Winning Startup Tips From a Champion
Jason Khalipa, winner of the 2008 World CrossFit Games, is among the fittest human beings on the planet. Just 28, he already has as much street cred as an entrepreneur as an athlete. Khalipa's business, NorCal CrossFit, is one of the most successful CrossFit branches in the country with six facilities in Northern California and 12 corporate locations throughout Asia..
“Push the limits of what is possible, whether in sports or business,” Khalia said. He shared five startup tips to help you build your business.
1. Relentlessly drive to be the best. When Khalipa opened his first NorCal CrossFit a few years ago, his relentless pursuit of excellence led him to see it as just the beginning. He expanded to many more locations, offering gear, apparel and seminars. He has gone from the owner of a gym to owner of an entire fitness company.
“Many people think they’re doing great, but they are barely scratching the surface,” Khalipa said.
2. “Embrace paranoia.” Khalipa quoted Mark Zuckerberg's advice that entrepreneurs should “embrace paranoia.” He credits paranoia for his willingness to train multiple times per day while running a growing business. Someone is always breathing down your neck, just waiting to take your spot, he warned.
“I’m paranoid because I care. Embrace it, harness it, and then go with it,” he said. “The reason that guys like me and Rich [Froning, another leading CrossFit athlete] are doing so well is ’cause we’re working harder and training earlier than anyone else.”
3. Avoid the noise. As founder of one of the hottest personal brands in CrossFit, Khalipa is constantly approached by companies proposing deals that would pull him away from his focus. He warns distractions undermine motivated people.
“Whether at the CrossFit Games or in business, you always hear noise that takes you away from your greater purpose,” Khalipa said. “Are people pulling you away from what you really want to achieve? A good entrepreneur needs to know how to say no.’”
4. Be a student for life. Khalipa continues to improve as a CrossFit Games competitor, even after competing for seven years. He believes that every entrepreneur must constantly hone his craft. He reads as much as he can about entrepreneurship from other experts in the field, listing Mark Cuban’s book "How to Win at the Sport of Business'' among his great inspirations.
“No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you,'' Cuban wrote. "All you have to do is learn from them and from those around you.”
5. Let go of control. Giving up control isn't easy for an entrepreneur but Khalipa advises delegating away weakness. “I used to do everything, but I have had to learn to pay people to do a job they can do better,” Khalipa said. “If you are doing everything, you will only give it 60%.”