Being a Successful Entrepreneur is not only about Ideas
Ideas are a dime a dozen, but success only comes through action.
If building a successful business was just about having the best ideas, we’d all be living large right now. Having the idea is just the beginning of the journey. But there’s a lot more to successful entrepreneurship.
So, you’ve got a fabulous new idea. It involves building or providing something people need, something they’ll want, and most importantly — at least for the people investing in your idea — something that’s scalable. That’s commendable but countless ideas have died prematurely in the minds of those who conceived them.
Ideating may be fun but churning and kneading that idea till it becomes a living, breathing, viable organization isn’t. And it’s at this junction that successful entrepreneurs are born.
How can idea-oriented folks become successful entrepreneurs who can raise money, pitch to investors, hire and fire employees (and all those other stuff that makes for running a successful business) especially when it forces them outside their personal and professional comfort zones?
Recognize and own your weaknesses
The first step is to actually recognize — and own up to — the challenges. None of us likes to admit our weaknesses and flaws, but in order to improve, we have to. Successful entrepreneurs recognize the importance of the necessary but difficult tasks required of them. They also identify the ones they are ill-equipped to tackle.
Embrace your conviction
Believing in what you are doing and being persuaded that it must exist in the world, is going to give you the motivation and courage to actually take the necessary leaps. You’re going to be working outside your comfort zone, a lot. That’s why conviction is necessary.
Conviction is the feeling, deep down, that what you’re doing, and even struggling with, when acting outside your comfort zone is worth it. That the pain is worth the gain. And given the inherent challenge and many tasks present to budding entrepreneurs, having this conviction is a critical part of the puzzle.
Find your own way
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for becoming an entrepreneur. There also is no one-size-fits-all strategy for learning to act outside your comfort zone. For example, if you’re introverted and pitching is a challenge, there are a bunch of ways you could approach this. You could script out the first few sentences of your message, bring a colleague with you who makes you feel more confident or who can help with your pitch, or remind yourself of your mission before stepping into the room, (having purpose top-of-mind makes it easier to pitch).
No one knows you like you, so you can always figure out your own way of handling those necessary but difficult moments.
Build strong relationships with strong people
Great relationships are key to every entrepreneur. If you’re planning to build something truly great, you can’t do it alone. The quality of people you work and partner with as well as the kind of relationship you nurture with them will determine how successful your business will be. Great entrepreneurs see people as their greatest asset and treat them accordingly. They listen as well as talk.
Stay mindful of their attitude
Your attitude as a founder will set the tone for your business. Negativity, laziness and entitlement waste time and money while they tarnish your reputation. Success largely depends on making mistakes and accepting blame in stride. Owning up to and facing challenges head-on is what makes a mere business owner a true leader. Starting a business can wreak havoc on the owner’s personal life. So exercise, sleep, and diet. These will ensure you can successfully manage your attitude as well as motivation and relationships.
Constantly take action
Above all, entrepreneurs are builders and doers. They challenge conventional wisdom and provide solutions. They can’t afford to analyze every detail or they’d never get anywhere. There is no place for procrastination in a startup. It’s a 24/7, no-vacation-or-sick-days kind of job that demands constant forward momentum. Learning and research are good but the best entrepreneurs find a way to do it on the job. Always be poised to act and trust your instincts.
In the end, most people equate entrepreneurship with ideas. But really, a huge aspect of entrepreneurship happens internally — stepping up, having courage, and doing things that you never thought you’d be able to do.