Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas coming randomly from my experiences

Posts Tagged ‘dreams

What is success ?

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Success and perseverance.

Everybody wants to reach success. The question is to know what is precisely success. Have we each of us the same definition, the same view of success? This question needs to be answered in order to know what success is, but also where success is. We reach success when we are realizing a dream. We have dreams we want to realize in our personal life. There are different kind of dreams, and the ways to reach them will probably be different. We can dream to have a family, to have children succeeding in their studies, to travel around the world. We would like also to succeed in our professional life, to have an enjoyable work and to earn enough money to cover our daily needs. This is an overview of what could be success, but does it mean that these things we are dreaming are successful on themselves ?

The success is a question of values. What are the value we are sharing? In our society, most of the time, success is associated to wealth. Bill Gates, for instance, is seen as a successful man by founding one of the most large software companies, Microsoft. But does it mean that the creation of a company is a dream shared by everybody? This is a question of value, of interest. To meet the success, is to meet the goal you are dreaming. Your goal will be function of the value you are believe in and the activities leaded by your values. There is no success, there is only your success, and your success will not be necessarily the success of somebody else. I already talked in another post, about this Belgian theater founder and actor, Michel Kacenelenbogen, who was first owner and founder of a company. His initial goal was to create a theater, and he founded first a company in order to earn money, to be able to create this theater, to realize his dream. He realized his dream, by founding “Le Public”, a theater with an innovative concept, financed by his own revenue and a part of public subsidies, and where you can find a restaurant after or before the spectacle. This was his dream, and this is his success, but his dream is not probably yours and your success neither. The question of values and goals is important, because what you are considering, or what is the society considering as a success, could be only an illusion. I want to mention here an article I read recently in a magazine, about a business man who was dreaming to drive a Porsche. He made a bet that he will have a Porsche when he will be 30 years old. On way, he bought the Porsche, but he realized after that, that he put a lot of pressure on his shoulder and on the shoulders of his collaborator to maximize profits and to reach his personal goal, and that finally, the car he bought was an illusion of success. The success was more in the business he developed and in all the things he learned by building it every day.

By definition, success is something positive, and because success looks like positive, people are dreaming of success, but are often considering the positive side of success. Regarding the two case I explained before, we have not to underestimate the challenges and issues people had to face to reach their goal. To build a company, or to found a theater remains a challenge and a risk. As Peter Drucker quote says: “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Some entrepreneurs failed in their projects, learned about that failure and restarted new projects in another way and reached the success. The failure you can meet could be part of a success, if you learn from your failure.

And let us talk about your talent. You can reach a goal or a success by expressing and developing talent. Your talent is one of the key components of success. There are some people saying that everybody can do everything if we want. Personally, I do not totally agree with this statement. We can only succeed by doing things we are motivated by. We have also to reach a level of talent which depends of our capabilities and abilities to acquire the knowledge. There is a huge difference between to be able to play piano, and to play as Mozart was playing. Let us remember also another Peter Drucker quote saying that “It is better to work on your strong points to pass from competence to excellence, than to work on your weaknesses to pass from incompetence to mediocrity.”

But finally, what is success ? Success is the realization of projects you are dreaming. It is only you who can decide and determine what will be a successful life. Maybe you will not see it immediately, maybe you will note that things you were believed as success are just illusions. But each goal we are fixing is function of our passed experiences and of an anticipation of the future, based on new values we discovered and acquired. It is only you who can see yourself as a successful person and not the others.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 2, 2011 at 21:11

Bootstrapping, a way to make stronger businesses?

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IT entrepreneur

Some entrepreneurs unfortunately lost their business or project, because they made it with some investors who wanted to have a certain short-term return on investment level. As the expected return on investment was not reached, the founders of the project were sanctioned by the investors and pushed out of the company.

