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"Listen to your grandmother" and other tips from a successful entrepreneur

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At Salesforce, we recently met Bettina Hein, founder and CEO of Pixability, a platform for buying and marketing video ads. A serial entrepreneur, Hein, based in Boston, has built successful technology companies in the United States and Europe. Hein will share his entrepreneurial expertise at Dreamforce in two sessions on Wednesday, November 8, 2017: Client Growth Strategies for SME Success in 2018 and Key to Building and Sustaining Communities for Long-Term Growth.

The spirit of business works in your family. Can you talk to me a little bit?

Nobody in my family has ever really held a job for 9 to 5 years. My parents are both professionals who run their own businesses, and my four grandparents were both full-fledged entrepreneurs. They were not time magnates, but small business owners. I grew up having never had the idea of ​​having a job where you were employed.

But you have tried to take the most conventional route at the same time, is not it?

Even though I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, I started in a conventional way, going from high school to university in Switzerland. I studied finance and accounting, thinking that I would go to the investment bank or the board. To have a real world experience, I did a summer internship in a large consulting firm, but it was horrible! That made me want to do something I liked instead of just doing what my classmates did.

How did you start entrepreneurship?

Before creating my first business, I founded a program in my university called Start Global. We wanted to create a forum for university students to learn how to start businesses. Of course, there are many things you do not learn at the college level, such as writing a business plan or how to get financing. No one teaches you to understand product design or market fit. Start Global has addressed this issue and I am proud to say that the organization thrives again 20 years later.

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When I was ready to start my first business, I received a lot of encouragement and support from people around me – my classmates, my boyfriend (now my husband!) and my family. My grandmother gave me excellent advice, and my grandfather was my first investor. He had given me some money that I had to keep for a rainy day. I asked him if I could use the money to co-found a text-synthesis software company – he said yes, and that was all.

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What advice did you receive from your grandmother?

My grandmother owned a grocery store that was attached to her house and contained fresh vegetables, meat, canned goods, things like that. It had been his childhood dream of having a small shop. His advice was this: the first 3-4 years are really, really hard, but after that it gets easier. You have to stay with.

I was just out of college. While I was very respectful to her, I thought, "I am starting to build an investor-funded software company. This has nothing in common with a corner grocery store. Things are moving much faster these days. "Well, it turns out it's not that different – it was when the tech bubble burst, and things got really difficult for my company." For years, I was looking at the convenience stores while I was going to work and I was saying, "All these people know how to overcome storms and make money, why can not I do it?" My grandmother n & # I did not live long enough to see my $ 125 million release, but she lived long enough for me to tell her that she was right.

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What is the most important quality for a contractor?

I work with a lot of entrepreneurs in Boston and there are three qualities that all entrepreneurs must possess.

First, naivety. If most entrepreneurs knew what they were engaging in, they would never start. Successful entrepreneurs often have different views of a market or product and it is better not to know what has failed before.

Second, chutzpah (Yiddish for daring). You must have the courage and confidence to express yourself and tell your family, your friends, your investors, your potential customers and your employees: "Trust me, follow me, I can do it, c & # 39; is the right way. " sweet to stand up and share your vision, you will not do it.

The third quality is perseverance. That goes with what I learned from my grandmother. Starting a business will become difficult. Really hard. But you can not give up. Naivety will cause you trouble. You do not know how hard it will be – but you have chutzpah, so you're put there. Now you have to see it through. If you are stubborn and passionate like me, you do not want to give up when things get tough.

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How can a person acquire the skills they need to become a successful entrepreneur?

Anyone can do it. It is invoking the will to do these things. Some people are inherently risk averse and do not want to go out of their way. But if these people are passionate and convinced of something, they can overcome it. If you truly believe that you can create something special and unique, and feel that you have been put on the ground to do it, you can muster courage.

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