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Joel aan ‘t Goor, CEO OPEN Business Leaders and founder Origins, speaks with Patrick de Zeeuw, about the things you need in order to become successful as an entrepreneur, the importance of purpose and culture, gut feelings and Patrick’s own personal drive. Here are some interesting takeaways from the interview!

ON BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR

You need to be passionate about things, and that will infect others. Passion is key to keep you motivated on a path which will not always be smooth – being an entrepreneur is about making hard decisions and overcoming barriers to succeed. Another essential factor is Purpose. When you match passion and purpose together, you can know where you are going and have the resilience to persevere.

And when it comes to building a team, with these two factors (purpose and passion) aligned, it becomes much easier to find the correct people for your project because they share the same objectives as you. This way it’s about “We” and no longer about “Me”.

Why are you doing this and not something completely different? If you can answer that question without a doubt, you are on the right path.

ON CREATING CULTURE

Founders define culture – mainly because when you are hiring, you tend to select people with the same culture and purpose as you. It is also natural that they will start emulating your behavior. It’s about being selective about who you bring on board, especially if you are a small team because one person can have a huge impact.

At Startupbootcamp, Innoleaps & The Talent Institute, we have four values:

  • Entrepreneurship

The ability of moving fast, making mistakes (but not the same mistake multiple times), taking risks and ownership. Freedom to act as you see fit and innovate.

  • Learning Desire

Keeping yourself & people around you informed. People will start to adapt to this culture once they see it happening around them and will become resources of information to each other.

  • Embracing Change

Change is part of moving fast and reacting to your environment. By embracing change, we are able to respond to an ever-changing landscape and take the best of previous experiences and move on to the next challenge.

  • Passion

Nothing moves forward without passion. It is what keeps the flame alive even against the hardest winds that will come. Struggles are only overcome by a team driven by passion.

ON A COMPANY’S BIGGEST SUCCESS FACTOR

It’s all about the people: great ideas executed by a mediocre team won’t go anywhere because challenges will come and overcome them. You should always bet on the founder and the team and not on the idea because that is almost a guarantee they will be able to work things out. People inside an organization should have different skills – but also complementary personalities, so their differences make them stronger.

Timing is also very relevant: The so-called product-market-fit. Is there a need for the market at that point? Sometimes it can be too early or too late for their solution to enter the market.

ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE 

Sometimes, the time you are not at the office can be as valuable as the time you are there. As a leader, it is essential to be able to take a momentary step back from your business, to think about solutions, with a creative focus.

Being able to analyse how your company works without you is a great indicator of the work that still needs to be done, but also being able to unplug from it is a great source of new insights.

Reading can be a great way to come up with new strategies: but that works best when your head is entirely dedicated to something other than your day-to-day work. That enables you to come up with insights which are not limited to operations & executions but mainly bigger plans and strategies which you will bring back to your team.  To do that, it is mandatory to have somebody in your team – a co-founder or colleague – on whom you can drop all your tasks & responsibilities and fully focus on being away from work and not bothered by unwanted calls and e-mails.

ON BELIEVING IN YOUR JUDGEMENT

Here’s the truth: Bad things can happen. But it is believing in your team and their capacities to overcome challenges that brings you forward as an entrepreneur or as an innovator.

If you think about all the things that can go wrong, you won’t innovate (or even leave the house). It’s by taking leaps that you believe in that you can make real impact and change, and using data with a fantastic team to make sure it becomes a success.