Zero to One Million – Ryan P. Allis

Zero to One Million - Ryan P. Allis

You must have persistence in this game to win.

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To win at the game of entrepreneurship, we must always keep in mind that the true purpose of business is not to become a millionaire or make profits but rather to provide value to your customers, to create a positive impact, to innovate, to create great products, and to create jobs. Cash and profits should be seen as the lifeblood that allows you to strive after your company’s true mission.

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I learned my first important business lesson: word-of-mouth marketing is the best type of marketing you can have.

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When your business is making enough revenue to be able to hire an employee, make the leap and bring on your first team member. Otherwise, you will be building a job for yourself rather than a true business.

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Further, I was not sure that I could survive the psychological stress of being 18 and not having a single friend younger than 27.

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The secret to becoming extraordinarily wealthy is to build and invest in businesses and then use the excess cash flow from your businesses and the capital gains from any liquidity events to invest in future ventures, early-stage private companies, emerging markets, public securities, and other cash-producing assets such as real estate.

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In the Information Age, it is not she who works the hardest that succeeds; it is she who has the best ideas and is able to execute best.

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Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Not everyone can handle the stress, risks, and responsibilities of having dozens or hundreds of people’s lives depend on your choices or reporting to a board of directors or panel of your investors. An analysis of the traits commonly found among successful entrepreneurs might assist you in deciding if you are right for the role of entrepreneur.

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I gave the entrepreneurs 15 options and asked them to number their choices 1 through 15 in order of importance. The results were very interesting. The most important trait for aspiring entrepreneurs to have, according to these five successful entrepreneurs, was “being able to build a solid team.” The second and third most important skills were “leadership and the ability to inspire” and “persistence.” The least important attribute of all, number 15, was “a college degree.”

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There is no successful entrepreneur who would say building a successful company is easy, and there is no one who would say that there is no risk involved in building a company. If building a company were easy, there were no risk, and it did not take years of dedication and persistence, everyone would be an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, the market has little compassion. It doesn’t pull for the person who works the hardest or the person who has the best idea. It pulls for the person who works the most intelligently, sells what the market demands, puts together the needed resources, gets deals done, and executes.

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From the beginning we knew that we weren’t doing it for the money. That’s not the reason we do business. We see money, cash flow, and profits as the lifeblood of our organization, not the purpose of it. We strive for them only because they are essential in fulfilling our true mission of creating jobs, creating a great product, and creating a great organization.

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Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.


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Working at an entrepreneurial company with other entrepreneurially minded people is one of the best ways to come up with new business ideas.

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If you are not ready for an opportunity during the short window in which it exists, it will pass you by. You must make personal development a priority so that you will be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.

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Making mistakes, learning from them, and being willing to put yourself out there are essential to finding opportunities.

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Those who are self-employed will never become rich because they are not building an asset. If they stop working, they will stop making money. If a business owner stops working, he or she will continue to earn passive income from the asset he has built. At the core of assets are systems.

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Regardless of the type of company that you are building, think critically about how your product innovation process and your product management process can work together to create a system of constant improvements. Consistent improvement is what capitalism and the competitive market economy are all about, and what the real role of an entrepreneur is.

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In entrepreneurial marketing, instead of concentrating on brand recognition, you concentrate on sales and lead generation. Without much money to spend, the return on investment (ROI) of every ad, every campaign, is that much more important.

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Because you are an aspiring entrepreneur, many people will be willing to help you. Be sure to take advantage of this.

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Many aspiring entrepreneurs have asked me how to find a business partner. I always answer that a partner is not someone you can find overnight or in a few weeks. It usually can only be someone with whom you have been friends for a while and in whom you have developed and established trust-someone who has worked for you for some time or someone you’ve worked with in the past.

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“First dream of having a team of full-time accountants and attorneys. Then you can have the big boat and the free time.”

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I evaluate the two most important qualities that a good worker can have-initiative and work ethic. You’ll quickly learn that no matter what someone’s experience, if you can find someone who has a bias toward action, takes initiative, and has a solid work ethic, you’ll have found someone whom you’ll want on your team permanently.

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Life is a game, and it’s one that doesn’t exactly reveal most of the rules until you’ve been playing it for a while.

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Life is too short to not be passionate about what you do. Stand out, make an impact, be compassionate, and help others. Too much injustice occurs in this world to not want to make a positive change at whatever level you can.

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Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself. Success comes when he empowers followers to do great things with him. Significance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him. But legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him.


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The first step toward achieving a goal is being able to visualize it.

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When you come to the edge of what you know, it’s time to make some mistakes.

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Here are a few more tips for networking:

• Never burn your bridges.

• Send thank-you cards.

• Have plenty of business cards on hand.

• Follow up when asked to do a favor for someone from whom you might need a favor down the line.

• Strategically volunteer with organizations that have members or directors you’d like to network with.

• Ask to shadow people whom you would like to get to know and whose job positions interest you.

• Connect those in your network who you think might be able to help each other.

• Invite those who have experience in business or your industry to serve on an informal advisory board for your company.

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