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People often treat entrepreneurship like a hidden natural talent that someone is either born with or not. They think that famous entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett are born with this natural talent and ability to make money and generate new ideas, or they think that they were born into the right circumstances and were lucky enough that their ideas were picked up and made them billions.
But the truth is far from that. It’s a very human thing to do–blaming others comes naturally, and making excuses for our own failures can happen all too easily. However, once the anger and denial settle, you’ll find that it’s probably your own fault that you’re not a successful entrepreneur.
Why is it so hard to become successful?
Let’s not beat around the bush here; becoming a successful entrepreneur does require a bit of luck in addition to personal skill. Being born into a wealthy family obviously improves your chances of having a successful business. You’re more likely to have contacts when you’re born into wealth, and you’ll have more savings that you can invest into business ideas to help you grow your wealth.
However, if you’re just starting from scratch (much like John Paul DeJoria, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak) then there are a couple of considerations to think about in regards to your success.
- Successful entrepreneurs don’t know failure. They see their misfortunes as opportunities to learn and gain knowledge instead of being setbacks. Learn to embrace your failures and learn from them. Understand why you failed and what you can do to solve the problem in the future.
- Entrepreneurs that have a sense of purpose are usually always more successful. If you don’t feel like your business has a mission or a sense of belonging, then you’re going to struggle to stay motivated.
- Entrepreneurs that have an open mind are usually more successful. This is because world-class entrepreneurs are more accepting of new ideas. They know that they don’t have all the answers to every problem in the world and that their past experiences have a profound effect on the decisions they make. Other people see the world differently to you, which is why you should always have an open mind and be more accepting of ideas that differ to your own.
- Good entrepreneurs know how to be social. The right amount of talking is required; too little and you’ll find it hard to network and create a list of reliable contacts, and too much and you’ll be seen as annoying to work with and pestering. Utilizing social media is one of the most effective ways to be more social and get in touch with industry figureheads and influencers.
- Entrepreneurs also believe in technology. They believe in hiring software engineers and utilizing IT support companies like ATB Technologies to help them grow their companies. They’re not afraid of adopting new technologies, even if said technology is new and untested. They know that they have to be at the forefront of innovation to stay ahead of the curve, and they accept the risks involved when it comes to trying out new things.
If you feel like you don’t possess some of these qualities, then it’s a good idea to start working on it as a way to solidify your position as an entrepreneur. You’ll be surprised at just how effective these mindset changes can be when it comes to being successful.
However, even if you have the mindset, you’re likely missing another crucial component when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur; knowledge.
Stick to your beliefs as an entrepreneur
Learning is a process that everyone goes through when they want to study something new. For instance, you might decide to dive into a new industry that you’re unfamiliar with. You don’t know the audience very well, you’re not sure who to target and you might not have a clue how to design your products.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to tackle an industry that you have no idea about–that’s why you have consultants and advisors to listen to. You see, an entrepreneur has base principals that they apply to everything. Each entrepreneur is different and the style of leadership that they use can work regardless of the industry. A good example of this is how Amazon treats its employees. Since its massive growth spurt and debut in several new industries over the past few years, Amazon’s employees have gone from cherished workers to disposable assets.
The style of leadership that Jeff Bezos uses is unique to his entrepreneurial goals. Amazon is one of the many companies that doesn’t actually make much money. This is because all of the profits are reinvested back into the company. Bezos is using all of his capital to grow Amazon as a business and take over more industries as it goes. It’s all about dominating the sectors that Amazon is a part of, and there’s little that smaller companies can do to fight against such a behemoth of a company.
This is something that others can learn from Amazon. It’s all about sticking to your ideals and keeping consistent. The knowledge you gain will come in handy as you apply your mantra to everything in your business. For instance, you could have an idea to provide excellent customer support above all else. You might decide to give customers refunds without question, or you could offer them extended warranties that other companies don’t offer. If you follow through with this purpose, then you might discover things along the way that can help you tweak your business so that it’s better for the customers.
For example, you might realize that offering a no-questions-asked refund policy can easily be abused, so you’ll learn from that small failure and apply that to your future ideas. You’ll learn that even if you trust your audience, they will still abuse your services and it could cost you money. Alternatively, you might discover that your audience is surprisingly honest even if you offer them no-hassle refunds, and this could teach you that it’s fine to trust your audience and you should give them the benefit of the doubt more.
In short, always stick to your beliefs and don’t stray from them. The last thing you want to show to your audience or even your employees is that you’re unsure about yourself. You’re in charge of a company and people look to you for advice and direction. If you lose motivation or lose sight of what made you become an entrepreneur in the first place, then it doesn’t inspire loyalty and it will quickly spiral out of control.
Learning as you go as an entrepreneur
Failure is actually one of the best sources of knowledge that you’ll find. If you’re able to fight back the fear of failure then you’ll discover that you can learn a lot from your mistakes. Even mistakes that cost your business a lot of money or bring you to the brink of collapse can teach you a lot about how you run your business and how to improve for the future.
However, learning from failures requires you to actually fail in the first place, but no one aims to fail and everyone wants to ensure that their business can survive instead of purposely throwing it under the bus. The best way to balance this is to follow your beliefs and apply new ideas as you see fit. However, always judge your success based on customer feedback. If your customers are really unhappy about a decision you have made, then scale it back and appeal to their needs. If your audience is demanding innovation and something new from you, then deploy your new ideas and watch their reaction.
You’ll soon discover that analytics and other statistical data is incredibly important to both the growth of your business and also your own knowledge. Analytics can empower your decisions and it will also tell you if a decision you made was good for your business or not. By using this data, you can create a much clearer representation of how your customers see your business, and this can teach you many things about their shopping patterns, their likes and dislikes, and also how to deal with many different situations.
So to conclude, it’s entirely possible to learn as you go and still become a successful entrepreneur. However, learning doesn’t just mean sitting in an office or a school room and learning from someone, and it doesn’t mean studying for years by reading books and blog posts.
Entrepreneurship is a journey and in order to become successful, you need to not fear failure. You need to embrace it and you need to be willing to try new things. By sticking to your company ethos and using sets of data to judge whether your decisions are successful or not, you can greatly improve your abilities and experience to help you develop a more successful career.