A regular on various Rich lists, it’s hard to imagine that Patrick Grove, co-founder and CEO of the Catcha Group, iProperty Group, Rev Asia, iCar Asia, and most recently, iflix, has experienced failure.
However, the truth of the matter is that he had to face his own share of failures at an early point of his career. But today, his story has now become a motivational spur for all of us to do well in life.
And that’s because Grove never gave up.
His first venture, Catcha.com, was incepted in 1999 and set its aims at being the Southeast Asian version of Yahoo.com. It showed much promise – until the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 foiled his plans to publicly list the company.
On top of that, his board resigned.
US$1.5 million in debt in an economic climate far from conducive for a speedy recovery, Grove still somehow managed to pull through from bankruptcy as a rare dot-com survivor.
“The initial business [Catcha] lost about S$20 million over eight years. We had to cut costs, grow revenues and used creativity to keep the business alive. When I look at my entrepreneurial journey, we lost money for eight years. You can’t pay yourself a bonus or salary. It was embarrassing to tell people what you do. But we kept going, “ he revealed in an interview with TODAY.
2000 to 2007 was solely dedicated to rebuilding what the burst had undone, and his stubborn persistence paid off.
Grove is now an owner of 4 listed companies and iflix, a Kuala Lumpur-based video-on-demand company, launched in May 2015.
1. Money Isn’t Everything, What You Bring To The Table Is
While in Melbourne, Grove mentioned to The Australian how much he disliked it when nearly every article mentioned his net worth.
“It is creepy in one aspect because someone is sitting there measuring me. I hate it when every article mentions wealth.”
Grove felt it was more important to emphasise on his business rather than on him as an individual.
“It is not about me, it is about what we are building and the companies. I am one of many participants in our businesses. I am not out there trying to put $100m in my bank account; I am out there trying to build a great business,’’ Grove said.
Perhaps this is something today’s generation needs to know – that money isn’t everything. The quality of our work is what makes us successful in the future. Monetary value wears off, but the quality of our work never will.
So even if you feel your work is worth more than what was offered, never lose hope as your time might just be around the corner.
2. Being Able To Pivot Is Crucial
There are a number of skills one requires in order to succeed in life. However, being able to pivot is one of the most important skills. Failure is inevitable at some point in our life, which is why we should embrace it rather than reject it.
In Grove’s interview to The Sydney Morning Gerald, he said “there’s a list of things we tried, failed, and f—ed up – but we learned so much”. He further cited the ability to ‘pivot’ the business as the most important ability for a startup CEO.
“When you’re involved in a startup, it is not about managing executives, it is about having the ability to experiment, test, and to take a chance,” Grove said.
3. Be Prudent, Never Believe You’re Untouchable
Here, Grove teaches us yet another very important lesson – to never think that failure will not touch you when you’re successful.
Failure can hit you at anytime, which is why he tells us to stay prudent at all times.
“If you are someone who has success non-stop, it is something I believe that creates someone who believes they are untouchable. As a result you will then become that crazy gambler that keeps betting the house”, mentioned Grove to The Australian.
Grove had seen and experienced failure during the initial stages of his success. Therefore, he always believed in the possibility of failure after success.
“People who don’t see failure early on in their careers develop a belief that they are untouchable. Because we were humbled early on, we don’t forget that. Because that lesson is always within us, we don’t bet the house. That is why we have three companies separately listed rather than one big company.”
4. But Also Don’t Be Afraid To Dream Big
Something we’ve been told from the start is to dream big. The bigger your goals are, the harder you’ll work towards them.
“Being an entrepreneur is a very serious business. But it is okay to have unrealistic expectations. All the great entrepreneurs believed it was possible to do things no one else thought possible,” Grove said in his interview to TODAY.
Grove further reiterated that it is always okay to dream big, and entrepreneurs must indeed do so.
“My advice for entrepreneurs is to JUST DO IT. Always have a mindset that whatever it takes to get there, get it done. No excuses… You just have to put the fears aside and just do it,” Grove said.
“Everyone has an idea, but very few of them do something about it. Just take action and do not worry about what other people think. If you are really passionate about doing something, just do it. Stop thinking and just do it.”
What this means is that it’s necessary to stay confident while executing your plan. However, neither should being confident make one less of a humble person. Both qualities should coexist alongside one another.
When we know we can handle a task, we will get it done no matter what. And only we can set limits for ourselves, and no one else.
5. Never Start Something You Are Not Passionate About
“If you’re going to do something that will take up a considerable portion of your time, it had better be something you are passionate about,” mentioned Grove in ‘3 Lessons’ with Patrick Grove.
“Passion not only drives you to do something, it drives you to do it better.”
Your passion is what motivates you to never give up until you reach your goals and also to keep working equally hard afterwards.
However, Grove also mentioned that sometimes passion is not enough for one to reach their goals. A well-executed and unique plan is equally important.
“Your passion needs to be directed towards an end, with a well thought out plan of next steps,” Grove said.
All steps need to be evaluated before they are executed. Your passion is your pushing point and a well-executed plan will be your breakthrough!
6. Always Be Hungry For Success. Never Give Up
Entrepreneurs have repeatedly reminded us to never give up. Success has never come easily and for this, Grove has one lesson on never giving up – to always, always be hungry for success.
Grove mentioned in his interview with e27 that entrepreneurs need to be hungry otherwise they will be unable to “persevere through hardship, and ups and downs”.
He further added that he had been told at numerous occasions to give up while he had been struggling at Catcha.
“People said, ‘Give up, you lost money.’ Year two, people said, ‘Give up.’ Year three, people said, ‘Seriously, you got to give up!’ It was seven years before we finally made money.”
But similarly, “if you persevere, you’ll eventually figure out the formula of success.”
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks, But Choose Your Risks Carefully
There is a saying that one isn’t a successful entrepreneur until he takes risks.
However, Grove believes that a smart entrepreneur chooses his risks wisely. He reminds us that it is important to evaluate the risks you are planning on taking, before taking them.
“If someone says, ‘I saw this in America. It’s very successful. I want to bring this concept into Southeast Asia’, we will take it up,” Grove said to e27.
“We like to bet on ideas where the concept is already proven. Our only risk is execution risk, we don’t like to bet on idea risk.”
A very important lesson that young entrepreneurs need to know – to pick their risks wisely before diving off the deep end.
More Than Just Another Rich Businessman
Patrick Grove is an entrepreneur who isn’t only successful, but who has pulled through difficulties that would have crippled any.
It wouldn’t be a surprise that many want to explore and achieve things while being on their own feet. But at the same time, discouragement might wear them down resulting in some of them giving up on their aspirations.
As such, these seven lessons serve to guide future entrepreneurs on how to be prepared for difficulties and ultimately overcome them.
Featured Image Credit: Capacity Conferences