Article 2 of our Zerocopy interviews and today we will talk with Maxime about his challenges, the best advice he got when he started, things he would have done differently and what he would advice young entrepreneurs to do.
1. After 3 years at the head of the company, what was your biggest challenge? Your biggest mistake? How did you fix them?
The biggest challenge as an entrepreneur was to split with my co-founder, it truly was the battle of the battle.
Furthermore, a lot of things are going great while some go very bad in a company. It’s a combination that is really impactful. It means a lot of insecurity, which wasn’t always easy to deal with, but stabilises as you grow.
The essence of the direction of a company follows from the cohesion and consistency between shareholders. If you are negotiating with clients and you are in bad terms with your co-founder, you’re not focused on the clients anymore.
We all make mistakes and along the line, every entrepreneur has made decisions that he would have done differently. I am no exception, but like every young starter, I didn’t have amount of experience that I have today. You can’t and mustn’t regret these choices. We all make the best decision with the information we’ve got. What truly heals a ‘bad” choice is negotiation and time to fix your mistake and if you are true to yourself, in many cases, you get to chance to correct your mistakes.
2. What is the most inspirational advice you received?
If you have advisors that get to know you, their advice gets better the longer you know them. My former boss, is one of those people. He gave me the advice to take a leap and jump into the Zerocopy adventure. I can say that was pretty darn good advice.
Off course you have to be open to all the advice people give you, but it’s exceptionally valuable when someone understands you and your goals.
Books are also a great source of inspiration. Gather as much theory as you can and cherry-pick what is relevant for you or your business. Entrepreneurs have been around for many years, they have experienced what you are about to, so they might have a some insights that can help you achieve your goals.
They often write about the things they would have wanted to know before starting their journey or what they have learned along the way. Why not learn from them?
Take a step back from what you have read, determine the bigger picture for your business. Copy their success, avoid their mistakes.
A great place to start are books on self-realisation, I would highly recommend “The Seven Habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey and “Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works” by Ash Maurya. It’s really important to know if you’re doing the right thing and if you are doing things right, these two books have helped me a lot with finding that out.
3. If you would start everything again, would you do some things differently?
Definitely not, if you make the best decision you can with the information you’ve got then you can’t regret it afterwards.
If I could start again, I would try to come up with my own business model, find a co-founder specialised in IT and focus on being a commercial CEO.
In an ideal world I would have to focus on finance and sales and my partner on IT and marketing.
4. What would be the best tip that you would give to an entrepreneur just about to start his own business?
- Read the “seven habits” and “running lean”!
- Don’t make compromises to what you love and if you have to do something you don’t like, better start liking it.
- Embrace feedback, start to listen and stop talking.
Check- in next week for the final part of our interview with Maxime Carpentier