What are the keys to success as an entrepreneur? If you asked a million entrepreneurs, you’d probably get a million different answers. And that’s probably the way it should be. While maxims like hard work and discipline would make most people’s lists, our unique experiences gives each of us a slightly different perspective on what it takes to be successful. As a result, every successful business owner probably has a different list of keys to success in entrepreneurship.
The beauty of having a wide range of perspectives is that there is something to learn from EVERYONE. Regardless of the size of their business or the industry, there is something to learn from everyone who’s spent time running a business. So with that in mind, I figured I’d share my four keys.. or should I say “C’s”, to success in entrepreneurship.
One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from the movie ATL, when Rashad’s uncle tells him “I just want you to recognize the difference between what you feel and what’s real.” I think this line has stuck with me because it so closely resembles one of my older brother’s favorite pieces of advice: Don’t Believe the Hype.
We live in a world full of distractions. Everyday there’s a new trend. A new way to get rich quick and become one of the “self-made” entrepreneurs society places on a pedestal. And witnessing other’s lives through the lens of social media, it is easy to think that if you don’t act quick you’ll miss your chance. Yet, the hype is not always what it’s cracked up to be. And most of the time it serves as a distraction from what’s most important.
As McChesney, Huling and Covey point out in the 4 Disciplines of Execution, one of the biggest reasons people don’t achieve their goals is because they get caught up in the” whirlwind.” They are focused on too many things to make meaningful progress towards the goals that are most important to them. Success requires focus. And focus requires clarity.
Entrepreneurs who have a clear vision can keep their goals properly prioritized and are better equipped to distinguish between what’s meant for them and what isn’t. They have a plan. They don’t waste time chasing trends that amount to lottery tickets for their business. Instead, they focus on completing the objectives that they know will lead to sustainable growth. Such focus can only be achieved with clarity.
If it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of your craft, it should be easy to understand why commitment is one of my keys to success in entrepreneurship. It’s great to set goals and even better to create a plan for achieving them. But reaching those goals will require daily commitment over the course of years.
The tough thing about commitment is that it is very easy to trick ourselves and others into believing that we are committed, even when we’re not. When we first set an intention, it is easy to tell ourselves at the outset that we are all in. (How many of us are still on track with our new year resolutions?) Blinded by our natural bias toward optimism, we imagine ourselves quickly clearing the hurdles that lie ahead, standing victoriously at the finish line. But our vision of the road to success is often out of touch with reality.
There is no straight path to success. The road is messy, and the journey is tedious. We’ll encounter difficulties we didn’t anticipate, some of which may even make us consider giving up. It is in those moments that the truly committed shine because rather then look for a way out, they find a way through.
It is easy to talk about being committed, and tell ourselves and others that we are all in. But like so many other things, commitment can only be measured by action. Commitment is a choice. And in order to overcome the obstacles that stand between us and success, we must recommit on a daily basis and continue to press on until we’ve reached the end.
As I mentioned in the intro, every journey is unique. While our path to success may be similar to others, no two paths are exactly alike. This means that each of us will have to solve problems that are specific to our circumstances. We won’t find the exact answer to these problems in a book. And we can’t rely on someone else to solve them for us. In these situations, we’ll need to call on our creativity to discover a one of a kind solution.
I know there is someone reading this right now thinking ‘this doesn’t apply to me because I’m not creative.’ But if you think you don’t have the creative gene, think again. Creativity has been hardwired into us through evolution. From the discovery of the wheel, to our propensity to communicate through storytelling, we all have the ability to be creative. The question is, will you choose to develop this crucial skill?
Creativity is like a muscle. You have to exercise it from time to time and let the creative juices percolate. Otherwise it’ll be difficult to get creative when the moment calls for it. Step outside of your comfort zone and try creating some are, or taking an improv class. And don’t be afraid to “waste” a little time daydreaming and envisioning future possibilities. Our greatest revelations often come when we spend time aimlessly pondering our thoughts.
When we think of obstacles we often think of things that are external. Something that stands in our way that we must find a way around. But for most of us, our greatest obstacle is our emotions. In particular fear.
I had a job selling CUTCO knives one summer, and once a week or so there would be a sales meeting where one of the sales leaders would talk to the group. I remember during one meeting John Wasserman said that 90% of people will never achieve their dreams because they’re too afraid to take a chance and go for it. This point stuck with me, and I think it’s particularly relevant for aspiring entrepreneurs. Until you work up the courage to take the leap, you’ll never achieve the levels of success you’re dreaming of. Instead you’ll be left to wonder what if.
Fortune favors the bold. To reach heights you’ve never reached before, you’ll need the courage to take risks you’ve never taken before. You’ll need to tune out the doubters around you, and turn-off the doubter in your head. Then, push forward with faith and an understanding that you can’t lose when you bet on yourself.
One Bonus Key to Success in Entrepreneurship
I’ve shared my 4 C’s to success in entrepreneurship with you, but there’s one more key I would have liked to added to the list if it started with a C. My bonus key to success is building the right team around you. If you’re going to manifest your dreams as an entrepreneur, you’ll need a team of trustworthy and knowledgeable individuals to guide you past new challenges and obstacles. That’s why I created MZA Legal. To create a solid legal foundation for your business so you can do your thing to the fullest.
Give us a call today to learn more about how MZA Legal can help power your entrepreneurial dreams.