Mark Zuckerberg may have dropped out of college when he was 23, but the co-founder and CEO of Facebook is a self-made billionaire. Now aged 31, Zuckerberg has one of the biggest social media platforms in the world under his belt.
As a result of his huge success, Zuckerberg has plenty of insights when it comes to creating a successful business. While he has predominantly worked in one sector, and his company is now huge, there is plenty of advice the Facebook mogul can give that is still relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Here are some of his best tips that could help turn small companies into successful businesses:
1. Explore your options
Talking to Y Combinator Startup School, Zuckerberg said that those running their own businesses should ensure they give themselves some flexibility to explore each option in terms of growing your company or its focus.
You can definitely do that in the framework of a company, but you have to be wary of working at a company and getting locked in.
Zuckerberg explained that entrepreneurs should explore their options and come up with ideas before committing to a single way of doing things. This way, you can find an angle or focus that you enjoy. This will then help ensure success as you'll be doing something you're passionate about, rather than just starting a company for the sake of it.
2. Test everything
When it comes to business, a sure thing doesn't exist. Companies need to test to make sure that what they're doing is working, connecting with their target audience and achieving the desired result.
We have this saying at Facebook that 'done' is better than 'perfect' - that's the idea. Having something that you can get feedback from the community on, so you can start to learn whether you're even going in the right direction at all, is better than trying to polish something up completely.
Ensuring testing can be done with minimal obstructions and that products, services or processes can be changed and perfected can help give clients and customers better results. Constantly reacting to what does and doesn't work can help your business move forward faster and - more importantly - in the right direction.
3. Know what you want to build
According to Zuckerberg, one of the most important aspects of determining a company's success is to know what it is trying to accomplish. He says that entrepreneurs should pinpoint the problem they want their business to solve in order to give it direction and drive it forward with a vision. There is little point in starting a company if you don't know what the point to it is, so you need to decide on this before you take any other steps.
If you want to build something great, you should focus on what the change is that you want to make in the world. I see too many entrepreneurs who decide that they want to start a company before they actually know what it is they want to build. To me, that seems backwards.
4. Consistency pays off
If your business has the same message, goals and core values, it is easier to build on each success and come up with new ideas. On top of this, pushing your consistent ethos can help you to determine which ideas should be grown and which probably won't lead to any improvements or success for the company, saving you both time and money.
Ensuring your company has key values, beliefs and themes can help drive progress by ensuring everyone is on the same page. On top of this, it means that you'll be able to act with conviction in ways that underpin these, improving your chances of success.