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How to get the right customers for your business and how to count them?
Why do most startups fail? Because of a bad technology? Because of a bad team and execution? Because of a not working marketing machine? A major point is because of missing customers who are willing to pay for what you offer. There are tons of different business models out there. B2B (Business to business) vs. B2C (Business to customer) or offline vs. online are very important differentiations. But everyone has one of the same challenges: sell your shit. Otherwise it is very, very hard to survive, you probably cannot make a living out of love. Of course, there are some other examples like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and so on, who offer a free service but they have a completely other business model and I would not focus on them today. There it is very simple: you as a customer are paying with your data, but I guess almost everyone got this until now. As mentioned above for me the most important differentiations are B2B, B2C and offline or online. That will also be the focus on today. B2C There are two very, very important KPIs when talking about marketing, sales and startups: CAC and CLV. I will describe them shortly and why they matter a lot: CAC means Customer acquisition costs. In concrete that means how much money does it cost me to acquire new customers? It could be calculated when you sum up the total marketing campaign costs related to acquisition and divide this up with all won customers, for example for a month. For example, if you invest 200k€ per month for customer acquisition and win 200 customers out of this than your CAC is 1.000€. CLV means Customer lifetime value. In concrete that means how much money does a customer pays you for his whole customer time. This KPI is a bit harder to calculate but we will also shortly try. It is the sum of all expected revenues less invest in a business relation divided by the minimum interest rate per period. Why are both KPIs that important? If the CLV to CAC ratio is too little (e.g. 1) your business model will probably not work because you are spending too much to win new customers. If the ratio is to high (e.g. greater than 5) you maybe miss out on new business as you are spending too little to get new customers. I would say those KPIs are very important for subscription-based business models like you maybe know it from your Mobile Provider, Netflix, Apple Music and much more. How do those businesses gain new customers? Maybe you get an idea when you rethink how you were getting attention to those businesses. There are lots of different paid and unpaid possibilities like: TV advertising, SEO (Search engine optimization), SEA (Search engine advertising), Facebook ads, flyers, other marketing campaigns and so on. But you always need to look at those KPIs CAC and CLV, because that could make the difference in the end if you make good money or not. B2B Of course, the above is also very important for B2B business, who for example have small and medium sized business as their customers and are winning their attention mainly online. But there are also B2B business models who work in a completely different way: e.g. hard and difficult to describe the own product, very big corporations as customers. That often results in very long sales cycle but when you are in the customer and won a new contract than you can often make millions with just one customer. But that also often means that you don’t have that standard product, instead you have to adjust everything a little to your exact customer needs. In general, of course also CAC and CLV count here because if the CAC is too high your company will never be profitable or maybe you will never get a single customer. But often it is very hard to track those KPIs exactly down like when you have that subscription model. So, what are in this case maybe better KPIs to look at? An important one could be the sales cycle duration. How long does it take from first customer contact until closing a deal? Every sales cycle could be tracked down into the following steps: Initiate Contact, Qualify Lead, Present offer, Overcome objections, Close deal. When you stuck too long at one step it could often be an indicator, that this is not an A customer but more a C or D customer (on which you should put less attention). With a good CRM-Tool it is very easy to track every step of the sales cycle down. And I would really put work into make guidelines for your special business model: how much effort you should put at every stage and what makes sense and then you should be able to better separate the wheat from the chaff. For that very long sales cycles with big corporations you often did not get customers like with SEA or other ads. Often it happens through direct contacts so a good network is very important here or sometimes also cold calls need to be done. And you need a very long breathing and persistence. Online I don’t want to make a marketing and sales guide out of this article, because I think if you google “How to make startup sales” or similar you find enough tools and techniques to start with. I just want to give a short overview in the following on what is available for free and what costs money to increase your startup sales activities. SEO (Search engine optimization): You can write a book about this topic to make it better. My experience is what helps very well is begin writing Blog articles and change your content from time to time. Dynamic and nice content is what nowadays really counts for Google and co. Think of which search terms your customers are typing to find you. And for every single search term you should create a blog post or other nice content. In the earlier years it was enough to create very simple backlinks (links to your homepage on other, often fake, websites) but that does not work anymore. What helps of course is when you achieve it to get a backlink on a very good ranked website, e.g. as a reference on your customer website when they are satisfied with what you offer. SEA (Search engine advertising) and Facebook ads: For some startups this is very important but could also get very expensive very soon. It highly depends on which area you are operating. In a niche you often get a click for a few cents but in a very competitive market (e.g. real estate or cars) one click is easily soon a few euros. In my opinion it helps with a small budget, like e.g. 5€ per day, to test a business