from Innovation Excellence.com 18 Nov 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Do you have the Drive to Thrive? In my opinion, the essence of innovation materializes through entrepreneurship. Literally meaning – an entrepreneur is one who takes the road less traveled (or not even explored before) and puts themselves in a position to creatively define their own destiny. To become an entrepreneur, you don’t need anything more than an idea and the drive to develop that idea into something market-able. In a world where actions speak louder than words, I would like to provide a few key thoughts about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
A. Know your Limitations and Eventually You’ll Have Zero But learn what you need to know or get help. As a wise man once said, “the first step to solving a problem is realizing there is one.” This may seem counter-intuitive, but realizing the limits you face is the first step to overcoming them. There are some key questions you should ask yourself – which will help you define not only their limitations – but more importantly shape their goals.
1. Why do you want this Goal for yourself? It is extremely important to reflect on why you want to achieve it. Without purpose, nothing else matters.
2. How fast can you achieve your Goal? It’s worth investigating how many people may have tried before you, and the reasons they failed. If you don’t understand what people did before you, you’re doomed to repeat history. On the flipside, if no one has done what you are attempting to do (big kudos to you), then you set the rate at which this goal can be achieved. You can learn daily about the details of what it takes to achieve success – all while teaching the world something new.
3. What is the cost of achieving your Goal? Nothing in life is free. Anything we choose to do in life has a cost associated with it, whether it is time, money, resources, or all of these. Accomplishing any goal requires compromises & sacrifices. You are more likely to achieve your goal by being realistic about the costs associated from the beginning.
Asking these questions and Reflecting upon the Answers will get you started on a path to achieving a goal or a dream. In fact, it may even provide a spark of ambition that takes you to somewhere you didn’t initially intend, but is – in fact – something you’ve wanted to achieve all along. Above all, the most important limitations that we all need to understand are those that we place on ourselves. If you don’t overcome your own personal limitations, you’ll forever limit your possibilities?
B. Embrace Failure, but Don’t be Deterred by it. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs throughout history certainly weren’t trying to fail, but they did—repeatedly. But did this ever deter them from achieving something great? Not a chance, because they didn’t see ‘failing’ as being a ‘failure.’ You are only a failure if you give up. If you know the challenges in front of you, you just keep trying to overcome them – until one day you finally do. Here are some inspiring examples of entrepreneurs who failed, but who achieved their goals despite numerous failures throughout the process:
1. Walt Disney was turned down over 300 times, when seeking financing to start Disney Land.
2. Henry Ford wasn’t an instant success. In fact, 5 of his early business ventures failed and left him broke multiple times before he founded Ford Motor Company.
3. Steve Jobs was a college dropout, initially an unsuccessful businessman, and even got fired at the age of 30 from the very company he founded—Apple, but came back & made it even greater.
4. Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, thought restaurant owners would love to serve his fried chicken to their patrons. Apparently, he was turned away more than 1,000 times before the first restaurant owner said ‘yes.’
5. Thomas Edison failed > 1000 times before getting his Light Bulb to work.
Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, you should welcome it. Each time you fail, you learn from the experience and you won’t make the same mistake again. Failure can be one of the most important teaching tools, because it shows us how bad we want something and the ways not to do something. The only real failure is not try to try again.
C. Be a Sponge [Bob, LoL] & Keep an Open Mind. Know enough to know, you don’t know enough. This sounds counter-intuitive, but the most successful entrepreneurs never forget how much they can learn from others. Be willing to ask for advice and keep an open mind about the advice you receive. By filtering advice through your own pre-conceived notions, you might not otherwise gain the full value of the knowledge bestowed upon you. You may disagree with the advice or even dislike it, but chances are you can use that knowledge to your advantage. As good business practice, here are some tips to help you gain helpful advice to becoming a successful entrepreneur:
1. Get a Mentor — someone that has the knowledge & experience that you admire + respect for advice. This doesn’t have to be someone that has done it all before, but someone who will be honest & direct. This is someone you should trust and that you’ve known for a while (so they know your background and what you are all about).
2. Never stop Learning. Always be curious about what else is out there. Take classes at a local school in your area or online if you’re looking for a more flexible timeline. Read articles, blogs & memoirs from successful business people and try to apply their learning experiences to your own situation.
3. Test your Knowledge. Use others as a sounding board. Attend local networking events, go to workshops, and join organizations or associations that focus on business or your particular area of interest. Once you start inter-acting with other people, bounce ideas off of them and pick their brains about different tactics and industry knowledge.
Being flexible and trying to soak up knowledge about management tactics, best practices, technology & services will truly help you in the long run. Ultimately, the goal is to never stop learning, because being rigid & stubborn will get you nowhere.
A Final Note Not one person can do everything, but everyone can do something. Being a successful entrepreneur is also about the company you keep. The more you put yourself out there and the more you network, the more customers you will have and get the results you want to achieve. The most effective entrepreneurs will trust in the three success factors listed above and will build a strong network of support around them. But the one thing that cannot be taught or learned is the one major difference between triumph & disappointment: “You have to believe in yourself – because, if you don’t – how do you expect anyone else to?
Comments? Are there any Success Factors you’d like to add?