5 top tips to make it as an entrepreneur

Date: 21st August 2015

To celebrate World Entrepreneurs’ Day today we’re taking our top picks from Rod Drury’s tips on how to make it as a world class entrepreneur – all of which could equally be applied to small business entrepreneurship.


Here we are with Rod Drury at Xerocon earlier this year!

Like many entrepreneurs, Rod Drury, CEO and founder of Xero, began his career doing something else – in his case, as an auditor. Since then he has started, built and sold multiple companies. He’s served on the board of directors of major corporations and invested his own money in some homegrown startups. If there’s one thing Rod knows, it’s how to be a successful entrepreneur.

So what are his tips on how to make it?

1. Fail quickly and cheaply

Don’t be afraid to abandon something that isn’t working. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means an idea didn’t work out. New ideas aren’t as hard to come by as people think. Take what you learned from failing and turn it into something new.

2. Don’t be in it for the money

Love what you do. That passion has to get you out of bed in the morning. It has to drive you to put in the time to make your business successful. If you don’t love it, you won’t work on it.

“My first few companies it was about making money and proving I could do it. As I hit those goals I found what’s more important is doing something that is good and has purpose. For me, what gets me out of bed in the morning, is our vision at Xero. We want to make small businesses more productive. That in turn will drive the economy. I’m always telling people I’m in this for better schools and hospitals. That’s what a growing small business economy will give us. I know we can make a difference and that’s why I’m in it for the long haul. And it’s so fun!”

3. Be in it for the money

If you love what you do, but you’re losing money, get out. Or find a way to make it profitable. Bringing in cash is what’s going to keep your business (and your family) thriving.

“Money is the ultimate scorecard. At the end of the day, you have to sell things. It’s a huge reward to do the hard work and see the money come in.

4. Disrupt or die

If you’re looking for an area to start a business, look at what’s old and inefficient and needs to change. The pace of technology innovation can dramatically alter the playing field. Find a way to do it better and get to work. Even if you’ve been in business for a while, keep looking for ways to disrupt. If you don’t, someone else can come in and eat your lunch.

“For a long time we let a lot of industries dictate to us how they wanted things to be done. All that has changed with the Internet. Just like Xero is disrupting the way people do their accounting around the world, Uber has changed the taxi industry. AirBnB accommodation. Netflix is disrupting global TV, Amazon has disrupted retail. Change is happening everywhere, but there are a lot of industries that are ripe for disruption. Those are the places I would look if I was going to start another business.”

5. Stand for something

Leaders lead. Take a position. Have an opinion. Make change happen. You’ve (probably) only got one life so make a difference and leave things better than when you found it. Imagine how great the world would be if we all did that.

“Advocacy is a great way to build your profile. As well as doing good, people notice those that make things happen and drive change.”

Further reading

More about World Entrepreneurs’ Day

More Small Business Tips from Xero

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