“If you don’t accept ‘no’, don’t give up, and don’t bow to the status quo, a window of opportunity will eventually crack open and you’ll be standing in front of it. If it doesn’t crack open, just keep prying with a crowbar until it gives.” – Anthony Iannarino, Entrepreneur and Sales Leader
Most people know of at least one serial entrepreneur who has set the new cutting edge with their innovations. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have literally touched the ends of civilization with their products and services, but the road to success was not handed to them. Had they not tried, failed, and tried again (and again), we might still be waiting for our techy devices and shopping conveniences, and we certainly wouldn’t know the innovators themselves. To the true entrepreneur, a failed project or business is not necessarily the end. What separates these entrepreneurs from others is persistence, tenacity and the resilience to succeed – this is perseverance. Read on to learn how to determine if self-employment is up your alley, address the issue of lack of perseverance and add some tips and resources to your business toolkit.
Plenty of new startups find themselves in trouble simply because they dive into business before asking themselves if they’re even wired to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone is cut out for irregular income, late nights and uncertainty of the future. Being self-employed means doing the work yourself when others don’t show up and going without at times when the checks are slow to come in. Some folks aren’t really comfortable taking that risk, and shouldn’t if it sounds less like a dream and more like a nightmare. Running off with the next best idea does not mean you’ll be successful and for those who don’t like to gamble, keeping your day job could be the smartest thing you ever do.
It’s much easier to find people who will fill management positions than to find those you actually want in those positions, and it’s no wonder why leadership development is largely ignored amond new founders. No one really enjoys difficult conversations, but if they are necessary to keep management on track, and they are worth it to preserve your reputation and the team that supports your mission. Holding on to the wrong people just to avoid conflict just adds stress and causes a disconnect between you and your team.
With all the evidence that business success without marketing just isn’t realistic, we still see many green entrepreneurs go in blindly without a thought of a marketing strategy. Percentages do fluctuate by industry, but if you’re not budgeting somewhere between 9 and 12% of your annual budget toward marketing, all the other efforts will likely be fruitless. Some businesses can get away with spending a mere 2% on marketing, but for the most part, promoting new products and services usually costs more.
It seems like there is a universal misunderstanding of the budget that likens it to a calorie-restrictive diet, and we treat it as such. Our emotions tell us we’ll be missing something if we go on the diet, so gluttony takes over and the diet gets left in the dust. Just like our physical health, the health of our business suffers because we’re afraid we’re going to miss the next big opportunity if we don’t spend at will, so we ignore using a spending plan and end up struggling and even shutting down. Not knowing where your business stands financially is one of the most dangerous threats to your success. Without even a basic spending plan, you can’t make sound financial decisions and usually end up spending money in all the wrong places without really gaining much traction. Many new startups fail simply because they think spending money equates to making money. Yes, it does cost money to make money, but aimless spending will only sap your resources and slow your ability to scale.
Ignoring leadership development will not only cause headaches, but can also edge out the talent you need to establish and scale your business. No one likes to work for jerks and difficult people in general, and as human beings we all deserve equal respect. When there’s no defined mission or code of conduct you can bet there will be trouble among the troops, making it all but impossible to keep good people and move your business forward. You can have the most defined policies and expectations and still experience middle management derailing the team if they themselves are not properly led. The effect is a revolving door that constantly swings open to new talent while the trained crew continually walks out. Read here for what happened to Steve Jobs when he hired the wrong leadership.
This is a misquote from the original statement in the movie Field of Dreams. As misleading as this statement is on its own, countless entrepreneurs have adopted the mantra since the 90’s, and unfortunately many have closed up shop because starting a business was their only plan. The mindset that just existing is enough to draw the crowds is a sure-fire path to closing your doors. Yes, there is a point in your plan where you strike out and make your physical mark, but that’s just the beginning of a long-term relationship with your company. If starting your business is like starting a race, then it’s clear the goal is not just to start, but to go the distance and gain momentum and stamina along the way. Failing to put money aside for consistent marketing will cause you to struggle, or even close altogether.
When you put things in order and decide to never, ever give up on moving your business from concept to reality, you can carve out your niche in the world and do so in a way that allows you to enjoy being self-employed. Putting the following information into action will help you to focus, plan, work and realize your dream business.
