pencilliah: The Alchemy of Finance, by George Soros.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Pencilliah: “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.