model very fast if it would work or you need to change something. TV ads: That is something which is nothing for very early stage startups, rather it is something when you already have a good customer base and want to reach the early and late majority with your products. The costs are also very high but you get a huge range of new people addressed. Reviews: Nowadays reviews are very important. Lots of people look for reviews regardless if it is a restaurant to eat one-time or an online shop to buy new shoes or to find a barber in a new city. So personally, regardless of what kind of business I operate, I would put a lot of work into good reviews from my loyal customer base in the well-known platforms like Google, Facebook and other and that would help very well and is very sustainable. Offline The following is often very important if you are a local business like a Barber, Craftsmen, Restaurant or Bar. Reviews: Like above they are the basis of a well-running business. Word to mouth propaganda: Also, like the reviews, a very nice word to mouth propaganda from happy customers, who had a nice experience with your service, is the best what could happen to you. That is very well and sustainable for your business and I would put much on satisfied customers, because they are your best marketing machine. Offline Marketing activities: For example, if you are a restaurant than make some exclusive offers or sometimes a nice party, the same if you are a barber: who says that you cannot make a party with your nice customers? Today you need to contrast yourself from the normal services you offer. The people nowadays want to buy experiences and not just services. Local newspapers: Depending on the customers you have it could be also very helpful to inform local people in the local newspapers about your special activities and new services you offer. Otherwise how would the local people know what you are organize and offer? You have more ideas that need to be mentioned here? I would happy to hear your thoughts!
What to do when you are getting a cold?
Unfortunately, at least in Germany now is the time, where people start getting a cold or flu. I just read that 3 weeks ago (in calendar week 3) the flu season started in Germany. To be honest: that really, really, really sucks. In my opinion, when you are sick, most of the time is wasted. You are very limited in what you can do and what you should do. In my younger years when I was still hunting for a pro career as a cyclist, of course sometimes I still got into training or even competitions with a small cold. For your health that is everything else than good. You are at risc for a heart muscle inflammation or other things. Often you hear of a sudden cardiac death of an athlete or even of normal persons. And one never knows if this is from a cold carried over or anything else. Of course, one cannot turn back time, but as of today I would not go to the gym or do other sports when I feel a little sick. Sufficient recovery is the key definitive. Is there any fast help? The internet and lots of advertisements nowadays in Germany are full of “immediately feel better” or “don’t get knocked out because of a cold”. Should you trust that? Without verify it I assume the health of people is a huge market because (almost) everybody does everything to recover fast and stay healthy. Lots of famous products of which you probably already heard of and that get advertised are: Aspirin Complex, Grippostad C, Wick MediNait and many more. Please take the following very serious: from my own experience I can say of course you feel almost instant better if you take such medicines. But please don’t forget that you are still sick. Most of the medicines are also anti-inflammatory that you probably recover a bit earlier. But please don’t think that you must pull out trees directly because that is really a fallacy. Your body still needs time to fight against the viruses and bacteria, which took you down. Do you know why you feel better immediately if you take for example Aspirin Complex? No? I can tell you: If you study the ingredients of Aspirin Complex you would discover “Pseudoephedrinhydrochlorid”. Ephedrin is a doping substance, which athletes use to be able for a better overspending during exercise or competition and under bodybuilders it is also a famous fat burner because it suppresses appetize. Furthermore, in world war 2nd Ephedrin and other drugs were used that the soldiers were tired more slowly and were more cold-resistant. Of course, in today’s medicine it is only a synthetical substance in a very low dose, but try it out and take 3 or 4 Aspirin Complex bags at once and you would feel like Hulk after a few time ;-)… One really abnormal thing is that Aspirin Complex is obviously allowed to advertise with the slogan “Full of life despite a cold - with Aspirin Complex”. In my opinion that implies that with a cold and the use of Aspirin Complex you could go for your normal daily life. But due to my mentioned reasons above it is not and that slogan should be changed. (Of course, it depends on the severity of the illness) What else can I do? It also hurts me very much every time when I have a cold. Thank god I have a very good immune system and also my nutrition is not the worst. But sometimes if lots of people around you cough and sniff than you can do nothing and 1 or 2 days later you recognize that you don’t feel very well. In my opinion the best thing than is rest and rest and rest. Sometimes this is not easily possible in today’s world because of important meetings, deadline compliance and so on. But please think about what is more important than your personal health? Right, I hope you also come to the decision that your health is on top and after there are probably things like family, friends, hobbies and so on and after that there is your work. But if you could not take a rest directly and need to do a meeting or so I would suggest some of the things from above like Aspirin Complex to feel a bit better, of course depending on your symptoms. Than what could also help to be at a 100% a bit earlier than usual are some household remedies like inhalation, cold bath, hot potatoes on the breast, soup chicken and so on. Hopefully you will escape from the flu season, toi toi toi 🍀! And if not, now you know what helps best. Having a winter residency in a warm country like the Arabic emirates, southern Spain, southern California, Portugal or else would also be a very nice foresight to minimize the risk of get ill 😉.
Start your Business bootstrapped or with Investors?
This is a frequent asked question in the startup ecosystem area and is not easy to answer, but I will try to give an overview what is important to know with the experience I made so far. Often it depends on your planned business model and in which area you want to start your business. Bootstrapped means that you fund your company from the beginning on with the revenue you make with the business and maybe to bypass some problems with your own money you may have also from family and friends. With Investors you get money e.g. from Business Angels or Venture Capital Companies to grow your business when you could not fund it with your revenues from the beginning. I would say for the investors it is overdone said a bet in the future and the hope is that your business is in 5 – 7 years 10 times more worth than in the beginning. Planned industry sector of your business There are a lot of buzzwords out there like Smart City, Industry of Things, Industry 4.0, Automation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Agriculture and so forth. All of those have something to do with digitization. But of course, you could not only start a business in such “hyped” areas, but you could also start a business as craftsmen, electrician, car mechanic, dentist or author. Because that are probably also sectors which have a bright future, as everybody needs such services and they would most likely not be automated in the near future through some robotics or so. In the following I would give three examples of different areas, where you may start a business and what that means regarding your capital needs in the beginning days, months and years. Craftsman A craftsman could start his complete business alone, when he as an education or master craftsmen. He does probably not need any support to develop a technology or build a piece of hardware. Maybe it would be good to hire a software developer to build a nice website and offer his services to people around him. But there are services like Jimdo or Wix where everybody, who can use a computer or smartphone, can create a nice and beautiful looking website. Thus, it should not be a problem to create some demand in the market to grow a business, also word-of-mouth recommendation through family and friends could help. The biggest investment is probably in tools & instruments he needs that he could do his work. When the business starts booming and the demand could not be covered alone anymore, of course it would be useful to hire fellow craftsmen and build an even bigger company. But probably in this kind of business there is no initial investment necessary that one can start his business and it would be great here to grow from his own cashflow. E-Commerce To start an E-Commerce business, one probably need a website, where you can sell the goods you want to offer to the people. It must not be a complete customized and perfect developed website, that you can start with. Maybe it is useful to start small to validate the ideas you have and why people would buy from you. There are also services, which you can use to start an Online-Shop like Shopify or Woocommerce, which enhances Wordpress as a fully usable Web-Shop. As soon as you discover real traction for your shop you could also start to invest more money in getting “the perfect E-Commerce-Shop”. But the question is if you need to have it from the beginning and today I would say rather no. The most important thing is not the technology or a beautiful design of something, it is rather the perfect product market fit. If you have the nicest looking shop but no one recognize why they should buy from you, then you may could buy customers with Google or Facebook Ads or similar, but the question is if this works sustainable for the future. In this kind of business, you always need to know your CAC (Customer acquisition costs) and your CLV (Customer lifetime value). If you have those two numbers (and your organization) completely in control, then of course it should work e.g. to insert 10m€ and get back 15m€. But I would suggest to bootstrap such an idea until you are really sure that you have the right market, the right products to sell, the first growing sales and know your KPIs and then you would attract Investors automatically to scale big. Internet of Things (IoT) Normally companies or startups in this area need software and hardware technology to start. And this is a big deal in the beginning versus if you just have e.g. software from the beginning. I would say a normal IoT product looks like: you have a piece of hardware that measures something and which sends this data to a Server, there the Data is saved and visualized to the customers, and best you create any added value for the customer through data science to the pure raw data. But as you could see this contains different knowledge to build a successful product like: General Software Development including knowledge in Device Management Data Science Hardware Development including knowledge in Communication (Transfer Data Wireless) To successfully build a MVP (minimal viable product) here you probably would need two to three people who work some time on it to make a proof and then normally those guys are only tech people so you don’t have business people yet in the company. So, I would say your founding team would contain 4 to 5 people or more if you want to completely build the first prototype by yourself or in this case you need some money for the beginning on, to pay the right people for some tasks. That is how we did it with Binando, we started as one business founder and one tech founder. But me as the technical founder could just cover the complete software part, because I had very little to do with hardware before. Thus, we got a small 6-digit number from the beginning on, to create the first prototypes and MVP to validate the idea itself. An alternative to this approach would be to offer services like e.g. software or hardware development in the beginning to paying customers and try to save some money that you can hire the right people later. But here is the risk, that you lose the focus for the original idea and you create more like a service agency. But there are some examples out there which proofed that you don’t need necessarily an initial investment to develop a complex product. Of course, this are just three example sectors picked out by me to give you a better overview of what could be the key challenges you would discover regarding money in the beginning, if you decide to start a business. Advantages and Disadvantages of Bootstrapping vs. Investment As often every decision and way have its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with Bootstrapping. When your Business works and you can grow from your own cashflow that is a very nice thing because 100% of your company belongs to you (or you and your co-founders). You have everything in your own hands and can solely decide alone what you think its best for your company. On the other hand, it is normally very hard to make big deals when you are completely bootstrapped and it lasts long to grow. Because a lot of business models have losses in the beginning and just after a few years they would have growing profits. Nevertheless, there are enough examples where you can see that it is also nice to grow more slowly but sustainable from your own earned money. I heard from lot of people, who are not in that startup ecosystem, “wow you got an investment from a big company? Cool, then you must be a millionaire now (or latest in a few years)”. No, it works definitely not like that. It is a very long and stony path and it is not easy. Even after years you may not know if this will be a success or a fuckup story in the end, but that is entrepreneurship. You need the right focus, passion and environment to not give up and walk always ahead as a leader. Even when you get an investment you often have to worry about money and how long your company can survive. Hopefully it lasts long enough to achieve the next milestones to create more revenue or raise new money. Also, a famous quote here is: “You will raise money as long as people believe in your vision”. There are enough examples from companies who became unicorns (valuation of the company more than one billion) without earned one single Euro. But is that a target? Yes, sure for some people the big money is very important. But, in my opinion, a sustainable business is more important, to change something in the world (at least a little) and give good and nice people the chance to follow you and your dreams and help to build something big. If you have investments from Business Angels or Venture Capital Firms or similar in your company they always want to see good progress and so on. You will have regular investors meetings and you mostly need to justify for what and why you need to invest here and there. The worst scenario here could be that you as a founder are convinced that you need to do something otherwise an important project or even the company will fail. In case there are enough shares with your investors and they have another opinion, then they could just block such important decisions. Thankfully I did not discover such things in the past and hopefully will never discover them in the future. I also have the view, that you can talk about anything and can convince people with good arguments, but you never know what all could happen. As I said in the beginning there is no single truth and there are a lot of different ways on which you will get to Rome. Best is to figure out your best way depending on your personal way, business model and idea. For me I could say so far, I am happy how we proceed in the past with Binando, of course there were lot of ups and downs, but in general the direction is the right one I think. But when I would have the chance to start a new business (maybe some time in the future), probably I would try to bootstrap in the beginning as long as you can and hopefully until you have definitely found a product market fit. Because than you are through that whole “we are not sure if the customer really needs it” and “is it the right market, the right time” questions. And you are sure you found the right product for the right customers and hopefully in a big market. When you have investors in your company in that questions phase of a company and you may think of major pivots, it could be sometimes very challenging and you need a lot of sure instinct ;-)… If you have another view on this, can just confirm it or see complete other ways to start a business of course I would be happy to hear about it!
