Hello Everyone !
I’m back with another value packed article for entrepreneurs who are building their own business or brand.
Today’s insider information comes from Adrian Osman, CEO of Pitchblak, one of Australia’s premier startup studios located in Brisbane.
Adrian, age 25, has an extensive background in company culture creation, raising capital for tech startups, building his own ventures with nearly 100 employees around the world, and creating a systemized approach to rapidly launching successful startups.
It is not too often you find someone so wise beyond their years.
His trajectory of success is indestructible and below we share some very important tips that will save you time, money, and stress.
If you’re committed to your brand’s growth then you need to read this all the way through.
Ready, Set, Go …
So Adrian what’s your background story?
At school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I never went to uni (college) and instead worked in a bunch of sales and marketing roles at various companies. Eventually I ended up working in an advertising agency. My eyes were opened to this concept of a shared resource team, all guns in their roles, and all used to working together on multiple projects at once. Most importantly this working experience taught me how to communicate effectively.
For all entrepreneurs, effective communication is essential and a major differentiating factor between business owners who are average and who are iconic.
As fate would have it, I then met my now business partner, Jacob, and worked for him for a couple years. We had an awesome working dynamic and over time our relationship turned into a 50/50 partnership.
Jacob acted as one of my first mentors and taught me two things that EVERY entrepreneur needs to know:
- Move fast
- Stay emotionally detached from the outcome
Two things that would be integral to my success, especially in the startup space where there is so much uncertainty.
The first few ventures we tried together ultimately failed, yet taught us so much.
We learned that it doesn’t matter how passionate you are, if you don’t acquire the right knowledge and hire the right talent, your venture simply won’t make it.
Once we had a killer team, things turned around quickly and we haven’t looked back. Since then we’ve built a handful of strong companies that trade around the world and have raised millions in venture capital.
Outside of building our own startups, we’ve become super passionate about helping other entrepreneurs.
A couple years ago, people in our personal networks started coming to us with ideas and asking for help. It took a bit of time to figure out the best commercial model for doing this at scale, but through this Pitchblak was born.
Pitchblak helps entrepreneurs to get Pre-Seed and Seed funding, plus we help with essential services like strategy, technology development and marketing.
The very same team that launches our own in-house ventures is now ‘hired out’ to other startups to reduce their risk.
Our mission is to help entrepreneurs to get it right the first time.
What’s the biggest differentiator between startup founders who are successful and those who are not?
Mostly hard work. It’s really that simple. If you look at the most influential people in the world, most of them aren’t ‘academics’.
They are the most driven and passionate ones who cannot take no for an answer. I honestly believe most founders pursuing entrepreneurship will not have what it takes to endure the startup grind, yet I’m so pumped every time I’m proven wrong!
What are the 3 things that have led to your success?
Great question! I’ve actually recently written an article on this because this is a recurring question.
- Telling an epic story
It’s all about the narrative. I never realized that being a CEO mostly involves me repeating the same story about my companies and myself consistently. This doesn’t mean you make it up (that certainly won’t help you), but it does mean you need to practice it and compile the events you explain into a format that is inspiring and digestible. A great story is everything and gives you credibility.
- Recruiting incredible talent
No one is good at everything. Surround yourself with others who have strengths that balance out your weaknesses. The danger begins when people think they’re great at something … it means they don’t believe they need someone else to do it. And as I said before, our success literally began ramping up the second we had the right talent surrounding us.
- Be adaptable
Never compromise your vision as it will be the thing that keeps you going, yet be flexible in your approach… in the ‘how’. Even in Pitchblak, we had to pivot so many times before finding a model that could help a high volume of entrepreneurs. Be open minded, listen to your team, and don’t be afraid of change.
How do you build an exciting team and company culture?
People is the hardest part of business. When I think about the biggest mistakes I’ve made over the years, nearly all of them are about team management and culture. We’re in an awesome spot now, but it didn’t happen easily. I’ve got a few tips on this.
- Firstly, if someone doesn’t fit in and seems like a ‘bad egg’ in your office, remove them ASAP. The longer they stay, the more they’ll be a cancer growing in your organization. Don’t be too nice, it doesn’t get you anywhere.
- Hire on personality first, talent second. This works so well as you’re hiring people based on who they are as a person, not their resume or how well they interview. The heads of each department need to fit company culture and be super talented so the juniors can learn from them. You can hire the most talented people in the world, but if they’re full of ego and entitlement you won’t make it far as a business.
- Communicate with your team often. If you don’t say it, they don’t know what you’re thinking. The easiest way to do this is a minimum weekly ‘all hands’ meeting with your full company. Give everyone the updates on the things that are going well and also not so well. Be transparent. Always keep re-emphasizing the company’s vision and mission so the team has purpose and drive.
- Lastly, get a ping pong table and buy the team lots of beers… Aussies LOVE beers.
What does the startup world need to hear?
The startup sector needs to bring science thinking into our approach.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to get overexcited about our ideas, meaning we don’t validate our assumptions enough before making our product. Conversely, in the science community, scientists aren’t allowed to have any bias in their studies and findings. This meticulous approach to their craft results in them solving real problems at scale.
We want to teach entrepreneurs to think and act like a scientist.
Sure, have a massive vision of what your product can do for the world, though challenge your assumptions every day. Don’t 100% trust your gut when it comes to your idea or product. List out the assumptions you’ve made and test them one by one in a non-bias way. Your gut feeling is there to point you in the right direction (which is powerful), it’s not there for you to make final calls on.
We believe that by the entrepreneurial community adopting this scientific approach, we’ll all collectively solve the world’s problems at a much faster rate than we currently are.
What’s your message to other millennials and business owners ?
You don’t have as much time as you think. Life is actually really short. It’s a collection of moments and milestones that fly by.
So don’t wait.
Anyone in a first world country, no matter what your financial situation, can start building something worth talking about.
A lot of people don’t realize the power of small wins each day. When I look at my journey so far, yes, I’m now in an awesome position for my age, but nothing happened quickly. It was all step by step, and all I was doing was moving forward every day… not staying stagnant or going backwards.
If you continually do this, you’re going to end up in a pretty epic position.
My other advice would be to surround yourself with people further ahead than you.
I so often meet people who are wondering why they can’t get ahead in life and I ask them, “Who are the five people you hang out with, and do you look up to them?”. The reason they aren’t making progress is because no one around them is inspiring them.
Mindset rubs off on people, so choose to be around the people with the mindset you want.
I simply wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t done this.
Rob Fajardo’s Closing Remarks:
There it is guys. Adrian shared some incredible information on how you can Leave Normal Behind in 2017. Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve learned:
- Effective communication. Your people are not mind readers and if you do not tell them what you are thinking they cannot act proactively.
- Be adaptable. Make swift pivots and respond quickly to the market.
- Hire the right people based on personality first, not talent. Doing this will make sure you build and maintain the company culture that you desire.
- Detach from the outcome. Having high emotional intelligence here is important. Do not be results driven. Trust the process and let the results take care of themselves.
- Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. You are the average of the five closest people to you … who are you hanging out with ?
- ACT NOW. Life is short.
- Think and act like a scientist. Challenge your assumptions and test them with real hard evidence and data.
If you know someone that deserves to share their wisdom because they are Leaving Normal Behind, becoming the best version of themselves, and creating things that matter then put us in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.