10 Things to be Paranoid About as an Entrepreneur

The biggest thinkers are usually the most paranoid, and the smallest thinkers are the least. Here are 10 things to be paranoid about as an entrepreneur.

Andy Grove was a Hungarian immigrant, an entrepreneur, and one of the founders of Intel. He was known as the guy that drove the growth phase of Silicon valley. He was respected among all CEOs.

He wrote a book called Only the Paranoid Survive. I highly recommend the book. Even though it’s an older book and some of the stories may not be relevant today, the concepts are still relevant.

 

A lot of people say that it’s not good to be paranoid, but I think paranoia is absolutely necessary for entrepreneurs. The ones who are the biggest thinkers are usually the most paranoid entrepreneurs. The smallest thinkers are normally the least paranoid.

In this video I share ten things to be paranoid about as an entrepreneur.

#1: Speed of Implementation

While the ten things I share in this video are in no particular order, speed of implementation is probably at the top of my list of things for entrepreneurs to be paranoid about. What do I mean by speed? How quickly we implement on effective ideas.

It is possible to move too quickly and doing things abuptly. There are instances where you need to take your time and be more diligent so you don’t lose $728,000 on a project that you’re working on.

But speed is by far at the top of my list of things to be paranoid about. Here are some examples:

  • Speed of delivery for customers
  • Speed of delivery for partners and vendors
  • Speed on how quickly we get back to customers and other people
  • Speed on emails
  • Speed on placement
  • Speed on purchases made, how long does it take to make the purchase, how easy is it for the buyer, and how quickly the product is sent to them
  • How quickly it takes for a loan to be underwritten

Everything comes back down to speed. The biggest companies in the world that become way too thick do so because at one point speed was very critical, but they’ve been flat because speed is no longer a priority to them. They forgot about being paranoid about the speed.

#2: Time

Listen in here for my thoughts on the importance of being paranoid about time, and some of the mistakes that I’ve made that have cost me.

#3: Deadlines

I’m paranoid about deadlines. Are we going to hit this deadline? Is this thing going to get done? It’s similar to time, but different because time can be so general.

If you make an announcement that something is going to launch at a particular time, how paranoid are you that the launch is going to take place? How does the team feel about that deadline not being met? What are you doing to make sure the deadlines are met?

#4: Internal Systems

How efficient are your internal systems? What type of product are your internal systems producing? Are they the best they can be? Is the experience that comes as a result of your systems the best?

What needs to be adjusted in your internal systems to make things more efficient, faster, and more streamlined? Can your systems be duplicated? Can anybody do them?

If you hired another person, could they come in and immediately do exactly what the person who was there three-and-a-half years was doing?

How efficient are your internal systems? Do they work together well? Do things run smoothly, without glitches?

You need to be paranoid about your internal systems.

#5: Innovation

There needs to be a lot of paranoia about innovation. A lot of big companies aren’t paranoid about innovation because they don’t ever think they’ll be passed up. They are typically extremely arrogant and cocky. Then, a younger company comes along and recognizes they aren’t the best and haven’t arrived yet. They recognize that the other company is bigger and better. But they’re hungry. they’re ready to fight. They want to win.

You have to ask if you have a level of paranoia on whether innovation is still taking place in your company, or if you’re doing business as usual.

#6: Energy

I’ve talked about this a lot lately. Do you still have the same enthusiasm and excitement you used to have, or, are you getting too content because you’ve had way too many victories? You need to be paranoid about keeping your energy at the highest level, where other people want to be around and emulate you.

#7: Numbers

As an entrepreneur, you need to be paranoid about the numbers.

There are so many different things as an entrepreneur you can measure. So many of them. But what’s your number one? What’s your number one thing you measure the most? Just think about that.

Some people say, “The most important thing to measure is profits.” Why? Because you’re taking profits home? A guy that worked for an attorney told me, “I’m working for an attorney that owns the firm. Every month, profits come in and he takes all the profits and leaves everything else behind.” If profit is the most important thing to you, could it be because you’re only thinking about yourself? I don’t know how many people are excited about working for a company where profit is the most important thing to the CEO. This doesn’t mean that profit isn’t important, because without profit, you go out of business. Profits are important, but they’re not number one.

Is it top-line revenue? Is it gross? Is it paying off debt? Is it being debt free? Is it how much cash you have? What is the measure? Is it how many employees you have? Is it how many vendors you have? Is it how many partners you have? How many products? What is it?

Listen in here for my thoughts on the most important measuring stick for any business.

#8: Competition

Competition really isn’t at the top of my list, but you do have to to pay attention to your competition. You need to pay attention to what your competitors are coming out with, and the products they’re launching. Why? Is it so you can react based on what they do? No, but you do need to pay attention to what they’re doing, because they’re definitely paying attention to you.

This level of paranoia is not very high. When asked, “Which strategies do you follow when it comes down to warfare?” Napoleon always said, “No one’s. I use my own.” Now he probably secretly copied somebody else, but he focused on certain philosophies and action plans that others didn’t think about. Everyone wanted to emulate him.

Even though this level of paranoia shouldn’t be high, you do need to be aware of what your competition has at their disposal.

#9: New Laws and Legislation

Listen in here for my thoughts on why you need to be paranoid about new laws.

#10: Leadership Team

The last one to be paranoid about is your leadership team. A great coach is very paranoid about the energy in the locker room. A great coach is very paranoid about the captain of the team that is leading everybody else. What are his habits? What is he doing when he’s taking players to his house or to dinners or parties? What bad habits is he teaching to them? It could be that he’s not captain material. Maybe you need to change the captain. The best player isn’t necessarily the leader of the team. Remember that. In fact, very rarely is the best player also the best leader.

You have to be paranoid about who you put as the face of your company and who you put leading everybody else, because if you choose the wrong person, they may give birth to a lot of negative, low-standard leaders.

If you aren’t very diligent about paying attention to that, standards will drop.

So those are 10 things that I recommend being paranoid with as an entrepreneur.

You may have other ones that I would love to hear yours. You can comment about them on the bottom. If you have any questions, about anything I covered with you, you can also post a comment on the bottom.

If you haven’t read the book, Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove, I highly recommend you read that book, Only the Paranoid Survive

And last but not least, if you haven’t already subscribed to my YouTube channel, be sure to click on the button below to subscribe.

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