We’ve all been led to believe that business requires all sorts of important ingredients to be successful. You’re supposed to have an amazing idea in a huge market and with a great team executed by experienced management and killer marketing all these things, right?

But the fact is none of this actually is required, and we know that by just looking at the landscape. Mark Zuckerberg was 20 years old when he started Facebook, and millions more businesses are started by inexperienced people without any of those other so-called required factors for success.

The truth is that nobody knows what’s going to work and what isn’t when they start a business. William Goldman, a screenwriter, is famous for saying, “Nobody knows anything. Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. We’re all just guessing.” The same is true in marketing and business.

Nobody knows anything. Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. We’re all just guessing.

– William Goldman

That’s why the actual thing you need to succeed in business is the ability to try smart ideas fast. The world’s top entrepreneurs actually get really good at this because if you can do this, you will find solutions. Lots of successful businesses are started by people who didn’t know what they were doing and the only path to success was experimentation, constant trial and error. They see what works and do more of that; they see what doesn’t work and stop doing it.

In fact, many businesses started out doing completely different things than what they’re famous for today. MailChimp was a graphic design agency. Shopify sold snowboards. My favorite example is Nintendo, which had a short stay hotel chain in the beginning.

You have to actually get good at this process and persevere through the inevitable failures that we all have as entrepreneurs. This is the game. This is what entrepreneurship is.

Knowing this is what has led my team and I to build ONTRAPORT the way we’ve built it. It’s the reason all-in-one platforms are necessary and why single-point solutions are not the future. Entrepreneurs need one central platform where they can house all their customer information, all their marketing and sales functions, and all their tracking and measurement capabilities this is the only way they can see the full picture so they can continually try smart ideas fast until they find what works.

In my OPLZA 2017 keynote, I go into detail on exactly what I mean by each word in the phrase, “try smart ideas fast,” and explain how to determine the answers to two critical questions: “What smart ideas should I try?” and “How do I get good at trying smart ideas fast?”

Watch the presentation here:



About Landon Ray

ONTRAPORT Founder and CEO Landon Ray is a serial entrepreneur whose personal mission is to educate, motivate, and enable others to realize their goals of starting and growing their own business. At the age of 25, Ray transformed himself from a street-corner flower vendor into one of the nation’s top securities day traders in only twelve months. After beating the odds on Wall Street and again during the great recession, Ray has taken his research and personal experience and created ONTRAPORT, a small business automation platform and related family of services, which reflect his passion for educating and supporting entrepreneurs.