I read in the Belgian economical magazine Trends-Tendance, the story of three partners who had to face such adventure. These three engineers decided to start a new project, but following a totally different business model. They build a new business in the field of digital imaging, a technology having customers in the medical and aerospace sectors. The major concern of this business was to protect the intellectual property of such technology. The patent price for such technology is expensive, and the three partners have to allocate the major part of the profit of the activity to the deposit of such patent. To reach that goal, the challenge was to make the needed profit, and in this case to do business based on a low cost model. They have no offices. Each of the partners is working at home, having only meetings when necessary. They are using free open sources software, communicating thru free voices over IP systems, like Skype. They have no company cars, and are maximizing their travel with public transport, and eventually renting a car when really necessary. One of the partners explain that to work in such a way has of course an impact on their professional and personal life. It implies to have new habits, but the conclusion is that they keep the control on their business and they are very happy.

By thinking about this experience, we note that these entrepreneurs took the option of bootstrapping. Bootstrapping means that you start your activity or business with limited funds and without partnership with investors. It implies that you will have to contract only the necessary costs to develop your business. In each case, you will consider if there is an opportunity to spare money, or to contract a service or a good for a better price. You will also consider if you can do it yourself. The chance to succeed in such process is linked to the competence level of the partners. What you can do yourself is an opportunity for cutting costs. A partnership with members having different and complementary competences will be definitively an asset. In such process, we can maybe see an opportunity to build businesses with much more added value. As your margin are thin, more attention will be paid to the return on investment of the contracted expenses, and maybe the basis of the business could be stronger. You will probably invest money in tools providing more added values to your project and more return on investment after, instead of investing in a luxurious car, which can bring maybe more appearance but which will not contribute to increase the quality level of your product or your services. With the development of technologies, we can more easily see than before, the level of people competences and services performances. This is what the customer is looking for.

But do not forget that such approach is not always a guarantee of success. Each project needs a minimum of capital in order to be implemented. The lack of capital make that some projects are never concretised. Nevertheless, this way to operate will make that people will probably do business on another way, with long term views contributing to develop a sustainable economy where imagination and creativity will be the motivation and the profit the middle to make the dreams work.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

March 21, 2011 at 22:25

If you can dream it, you can do it.

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If you can dream it, you can do it - Walt Disney

This quote as title of this article was from Walt Disney. Recently, I was attending a presentation session for web entrepreneurs, organized by the Betagroup in the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels. The organizer of these sessions is used to end the session by telling a quote related to entrepreneurship. After the session, ending by a networking drink, I had the pleasure to talk with a freelance journalist about the experience of entrepreneurship. She was raising the question to know if the fact to dream about doing something is a sufficient condition to do something and to succeed. This question seems to be a bit naive, but it is not the case at all.

Today, we can attend a lot of coaching training sessions where some coaches says that everybody can do what he is dreaming and that he will succeed. I wrote on this blog an article about the fact to stay focused on your goal. I agree with the fact that if you do not believe in what you are doing, you will never reach your goal. But in order to succeed in the project or the job of your dreams, there are several conditions you have to keep in mind:

  • Do I have the talent for this? It is important to know about yourself, to clearly determine what are your strong points and your weaknesses. Peter Drucker was used to say that it is better to work on your strong point in order to go from the competence to excellence instead of to work on your weaknesses in order to go from the incompetence to the mediocrity. I would add that you can be able to play piano, but there is a huge difference between knowing to play piano and to be a piano player like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In a competition environment, you have to appear to be one of the best player.
  • Am I entrepreneur minded? To become entrepreneur is not only a change of social status, it is also a question of mind. An entrepreneur needs to have always a project in advance. He is somebody who wants to move things forward, who is curious and who has of course the entrepreneurship spirit.
  • Is there a market for the services I want to propose? You can not escape to that question. It is important to know if there are customer interested by your product or services and if they are ready to pay the requested price.
  • Are you ready to assume the risk linked to start as an entrepreneur? As you know, entrepreneurship is always risky. Are you ready to loose a part of your money if your project do not succeed? If you can not sleep anymore, it is because you invest probably a too big part of money in a project and you are scared to have a lack of revenues.
  • Have you an alternative plan? If you do not succeed, have you develop an alternative plan in order to still have revenues? I remember an article about a entrepreneur who launched his own activity after a 15 years employee career in a bank. This man was explaining that he invested a part of his money in two apartments he gave to rent, ensuring an alternative revenue in case of business failure.
  • Do not hesitate to ask advices to serious advisers. It is always an asset to have different points of view from professionals in different areas. There is more in few heads than in one. Make the difference between serious people and the others. The others are building time to time their own legend, or are telling you only their success and not their failures.

