An entrepreneur has much to learn in order to be successful. Among the educational requirements are: The day-to-day complexities of running a business, creating and/or producing products, delivering services, making money and dealing with the public. The biggest challenge of all, however, is to develop an understanding of yourself.
Entrepreneurs must come to grips with what they want and what motivates them; this will support their willingness to face adversity – that is bound to arise – and come out as winners over the long term. Successful entrepreneurs will have learned to transform their thinking, allowing them to prevail where others fail along the way.
True entrepreneurs struggle with their business ventures just like anyone else and for a variety of reasons, among the most obvious of which are a lack of capital, lack of understanding about marketing, and personnel issues. However, from my own entrepreneurial experience (32 years in real estate and mortgage financing business), and what I know of others, there are three underlying causes of failure when individuals pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
- They tie the success of their business with their own self worth.
- They neglect to set realistic goals and plans for themselves and their business.
- They are not prepared to pay the price for success.
True entrepreneurs with the right mindset will prevail over a period of time because they will have learned to understand certain fundamental maxims of entrepreneurial success.
Playing the part
Successful entrepreneurs, in contrast to those who fail, have learned to separate their standings in life from their self worth or self-identity. They understand that positive performance or failure in their own venture is not a judgment of them as individuals. People who are inclined to measure their self-worth against their venture performance are inherently adverse to risk and seek to remain in a perceived comfort zone.
Being able to differentiate these two identities allows them to see risk differently, and manage it better, which in turn lays the groundwork for success as an entrepreneur. People who have risked failure, experienced it, and learned from it, have not only learned how to separate their business performance from their self-identity, they’ve also learned the lessons of risking and failing.
These risk takers have a clear understanding that early failure in ventures is a natural part of successful start-ups. They are able to embrace those experiences, learn from them early and move on. This is critical to success as an entrepreneur. They must be willing to face and deal with early failures in order to prevent ultimate failure.
Even though much is said and written about goals and objectives being necessary for success as an entrepreneur, few people learn the mechanics of successful goal and objective setting and planning. It’s not the plan but the planning that is important, and the goal setting process allows them to develop the confidence to take risks and fail.
Successful entrepreneurs are not only goal driven and goal oriented; they have learned to put into place the steps required to plan strategically and put forth reachable goals and realistic objectives. Visualizing goals, writing them down and putting together a detailed plan for achievement provides the confidence and motivation to prevail.
More than just business or operational plans, they have goals and objectives for all the important roles in their life. They have learned early that if they aren’t working their own plan they are probably working on those set forth by someone else. They chart their own course, embrace risk-taking leadership positions, make adjustments as required and prevail over a predetermined period of time.
Paying the price
As with any other aspirant to accomplished fields of endeavor, an entrepreneur understands that in order to be successful s/he must be prepared to pay the price at one time or another. There are really no overnight entrepreneurial successes. In fact, it has been said that overnight success generally takes 15-20 years. One of the early prices that entrepreneurs are quite often forced to face is the “re-making” of themselves in a way that can propel them to grow beyond the comfort of their sphere of influence.
Since most people tend to stay within their own psychological comfort zone, they begin to lose the risk taker mentality. They are comfortable with the type of person who is more like them, while the successful entrepreneur moves on to a different circle of associates who understand the journey.
Breaking out, being your own person and venturing into the risk induced unknown is lonely but bold and forces the risk taker to face the new set of circumstances. Consequently, there can be a new-found stress in old relationships.
It’s been said before that pioneers get shot in the front and the back, and only through a process of separating the venture performance from self-worth, being open to risks, prevailing through adversity, sticking to set goals and objectives, and adjusting your plans will you be prepared to pay the ongoing price that must be paid if you are to be a successful entrepreneur.