My favorite sports to stay healthy, in shape and balanced
In the following I will write about my favorite sport disciplines I started doing over the past years, which are fun for me and which help me to remain active. My recommendation for everybody out there is: search a sport or activity which helps you to free your mind, get a little distance from the daily work and stay healthy. Regardless if it is an extreme sport discipline or just a walk for 30 minute – it will surely help you! Gym In the recent years my focus from cycling changed to other sports and remained at going to a gym very regular. In 2012 I was going for a semester abroad to the USA and China for the whole year and I decided not to take my bicycle with me. So, I discovered lots of different things but was fast going to the gym at least 3 times a week. That evolved in the past and depending on the travel days and work load I go at the moment 3 – 5 times a week. I do it not competitive but still have very good strength values. It helps me to have a break of the daily business and often I get new ideas or solve (software) problems when in a gym. Also an important hint from my site: don’t use your mobile when doing sports. Of course, you can answer important phone calls but if you chat or look at Instagram in every pause than the effect of refresh yourself is not the same. We need to do a workout even when we are in holiday in Croatia with 35° I already wrote a blog article about how to get a sixpack. If I got a nice one I will update that picture for sure 😉 Riding a bike When you had a fast look around my website, I think you already noticed that I was a former competitive athlete in cycling (road and track). My real passion was always track and the nicest race is a Madison race but, on the road, the potential money you can earn is much more higher. So I was 10 year a very good cycling athlete and also won lots of medals at the German Championship, sprint trikots at small tours or achieved lots of good places at international races. My aim was definitely to become a pro and I think I could have made it but the timing was the worst possible. When I came to elite in 2009 Team Gerolsteiner was just closed due to some cases of doping and the pro cycling in Germany was really down. I was born in 1990 and I think there is no German rider with this birth year riding in the UCI world tour, there are some from 89 and downwards like John Degenkolb or Rüdiger Selig and some from 91 and upwards like Nikias Arndt and Emanuel Buchmann. I think the more you go away down- or upwards from my birthdate the better the timing was to become a pro cyclist in Germany. And of course there are also big international names in Pro Cycling from the year 90 like Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski or Silvan Dillier with whom I competed around 10 years ago and also was sometimes better than them ;-). To be honest: my biggest dream in the younger years was to ride Le Tour de France one time, but I guess there was no worse timing than we could have from the birth year 90. Today I am really confident how things evolved and when I look back I am happy that I did not become a pro due to several reasons, but of course later that time it was not easy to accept that there is no German Pro Cycling team where you can develop yourself very well. Today I enjoy more riding on a mountain bike on great trails than riding on a road bike. And of course, I always think of a comeback, as when you were an athlete one-time I think you always have that tingling when watch some sports but we will see if that will happen sometime or only in my next life ;-). A nice bike tour in Schönbuch at panzer trail near Böblingen Sweating hard in 35°. Even in Croatia during holiday I need to ride my bike 😉 Squash I probably went 3 times or so going to squash with school friends and university friends and it was always fun. Of course, I was not perfect but I think when you have an athlete background you learn different sports very fast, I will explain that again in the next section Skiing. Than approximately 2 years ago I started to go playing squash very rarely with my cousin as we do lots of sports together except of gym due to several reasons. From that irregularity things evolved that we find us in winter almost every Sunday in the squash court and during summer when the weather was not so good for cycling. After a few matches we pushed each other so hard that some rallies are so unbelievable how that worked, but I think against a pro we won’t have any chance yet ;-). Unfortunately, my cousin sometimes has pains in the foot or shoulder and so we need to have a break from squash, so it is since the summer, but hopefully we can start playing soon again because it makes really fun! A nice squash court with a good partner is always exhausting. Skiing We are not a ski family so when I was a child there were no ski holidays. But a very popular training for endurance athletes in winter is cross-country skiing. I was also one time in St. Moritz for a week but not for classical skiing but rather for cross-country skiing. And there we went down a regular ski piste with our cross-country skiers. It worked out and there I recognized that I want to do normal skiing as well. So, I went one-time in the black forest with some school friends to learn it in one evening. Than we had some one-day and one-time a two-day ski trips by our school. I think it was on my 3rd ski day where my sports teacher asked me how long I do sky for 10 years or what? And when I said it is my 3rd ski day he could not believe it. But I think due to my experience in cross-country ski I learned it very fast and until now it makes really fun and I look that I get approximately 2x2-3 days on my skis per winter. If you want to catch me for a ski trip just contact me but you must be fast down the mountain otherwise we would not have lots of fun together ;-). I always think of learn snowboarding and I think as I go wakeboarding it will not take too long to go down on a snowboard very safe, but will see when it is time to make it. A nice view during a ski day between Christmas and Silvester 2017 at Spitzingsee, Bavaria Wakeboard A few years ago (I think it was in 2014) a friend from university and professional Freestyle Skier (Daniel Bohnacker) asked me if we should go Wakeboarding. No sooner said than done. We booked a 2 hours ticket and after 1 hour I finished my first complete round and after the 2 hours I was able to drive more rounds without crashing if I don’t try some tricks and so on. After a few more times I bought my