Let me guess, you want to be an entrepreneur. You have had an amazing idea and have come online to find out how to turn it into reality. The world would be a better place if only everyone would use your product and the minute they all realize this, they will fall over themselves to come and give you all their money.
Just hang on a second. Before you quit your job and remortgage your home. You need a reality check. Ask yourself this simple question:
How many people actually make it as entrepreneurs?
I mean, sure we hear about the successes, the ones which end up splashed all over the papers, but what about the losers?
Did you know that a third of all startups fail within two years and two thirds fail within four years? These statistics from the US Small Business Administration put it so neatly don’t they? Just a few numbers on a spreadsheet. Why don’t they list how much money these guys lose? Or the hours schlepping round trade fairs and angel investors, trying to sell their idea? Or how about those precious hours spent away from home which can even end in two people going their separate ways and families tearing apart?
Being an entrepreneur is a way of life. You can forget about the four hour week and holidays spent on a yacht in the Bahamas. Those are just pipe dreams. That is what happens at the end.
Bringing a product to market is hard work. But most people just see the end results. The flash suits and the celebrity parties and think that practically anyone can have a go at it.
The truth is that most people are just not a good fit and do not have what it takes.
So, what drives an entrepreneur? What belief systems cause one man to get up and try again where another one would lay down and just give up?
As Roy H Williams of the Monday Morning Memo would say: See it, believe it, say it.
I am also personally of the opinion that what drives an entrepreneur to succeed above all else is belief.
Self-belief, belief in the product and belief that the public will accept this new product, this new reality, with open arms and hand over their hard earned dollars with open wallets.
This is what drives people to succeed. This is what makes them squash that inner nagging voice of doubt which tells them that maybe they are no good after all. It is what refuses to let them listen to everyone around them, from their mother to their milkman, who tell them that they are wasting their time.
Because time is something that they will have to spend. An entrepreneur spends, an average of 80 hours a week or more, getting their idea off the ground.
Do you have 80 hours a week to spare? Not so eager to start, or still rearing to go?
The key to successful business is not to try to earn more money or have a bigger car or pay yourself a bigger bonus than the other guy. The real key is to find out what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. What makes you tick? What drives your passion?
And once you have the answer to this question, then you are well on the way to beating those two-thirds of people who fall by the wayside.
Entrepreneurs need to have a burning desire within them to go through the kind of hardships that they have to endure - the years of failure and the heartache when things go wrong. It is how Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr, can sit with a smile on her face talking about the time when they only had enough money left to keep going for 3 months.
Others have spoken about just having one day’s cash flow left but they still kept going, hoping against hope that something would turn up. And you know what? The harder you work the luckier you become.
As Daniel Goleman tells us, it is the strength of character, the steeley determination of personality which drives them more than any other kind of trait. And it is emotional intelligence which forces them to even try in the first place.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. All the pieces of the jigsaw have to come together to make one whole successful picture. And if even one piece is missing then it can mean that a project is doomed to failure.
Just having an idea, no matter how great it is, may not necessarily be enough. Some unbelievably misguided people really do think that they have an earth-shattering discovery and they only have to mention it, they only have to whisper their idea and people will either:
a) steal it.
b) adore it.
c) finance it.
Poor fools. The first check they expect is not the reality check that they get.
If you have managed to read down this far then welcome! This series of articles is written for the kind of entrepreneurs who are destined to succeed. Those who have their feet firmly planted on the ground. The people who can see the mountain in front of them and the spoon in their hands, and they do not hesitate for even one second. They simply start digging. Heck, if that’s what its going to take to get them to the other side, then that is what they are going to do. And nothing is going to stop them or get in their way.
In the next article, we will take a look at some of the most successful business startups and examine why and how they have succeeded. What are the beliefs which drive their founders to do well? Is it money? Is it philanthropy? Why do these businesses rise to the surface when others around them have sunk without a trace? And how do they keep going when times get rough?