These points I mentioned are important to maximize your chance to realize your entrepreneurship dreams. If you can dream it, you can do it, but stay in contact with the reality and be creative.

Interesting links for entrepreneurs: http://www.betagroup.be/ – http://www.westartup.eu/

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 27, 2011 at 00:38

Why to do this job ?

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Michel Kacenelenbogen, founder of the theater "Le Public"

Last week, I was dining in a restaurant with my family, and I heard from another table a woman talking about a member of her family. She was telling that the person found a job in the administration, and that it was the best professional situation, because he will get a better pension when he will be retired. It is a fact that in Belgium, the people working in the public administration will have a better pension when they will be retired, compared to the pension gained by people from the private sector and the independents, which are lower. By hearing such opinion, I was thinking about this “strategy” of career.

I can understand easily that people could be concerned about their future, and it is always interesting to think on a long term basis. But if you think only on a long term basis, if you think only about the future, you will probably miss the present. Is it reasonable to choose a job in function of future benefit you will gain, and, in this case, when you will be retired? I have doubt about it. In my mind, the only reason to do a job is because you like to do it. I know that everybody has not the chance every time to get the opportunity or the chance to do the job of his dreams, but in this matter, we have to start by thinking on another way.

To do a boring job you do not like, because you are expecting a better pension, make me think that you are waiting for the week end, the end of the month to be paid, the holiday, your retirement, …..the death !! Personally, I do not find this as an exciting perspective, and I want to say too that unfortunately, some people never reached the age of retirement because accidental circumstances of life. Let us think about the consequence of not enjoying a job, particularly when you are teacher, doctor,…This could have consequences for you but also for other people, because the motivation is not there.

Not only for people, there are also consequences for the economy. I agree that a country need to have a performing administration, and of course need people to fill functions, but if everybody was choosing a job only for pension level reason, it is obvious that our economy would not be competitive, and the public finance should not be on the top.

I mention here a problem of incentive, but the problem is not only a question of incentive, but more a question of how we consider the success. Is the only way of success material, by having a high position in an administration or in a company, by having a bigger house than the one of your neighbors? Or is the success the fact to realize your projects, by measuring concrete results and achievement, by gaining expertise and knowledge, expanding your capabilities …and good memories! Let me tell you the story about a Belgian guy, Michel Kacenelenbogen, a Belgian theater actor, and fonder of the theater “Le Public”. When he was young, he was dreaming to become an actor, and to found a theater. In order to realize his dream, he founded a marketing agency, KI Partners, in 1993. The goal was to earn money to be able to concretize his dream. Eleven years later, in 1994, he founded his theater, “Le Public”, which is one of the most popular and innovative theater in Brussels. He finally met the success, in accordance with his dreams, his vision of life.

By telling this, I want to underline also the importance of interest for things. We are living in a society where we are more considering things as useful or not. But by having curiosity, interest for culture, to learn languages, we are giving us the tools to develop our own career, to discover ourselves. By increasing our potential, our capabilities, we are giving us the chance to have choices, to realize our dreams, to conquer our freedom.

Do you think that by choosing the job you like you will have a good pension later, I do not know, but you will be happy now,..and for a long time!

Picture from : http://www.tbx.be/fr/VIB/101/app.rvb

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 21, 2010 at 22:11