fm Enterpreneur.com 20 Apr 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Being an entrepreneur is a Lifestyle that requires staying power, because starting a new business is a long-term process with many tough challenges. As an Angel Investor, I look diligently for signs that an aspiring startup Founder has what it takes to thrive & prosper for the long haul ahead. Passion & Vision are necessary, but not sufficient, to really change the world. Many of the best-known entrepreneurs who achieved long-term successes, including Howard Schultz (Starbucks) and Steve Jobs (Apple), shared a common set of attributes and habits, including the following:
1. Focus only on highly-different Solutions. The most common startup proposals I see are for yet another social media niche solution, or for solutions which are “all-in-one” integrations of multiple existing platforms. Entrepreneurs who think long-term look for innovative “new” solutions in large & growing markets, despite the increased risk.
2. Work hard on finding complementary Channels & Partners. Never assume that a great solution will sell itself, or won’t need the help of the dominant distribution channels & partners with existing customer bases. Entrepreneurs with a habit of thinking long-term, focus on their core competency to build a recognizable brand. They don’t try to do it all.
3. Active at upgrading, expanding or replacing current offerings. When the revenue starts to flow, it is easy to ride the wave and only react when competitors start to cut deeply. Steve Jobs was quick to obsolete his own best-selling products every few months, to keep the momentum and the Apple brand image growing. That’s a challenging – but winning – long-term strategy.
4. Work harder & longer than most (& enjoy it). Not only do they put in more hours by habit, entrepreneurs get far more done than others. Yet they are known for their extreme focus on selected critical elements, & their extreme depth of knowledge on key subjects. They consistently embrace a workload that would seem crazy to others. The entrepreneur lifestyle is all about vision, working hard, getting things done, & learning from every step, forward, backward or sideways. When investors see a Founder with the habits described above, they hardly care what solution s/he is pitching – the odds are good of a long-term success. Have you checked your work habits lately, to see how well they project your staying power?
5. Making $$$ is critical, but a higher purpose is #1. Steve Jobs often attributed his long-term success to a desire to change the world, but suffered setbacks when he took his eyes off revenue flow for too long. Even the best cause does not sustain a business alone, and a higher cause is needed to drive long-term success
6. Surround yourself with smart, strong & positive people. Great entrepreneurs have a habit of selecting associates who are smarter than they are, and provide complementary skills. These are not “yes” people, but they always offer a positive perspective, rather than reasons why something can’t be done. The result is that 1+1 = 3 or more.
7. Spend as much time on Relationships as the business. There really is something to the saying that a successful business depends on who you know, as much as what you know. That ability & determination to nurture win-win relationships with peers, potential partners, & even competitors, separates long-term entrepreneurs from short-term flashes that soon fade.
8. Talk about Lessons Learned, not excuses. Successful entrepreneurs are always ready, willing, & able to learn from challenges, rather than trying to find something or someone to blame. Howard Schultz (founder of Starbucks), readily admitted that early success created pride, self-confidence & a feeling of entitlement in his team, which took a major initiative to correct later.
9. True Entrepreneurs never give up, despite some major Setbacks. In investor circles, it is often said that the #1 cause of startup failures is that the founder gave up too early. Great entrepreneurs will tell you that they may have change course many times, were down to their last dollar, but have never given up their dream. I look for that same determination in every new Founder – that I want to invest in.
Comments: Can you think of any other Routines that would help starting a business?