I usually get a lot of inspiration by reading entrepreneurs’ success and failure stories and am extremely grateful that we live in an era where it’s almost trendy to share these stories. Despite this, it often happens that the advice, insights or takeaways are hardly transposable and applicable to a wider range of scenarios. Or even worse, that it’s almost always possible to find a number of contradictory examples that could completely demolish these lessons learned.

This is simply because it’s extremely difficult to build a successful business and even more so to describe each success by any sort of mathematical formula. Part of the reason may also be that building a business is probably more art than science but that’s another story on its own…

In my search for overly simplifying everything, I tried to concentrate some of these lessons and find a common denominator which can be summarized by three words.


It is a common misconception that building businesses is about saying yes. Saying yes to building products or features, going after every possible market and adapting to every customer’s feedback. What stands out from success (and failure for that matter) stories is that what actually works is saying no. Focusing on a single product, market or customer need and saying no to everything else that may prevent you from concentrating in what you are good at building.


It’s almost a common sense that you should try to solve the biggest problem you can find affecting the biggest number of people. A less common approach is that you should also imagine that one day your business will actually be a big business. Thinking and focusing on the long term whenever you’re making decisions helps the quality of the actual decision making process. When making decisions like choosing the right name for your company or hiring your first employees, always imagine the implications in the context of your business turning into a huge global business.


This word is a bit of a stretch to make a nice punchy title but the meaning behind it is that you actually need to build a business that makes economical sense for all the parties involved in the deal or else you’ll have no deal. The problem you’re trying to solve has to be valuable enough for someone to pay you the right amount that consequently will allow you to stay in business. Seems trivial but is often forgotten.

I would like to point out that this is not by all means an exhaustive framework and therefore it comes with absolutely no guarantee that it actually works. On the other hand, you can perfectly try this at home and maybe in the end you’ll be able to say, No Big Deal.

Article By Rui Rodrigues