Ben Francis: What can we learn from a 28-year-old billionaire entrepreneur.
Ben is an entrepreneur whose success has brought with it many lessons for all those who wish to be successful in any domain must learn from.
In this article, we discuss key lessons from Ben Francis’ success such as:
- There is no such thing as the ideal path to success especially for entrepreneurs
- Be patient
- Generalists are just as effective as Specialists in Business
- Failure is the best thing that can happen to you
- You are never too young (or Old)
- Know your strengths
- Gary Vee — “attention is everything”
There is no such thing as the ideal path to success especially for entrepreneurs
For Some people can be said that they were born entrepreneurs and others become entrepreneurs neither of which is better than the other but it is the entrepreneur you become that matters the most. Ben Francis started by selling old license plates online. He has been quoted as saying that he did not really enjoy school but when he started attending the gym it taught him the discipline that helped out with school and he soon realized that fitness was his passion which led him to launch the fitness applications Fat Loss Abs Guide and iPhysique. He went on to study International business and management at Aston University. His path does not follow the typical youth prodigy who dropped out of the ivy league but rather a uniquely different path. While in college he worked at Pizza Hut and managed to build up 1000 pounds worth of savings. He launched Gymshark out of his parent's Garage which is like some other successful startups like Apple and he sewed the clothes together himself. When reading entrepreneurship magazines and articles one can be quite deterred from starting a business as those who these magazines praise as the ultimate entrepreneurs often have a life story that is far from the reality of the average reader for example Ivy-league dropouts and so forth, entrepreneurial successes like Ben reminds us that there is no correct picture or path for entrepreneurship and it allows those who have a different background to dare to dream that they too can be an entrepreneur.
It took him 6 weeks to make a sale, if you were to explore the world of internet Marketers you would know about how they peddle the idea of overnight successes promising some unrealistic outcome. Ben understood that to build something remarkable needs patient. After all, Rome was not a built-in a day.
Generalists are just as effective as Specialists in Business
Ben does not have a specific skill that he can say he is categorically better at than most people, due to the past businesses he managed to teach himself vital skills that would come in handy later on along his business career namely how to run effective ads, how to edit videos, how to set up a proper website and many more things. The skills alone are not at all remarkable but it is the combination of these skills that allowed him to produce a superior product and marketing strategy to beat all his competitors.
Failure is the best thing that can happen to you
Ben started a few businesses before finally arriving at Gymshark, in his case all his past experiences and failures taught him a few lessons:
- Business is not what you see on TV.
- Are you passionate about this or doing it for money?
- What to do next time to avoid the same mistakes. The childhood experience of starting a company and have it not succeed makes you dig deep into finding your true why and for him it was fitness, you can only be truly successful when you find a why that is bigger than yourself and to find your why is to test yourself and the best test is a failure because most do not raise again.
You are never too young (or Old)
He started the business when he was 19, and a few when he was younger. Youth if anything is a license to be daring, daring to dream a crazy reality, and the audacity to try to make the dream real. Age whether young or old as the greatest advantage one has, it just takes the right perspective to recognize it. Sam Walton started Walmart at age 44. Age gives a unique insight into the world that is always valuable in one way or another.
The saying is that “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” — this advice for any business is suicide. Failing to see that something is just working but has no future is how a lot of companies fail. Ben’s initial plan with Gymshark was to sell fitness supplements but when he saw that he could not afford the product or negotiate favorable terms with the distributors he changed the business entirely 8 years later it is valued at a billion dollars.
Know your strengths
In 2015, Francis stepped down as CEO of the company to become Gymshark’s, Chief Brand Officer. At the time, he said the move would allow the company “to grow even more quickly” and give him time to “work on his weaknesses and become a more rounded businessperson”. Never let your ego convince you of your superior ability but rather as Steve Jobs said “ A great Leader finds people that are very strong in the areas that the leader is weak”.
Gary Vee — “attention is everything”
Ben, is part of the generation that grew up watching Casey Neistat and Gary Vee and understands that the leader of a company as much as anyone within the organization must create content to get people's attention. He has let us into his life as no other founders do and this allows us to have a deeper connection with him and his brand, It Is also a responsibility of a successful person to teach that which got them to where they are to those who wish to achieve similar levels of success. He lets us go behind the scenes to such a degree that anyone who wishes to be an entrepreneur in the fitness or retail space should consume his content as if it were coursework for their degree.
Any can learn the necessary things it needs to be successful and there is not cookie-cutter framework entrepreneurship is like life full of exploration, hardships, and fun.