It may sound harsh, but simply put, there is no room for a victim mentality in the life of a successful entrepreneur. Whether it’s your mental health, personal relationships or company morale, you have to take responsibility for your role in those things if you want them to endure and prosper. It is a balancing act, but taking care of your health, people and business makes self-employment far more worthwhile than going it alone and burning both ends of the candle all the time. It’s not a secret that startups established businesses alike are faced with many ups and downs over time. Persevering means learning how to embrace them with a sense of humor and refusing to lose focus. Remember, you want the lifespan of your business to look like a cross-country run, not a 50-yard dash. Operating at optimal health in these areas will fuel you to make sound decisions that continue to propel your business forward. Many entrepreneurs have stress or anxiety over these matters at some point. Learning how to overcome those challenges is perseverance in practice.
Thick skin is essential in your emotional toolkit as an entrepreneur. Hearing the word ‘No’ repeatedly is part of every startup experience, and pushing yourself to keep going when you hear it will eventually lead you to ‘Yes’. The persevering entrepreneur insists on continually searching for solutions and partnerships that align with their mission, and hurt feelings can’t get in the way. If you can remind yourself that business isn’t personal, it’s just business, you can maintain focus knowing whatever hurdle you’re facing is there to either stop you from going down the wrong road, or redirect you to a better one. The path to success is never straight and often demands flexibility. For a true innovator, this reality is only a challenge, not the end. There is a bright future for the founder who just doesn’t give up.
Ever heard of Analysis Paralysis? Basically it happens when you’re faced with a question and the answer becomes paralyzed by overthinking and overanalyzing. So ultimately nothing is accomplished and you’re still facing the question or problem. Once you have determined entrepreneur life is for you and have invested the time to plan and budget, the next thing to do is to get moving. A business plan and realistic budget is critical, but know that both are going to change over time. Startup needs aren’t the same as the needs to scale your business. You’ll face plenty of unknowns on your journey, but sitting back and waiting for all the answers before you act won’t produce anything of value. Sometimes you have to throw ideas against the wall to see what sticks, so plan to learn as you go, plug into others on similar paths and make necessary changes to improve on the way. Overthinking setbacks and problems can cost an untold amount of time and resources that could be spent moving forward. You’ll know you are truly persevering as a successful entrepreneur when you are able to put wheels on your product or service and correct the course as you go. Just think about how many versions of the iPhone there are to give yourself an idea of what we’re saying here.
Some things are better left alone, and entrepreneurship is definitely on that list for those who may just be better suited for other paths. There is no point in trying to build a business if it would be a constant source of stress or struggle. It’s better to be honest with yourself and paint a realistic picture of what it takes to lead a company so you can decide whether all the sacrifice is going to be worth it. You can avoid making a detrimental commitment by just answering a few questions to determine if self-employment is right for you.
Once you’re confident this path is yours, it’s time to get to work! Since at least at first, you’ll be your own chief, cook and bottle washer, these tools have been extremely helpful to entrepreneurs just like you.
A successful entrepreneur is constantly re-educating and re-inventing him or herself, long after the initial launch of a product or company. Maintaining your lead in the field requires continual education and trying new things. There are loads of free online classes, tools and resources to improve your knowledge and edge in your field. You can start by checking out Google results for Free Online Courses. Persuading customers and competitors that you are the best only comes by way of proof of work and experience. Honing your skills and exploring new opportunities to grow should be an ongoing part of your journey as a founder.
Even with the best of planning, serial entrepreneurs can agree that the work is usually harder than first thought. Whoever said blazing trails is easy never started his own business. It takes guts to strike out into the unknown and the best of startup plans can still be fraught with stressors like financial shortages and slow sales. But even when failure is imminent, the world’s best-known innovators just set that iron down and pick up another. With the mindset to keep going, realistic expectations, a reasonable budget and plan in hand, it’s not only possible, but plausible that you will eventually see success from your endeavors. Every trailblazer from Thomas Edison to Arianna Huffington have one thing in common – the unrelenting passion and the fortitude to see through their ideas from their drawing boards into the real world. Persistently pushing your mission toward the goal line, refusing to be derailed by dead ends and failed ideas, discipline and diligence are what move your business from sacrifice to success.
This entry was posted on Monday, March 15th, 2021 at 2:05 pm and is filed under Starting A Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.