In this article I want to talk about a person who is a personal inspiration to me. The inspiration is based on what he has achieved through sweat and blood. He worked very hard to attain the success he is enjoying now. The person I’m talking about is Daymond John.
Daymond John, self-made millionaire, an American businessman, motivational speaker, author and television personality. Daymond John is now an inspiration to millions of people worldwide. He is the founder of the Urban hip-hop clothing brand – FUBU (meaning “For Us, By Us”). People say Daymond John’s entrepreneurial mindset was the reason why he could give the business an astounding success. But, John himself believes his passion for hip-hop music and fashion has been the key driving factor.
It was the year 1992 when John and one of his friends sold around $800 worth of hats. This initial positive response encouraged them to take it a step further. They designed a FUBU logo and started sewing them on the jerseys, t-shirts and sweatshirts. To support Daymond John with his initiatives, his mother moved out of their home so that he could use the space as his office and makeshift factory. Some of his friends also joined him at that time. After a while, Daymond John achieved a massive success when he and his business partner went to Las Vegas to attend a trade show in 1994. Buyers liked the clothes designs and colors that Daymond was promoting in the event. As a response, they returned with $300,000 worth of orders. This was the time when FUBU got a huge opportunity for an official emerge.
However, do you know that Daymond John had to close FUBU down because he ran out of money three times? And, if you look at his success now it’s unbelievable. FUBU generated $6 billion by 2012. Like any other businessman, his experiences surrounding his business were also not satisfying all the time. But, as most self help gurus believe, we all need to learn from our mistakes.
Here are 11 Inspiring Business Lessons We Can All Learn from Daymond John:
1. Take Responsibility for Your Failure
To be a successful businessman or an entrepreneur, you must first learn that failure is possible and you must be ready to take responsibility. You will need to learn how to figure things out, although not right away. You must be ready to think outside the box and be able to say “YES,” even when everybody says “NO.” Everybody will help you to your success, but you will be the only one responsible for your failure.
“An Entrepreneur is somebody that understands they are responsible for every single failure.”
2. You Never Stop Learning
Just like Daymond John said, you need to keep learning and know what you are good at and know what you are horrible at. He had no idea about the minute manufacturing processing details of his business when he started the company. He learned a lot from one of his business partners, who went to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Also, he got a lot of practical exposure while doing business in collaboration with Samsung. This knowledge and experience helped him a lot.
“Education and knowledge is key. And I always say, the only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.”
3. Leave a Legacy, Not Money
Starting a business because you want to make $10 million or $1 billion may not get you anywhere. Start thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind when you leave this world. Don’t just leave money when you leave this planet. And, don’t forget to have fun with your family and friends. Business is about having fun.
According to him, if you’re an aspiring businessman then you must be having a passion that you want to accomplish. It’s not about money always. Thinking only about making money can become an obstacle. Don’t let money drive your mind and decisions.
“Money is a great servant, but a horrible master.” – Francis Bacon, 17th century philosopher.
4. If You Give, You Will Receive
I think this is very important. Being generous to others with what you have will bring you good fortune. Being selfish will not get you to your goal.
5. Play Business like You Play Game
We all know we are in business to make money even though making millions is not the priority, but still you need to make enough profit to continue to be in business. Business is business. Be ready to draw the line between business and friendship. You may have to fire you friends to save your business. But, it doesn’t mean you are enemies. You just can’t work with them anymore. If you don’t let go of friends that are letting your business fail in a certain section, then you will let go of many people whose lives and family’s lives depend on that job or that person.
6. Try to Improve On What You Know
I have experienced information overload and I believe that is what is killing many people in business. Trying to know everything may not be the best strategy for being successful in business. Surround yourself with masterminded people because you are not going to know everything. Take inventory of yourself. Daymond John learned as an entrepreneur that no one should ever try any shortcuts to success. There is really none. Try to partner up with people that know that business or that aspect of the business. When Daymond John was asked about how he took FUBU from a local t-shirt and jeans company to an international brand, he said that he received great support from a strategic partner in Samsung America. They guided him, directed him and gave him the required exposure.
“If you don’t know how to do something, find someone who does. Strategic Partners are way more important than money.”
7. Stay Small
One of the biggest business lessons that Daymond John was able to learn is that a businessman first needs to keep things at a small level and make mistakes with his own money. It’s best not to take any risk when one is playing with his partner’s money. You don’t want to go and take your friends’ money, grandma’s money or your 401K money, and lose everything. If you stay small, you may turn around and become huge. But, learn your mistakes small.
“Try to go as far as you can without anyone’s help at first.”
8. Under Promise, But Over Deliver
Learning not to do the wrong thing for people is very important. If you promise, make sure you can deliver. When people invest in you, it’s their hopes and dreams that they are investing in.
9. Don’t Sell To Friends
You need to put concept to sale. Go sell first and don’t sell to your friends because they may not tell you the truth. You can make up your own opinion but you cannot make up your own fact.
Sales are not always cash transactions. Put your product out there where people do not know you (e.g. social media, stores etc). If people can take their hard earned dollars and buy your product because it will improve their quality of life, then it will sell.
10. There Will Never Be a Perfect Time; You Can Only Make Time Perfect
You just have to start from somewhere. You cannot be thinking that you will do this or that when you get to this and that. No time is perfect than the time you choose to start. Start small, go sell.
11. Dream Big to Think Bigger and Do Better
His mother had a big influence on his ideas. According to Daymond John, his mother used to say –
“It takes the same energy to think small as it does to think big. So, dream big and think bigger.”
Daymond John believes an aspiring businessman needs to be humble to accept your own mistakes. This attitude will not ruin anything; instead, it will make things better for you. And, when you’re in a business be sure to choose your friends wisely. Your friends and family can influence your decisions.
So, these 11 inspiring business lessons can help you as well. There are lots of successful businessmen which whom we can all learn from their knowledge. I will bring you more topics like this soon. Share this post with you friends, family members and co-workers.
And by the way, check out these videos of Daymond John’s interview: