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Gary Vaynerchuk’s five steps for a successful startup


By Arthur Tam

Swire Properties’ co-working space, Blueprint, recently sponsored RISE, the energetic tech conference where young entrepreneurs, startup investors, media and keynote speakers share knowledge, learn about the latest in tech innovation and do business. Creating the most buzz during the three-day conference was the king of tech talks, Gary Vaynerchuk, a.k.a. Gary Vee. The media guru behind VaynerMedia and VaynerX, digital marketing and social-media companies in New York, held no bars and gave a roomful of young entrepreneurs advice on starting, leading and running a business. Read on for his top five tips.

1. "Emotional intelligence is the single most important trade."
Getting along with people is crucial, and for employers, getting along means figuring out what your employees want. Spend one-on-one time with them to find out if they want money, titles, job fulfilment or more leisure time. Once you know, you can build a company culture where employees feel heard and appreciated, so they can work smarter and more efficiently because they want to.

2. "Audit every single employee and figure out which employee makes everyone else miserable."
Cancer spreads, so cut out a tumour as early as possible. We all know that one colleague that causes trouble makes everyone else’s lives miserable. This can become a major distraction in the workplace and slow an entire operation down, opening up opportunities for competitors to move swiftly ahead of you. According to Vee, even if it’s your number one salesperson or developer, he or she must go.

3. “No matter what you do for a living, you need to think of yourself as a media company.”
Bring awareness to what you do and distribute it on as many platforms as possible whether audio, video or written. The key is finding the “attention arbitrage” and finding what platforms are currently underpriced and capitalising on that. According to Vee, companies need to forgo traditional ad placements like television and billboards and focus heavily on social networks like Facebook and Instagram and using social media influencers as a marketing tool before they become too expensive due to increasing demand.

4. "Content is king, but everybody is missing that context is the queen, and she runs the household."
Know your audience and figure out which platforms of communication appeal to them the most. Instead of writing a long-winded press release, it could be a Snapchat video or a captivating Instagram page that proves to be the most effective, attention-grabbing platform. We live in an age where quality of content is subjective, and a hashtag or filter can be more powerful than a lengthy editorial. It's all about context.

5. "When it's good, you have to squeeze as hard and fast as you can."
Since 2008, the global economy has been relatively stable. But before the next economic downturn hits, build up enough capital before investors pull out and the well runs dry. But even more important is anticipating a change before it happens and being the first mover in finding a new platform that is capturing your audience's attention. What got you here today is never the thing that's going to get you to tomorrow.

For the past few years, through the recently revamped co-working space Blueprint, Swire Properties has been supporting and nurturing startups by offering an accelerator programme that provides free office space and mentorship for candidates with a viable business model. Find out more about Blueprint at

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