#239 Entrepreneurship & Business – S1 E12 – Learning from the experience of others

As the sun was shining yesterday, I went on a walk with dad in the morning light. Well, it was already something after 10 am, but the therm “morning light” just seems to make the better emotional reaction. Trying to hide from the strong and actually very cold wind, we walked over a small hill down into the valley where the next village somehow comes up. Wanting to have a look at the new Porsche 911 992 at the dealership anyways, we decided to change our route accordingly, walking up and down in the near by industrial park.

Still trying to recover from the ongoing stress and learning sessions from university, it actually felt really good to just wander around and having a look at all these different companies that are located in this area and observing the changes that has been made over the last couple of years I wasn’t there. Compared to what one might see in the news, or hear about the economy in the radio, it seems like this hasn’t really an impact on the companies I have seen yesterday. One company next to the other, one hall bigger than the other. To be honest, this helped me a lot to widen up my mindset again.

Too often I find myself in this narrowed down state of mind, where I focus so much on the tasks that are laying right in front of me, that I simply loose the long-term goals from sight.

What does it take to found a company. What do you need to be careful with? What are the problems that might occur? During my last semester, I had a really close up look at the risks of founding my own company. For sure, that was just the first attempt, but still, it was helping a lot to get a better understanding about the topic in general and gather my thoughts about the fact what I want and what I don’t want to have in the future. And by the way, I realized, there is still a long long way for me to go. Compared to others, I basically know nothing about having a company.

Theoretical knowledge might be good, but out there in the real world, that is definitely not enough!

While in theory this process of actually starting a company may seem as something very easy to do, standing in front of an actual company that has done these steps already, makes you feel otherwise very quickly. Just calculate the costs for the buildings, the payment for your employees and the material costs and you will instantly notice what this little step really means. You do not just found a company because you have a good idea, this needs to be planned. The risks need to observed and reduced significantly. You need to create a business plan, set yourself important milestones and plan the financial side very carefully.

As I have realized today, we might have a look at how others are doing it or have done it in the past, but in the end, we are not really looking. We are not really thinking it through. We are not really talking with the people and understand what it meant for them. How they felt, what they have suffered from the most, what caused them the most headaches, what were the hardest obstacles to overcome.

Learning from mistakes is a very important thing in life, it will help you to grow, but learning from the mistakes others have done, will allow you to grow even faster.

As I was reflecting on my complete last season in the formula student racing team I am supporting, I realized that there is so much to learn, so much potential to grow and so much potential for improvement. But what do we really do? Do we implement this into our daily life? Do we support other team members that are currently standing at the very spot where we were standing last year? Not really, right? But the question is, why don’t we do that? Why don’t we invest our energy into this, improving the process and not necessarily the end product? For sure, the goals may differ between a formula student team and a normal company, but the principle might stay the same. I have seen that in the company I was working in the past, I see this in conversations with others, but nobody seems to really care. Nobody seems to stand up, taking the courage and speaking out aloud, what probably everyone else already had in mind. Why do we have this mindset, that making mistakes is something bad? Why can’t we communicate on a personal and trustworthy basis, where nobody needs to get blamed for doing something wrong, or needs to live in fear. At the end of the day, we are all working for the same goals, right? We are all want the same, why can’t people work together as a team?

But as the situation clearly shows, the trend moves in the opposite direction. People are more self-focused, they see their own problems and every other problem that is somehow related to their project, but everything else, that seems to be unimportant for them. I do not know what really triggers this mindset, but the endless meetings, the stress, the ineffective and inefficient working habits, or simply a more self absorbed mindset may cause this behaviour. What ever it is, if we can not deal with this in the right way, things will become even worse.

And to be honest, it would be so easy. 99 % of all the problems you might need to deal with on a regular basis are problems that were already solved by others. The only thing we need to do is to find out what they have done and think about using that very same idea, or even improving upon their solution. You want to start a company? Why don’t you speak with people who have done that? You want to start a blog, write a book, start racing, start what ever it is. The chances are very high that someone already did that and believe me when I say, that they are pleased to help you. I see this in my life everyday, helping others makes so much fun.

Final words

If you think that you know everything there is to know, then you are wrong, my friend. You know nothing! But we, as a team, we can make the most astounding things happening. We can fly to the moon, dive into the depths of the oceans or win the next competition. But that is always a team effort. That is only possible because of the willingness of people to get together as a team and cooperate with each other, help each other, work together in order to improve upon the situation, making this thing, what ever you are currently doing, better and better. Step by step, day by day.

See you next time!

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