first own but used Wakeboard which I destroyed in Munich while trying a trick and the left binding was pulled out totally of the board. Then I bought a new Wakeboard which is alive until today and hopefully will do it lots of years more. Depending on where I travel for Binando often I can combine that with a visit at a Wakeboard Cable Park. I think I am normally 3 to 6,7 times on the Board a year and in the meantime, I go over lots of obstacles but next I would highly love to be able to do a Raley, we will see when I am able to do that ;-). Go over a jump (Cross) skating As said before cross-country skiing (in German often simply called “Skating”) is a very popular training method during winter. In the first time I learned the classical way where you have both ski all the time in parallel in the trail track but very soon I wanted to do the skating as you are faster and, in my opinion, it looks way better and athletic. So normally I just do skating. Where I live unfortunately there is not as much snow as 10 years ago so in the recent years I just had 1 – 3,4 times on the cross-country skis and I think that would not change much in the next couple of years. But when skating around for 1,5-2,5 hours I really love it and it definitely frees my head of the daily business. There is an alternative for the winter version on two wheels and of course a few years ago I bought the equipment for that. It is a nice alternative when it’s not the perfect weather for biking than you can go on with your cross-skater’s as you do an average of 14 to 15km/h and are not that fast. After a run on my cross-skater’s Soccer The first real sport I did when I was a child was playing soccer, I think a lot of kids (even in Germany) start with that as it is definitely the number one sport in Germany (so it is e.g. in Belgium (and almost Netherlands) with Cycling). To be honest our team was not so well, but I don’t know why because lots of people were not that bad with a ball. So often we lost with very high goals like 15:0 and so on. That is of course very disappointing. My decision was than not so hard to quit soccer and fully concentrate on cycling, even when I was not so bad in playing soccer. But during the winter we often played soccer and it turned out that I am definitely not that worse so that the high goals were probably not my fault ;-), but as of today I play soccer very rarely as you always need a lot of guys and best would be if most of them could play soccer as otherwise it does not make fun and of course the risk of injury is very high. And as you see there are lots of other great sports listed above… A little other variant of soccer which is called bubble soccer. It made so much fun and we did place 2 in a tournament even with a girl in our team. Look definitely forward to play that again! Hiking It is always lovely to go on a nice trail in a nice landscape for a few kilometers or hours. Often, it’s good to discuss important topics while go on a walk respectively hiking and that can be definitely done by everybody! A nice view at the Kaiserklamm in Austria near Kufstein You see there are a lot of sports out there what you can do and which will help you to free your mind and be more balanced. If you have a hint for me what I definitely need to try out than please let me know!
Characteristics of successful athletes and entrepreneurs
In the following I will shortly list some characteristics I’ve noticed in the recent combined 15 years of my athlete and entrepreneurial way among people who seemed to be successful in a way. I think there is no difference in which field you are active, whether it is sports, business or voluntary. You will probably discover at least some of the characteristics below with people who seem to be successful. Curiosity One rule I discovered is that lots of athletes would start an own business after their athlete career, they normally don’t go to big corporations like Daimler, VW or IBM. They want to discover new things and are interested in a wide area of different fields, that is always good to grow yourself. Lifelong learning I heard that a lot at school and at university and always thought: “yeah, just go ahead”. But it is like it is and you should be always willing to learn new things. In the retrospective I recognize that most of things I can call my skills I learned by myself in an autodidactic and try-and-error way. Always stay hungry! Focus Besides staying curious and learning new things, you also need to focus on the important things and don’t involve yourself in way too much different things. So to give you an example: when I was in school my whole life rotated around cycling and sports and today around growing my own business Binando. That means not that you should not go out with friends or doing some holidays and so on. It should only be in the correct balance. Learn from “the older ones” It is always good to talk to people who have experienced that where you are currently going through to learn from their experience. When I came to the Elite in Cycling I had a guy in my team who rode two times Le Tour de France and lots of Classics like Paris-Roubaix and it was great to learn from his experiences how to read a race competition for example. The same for example if you need to raise 10m € for your company or need to develop your sales team, than best is to talk with people who were going through that and learn from their experience, that you don’t do the same failures they did. Passion for business This is a very often heard sentence but it is just true: “do what you love”. I think there is nothing explanation needed. Period. Integrity There are a lot people out there who are looking for the fast success and will hop on every hype which arises. Those are most often the people who are doing everything for their success and lack of honesty or integrity. Maybe that is sometimes good for be successful in the short-term but for me a 10- or 20-years plan is much more important than being successful in 3 months and after that the story implodes because it was just a nice facade. A very well-known sentence from Warren Buffet is: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” So, think about that! That is just my opinion what I have experienced but I guess if you look around a bit in your circle of acquaintances that often applies. But of course, as always, people are different and there are a lot of different ways which are leading to success. If you have very important other characteristics in mind which you have experienced and are not listed above, I would be happy to hear about them!