For more than a decade I have fervently worked with startup entrepreneurs, some consulting on their ailing business and others seeking growth strategies. I have also studies and written widely on the subject of entrepreneurship.
I have had the privilege of peeping into the minds and lives of hundreds of successful as well as struggling entrepreneurs and enterprises and I think I know one or two things which foretells a successful entrepreneur from the onset.
Many people definitely would think the first and foremost ingredient of startup success is capital. This is not true.
Capital definitely plays an important role. But that does not explain why some entrepreneurs with little capital, struggling with debts and basics make it in business and others with fat bank account and access to credit lines never really make it.
The single greatest determiner is their mind. It is how they think, which by extension determines how they act and their ultimate results. This is manifested in a number of ways.
First, they think big but start small and grow steadily. They know the lofty prize is up there but they know they must start down and climb up through hard work. They are not afraid of doing dirty work of laying the foundation of their success.
Second, they take responsibility. There are so many things that hinder their success or mess them up including employees, unscrupulous suppliers and competitors who do not always play game by the rules but they don’t dwell on excuses and blame game. They are always looking at how they can excel in spite of market challenges.
Third, they listen to their customers and other stakeholders. They know too well that marketing is not about pushing the products they are passionate about to the market and persuading customers to buy. It is about listening to customers’ needs and demands and involving in all processes so that they produce what customers want and in the manner they desire. Success in business is not about what you are passionate about; it is what customers are passionate about.
Fourth, they seek help from others who know better than they do. No one knows everything and no one can succeed alone. So, they hire the best employees to help them achieve their dream and when necessary seek advice and technical services from professional consultants.
Five, they are resilient. There are a lot of frustrations and temporary failures in business but they don’t give up. The bounce back when hit hard by storms that plague business arena. They keep going on with renewed vigour regardless of what happens. They do not let setbacks define their worth.
Finally, they remain humble. They don’t forget those who stood with them in challenging times. They may be family members, employees, customers, suppliers or creditors. They always prize them. They know that success is elusive and fragile. With this attitude, even if they stumble and fall, there will be always eager crowd to hold their hands and help them stand up again.