Marketing cannot create entrepreneurs; it is the market that creates them by accepting the good and rejecting the bad. While there are huge number of start-ups and companies that take the leap, most of them fall short of achieving the desired success. According to a recent study done by IBM & Oxford Economics, 90 per cent of Indian start-ups fail within the first five years. Building a sustainable company is harder than most people can imagine. Entrepreneurship is defying logic, building dreams and achieving the impossible. The journey is a humbling experience even for the best ones. Setbacks are inevitable, how entrepreneurs handle them decides their fate. The successful ones have the passion to do whatever it takes to cross the line. They put their wholehearted efforts into accomplishing things that move the world forward. While there is no magic formula to guarantee entrepreneurial success, here we explore the secrets of what makes successful entrepreneurs.
- Self awareness
Handling a business without understanding yourself can be tricky. Successful entrepreneurs are good at evaluating themselves, their strengths and weaknesses. They analyse things objectively and understand what is needed from them. They stay balanced during success and failures without losing focus on the long term vision.
- They solve problems and bring value
Not everyone who starts a company is an entrepreneur. In fact, most companies fail because they are solving nonexistent problems and don’t really bring true value. The successful entrepreneurs understand the impulse of the market. They have a deep rooted understanding of customer pain points and goals. They offer a solution to issues that are critical for the customer.
- Inspired purpose
It is very demanding to be an entrepreneur. One has to be prepared to sacrifice family life, golden years of career, and put in tremendous amount of work. And all that without any assurance of success. The most successful entrepreneurs are always driven by a strong reason and purpose. They know why they are doing what they are doing. It is this purpose which keeps them going in moments of anguish.
- Get things done
Ideas without action are hallucination. Leadership gets things done and creates value every day with effective work. They understand what brings out the best in their people and constantly push them to great work. They are obsessed with progress and align their team to deliver excellent work on daily basis.
- Ability to get along with others
Building and running a business requires group of people who can work in synergy. The top entrepreneurs build networks, respect individuals with complementary skills and nurture long term relationships. They understand that it is not individuals but teams that drive and sustain businesses.
- 80-20 principle
One of the most common reasons for failure of companies is lack of focus. Focus requires spending time on the most important task. Successful entrepreneurs eliminate choices to focus on 20 per cent tasks that create 80 per cent impact for their business. A successful entrepreneur understands that his time is the most valuable asset. It should be spent on the core issues that matter the most.
- In-depth understanding of business
They have an in-depth understanding of their business and are always on the lookout for emergent ways to learn more. They read a lot of books, blogs, attend conferences, take online courses and constantly look at ways to refine their knowledge. Being constantly on the move, they are able to prepare themselves to pivot with emerging trends, disruptions and evolving technologies.
- Learning from failures
Building a company requires one to master many different facets of business. It isn’t easy. More often than not the cost of experience is mistakes and failures. Failures and mistakes highlight areas that need improvement. A successful entrepreneur is the one who minimises risk, learns from failures and moves on to bigger things. The ability to bounce back from failures quickly without losing time is important for entrepreneurial journey.
- Empower other people
Great leaders push, empower other people with opportunities and guide them to bring out the best in them. They back people when things go wrong, provide an environment to experiment and eventually help them to build incredible stuff. They also provide a platform where people can connect, build things and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
- The art of reinventing
Great entrepreneurs understand the need for innovation and frequently reinvent themselves to handle business challenges. They constantly push themselves out of their comfort zone. They question themselves incessantly and never take things for granted. Clinging to the past and present without having an eye on the future can be detrimental. The top entrepreneurs define the future and the road map to get there.
- Benchmarking against the best
They continue to raise their game by constant learning and benchmarking themselves against the best in the world. They set very high standards and demand everyone in their team to raise their game. Great entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do and take immense pride in their craft. They constantly improve themselves in order to reach the next stage and push the boundaries of excellence.
- Outcome not just activity
Success is determined by results not efforts. It is easy to mistake activity for outcomes, but effective entrepreneurs are result oriented. They take responsibility and lead from the front. They work hard, execute things flawlessly and produce the results that make the difference. They map their actions to the outcomes needed for the success of their business.
- They tell stories and connect with people
Successful entrepreneurs are fascinating storytellers that connect with people. They have a message that resonates with the masses and makes them stand out. Stories are a great way to communicate, build rapport and establish emotional bonding with people. All great brands are built on stories, powerful messages that set them apart and influence the world.
- Build trust
We live in an age where marketing has become the buzzword. Trust is a rare commodity and one that makes a huge difference to the fate of an entrepreneur. A trustworthy entrepreneur is someone who is able to sell his ideas to the team, partners, investors and customers. Great entrepreneurs are able to persuade other people, because they are sincere and genuinely interested in their well-being.
- Create a dent in the universe
Great entrepreneurs build their dreams and create a future of their imagination. They set themselves audacious goals and do everything in their power to reach them. They struggle, they are vulnerable and suffer, but they don’t give up. They endure longer because they are inspired to create a future with opportunities for everyone and impact the world in a positive way.
Contributed by: Milind Limaye
You’re an entrepreneur, and you don’t even know it yet! If you often figure out creative ways to solve a problem or fix a challenge, you’ve got the uncooked skills for being an entrepreneur. And if you too are inspired by the ‘Be Your Own Boss’ fad, chances are you have already taken the first few steps in the direction.
Everybody will tell you to do your homework, spend time in preparing and becoming an expert, refining your idea, and network like crazy. However, as any entrepreneur worth his weight will tell you, the real challenge begins once you set shop: by setting up processes, understanding your market, giving structure to verticals, taking risks, doing things you’d never thought you’d do, and at the end of it all, challenging yourself to do better.
Here, I have listed a few decent tips for young entrepreneurs who are already on their journey to becoming a bigger and better version of themselves, who have dared to bet on their dreams, and who are willing to work for a change and vision that they believe in.
Starting out the venture is the most exhilarating part, but, as the business progresses, even the most successful entrepreneurs face bouts of turmoil. It’s impractical to avoid these situations, but you can use these tips to sail through them.
Always make it a point to impress. Impress your customers, your potential investors, your employees, yourself. Never promise or claim something that you already know you will not be able to deliver. You are as good as your word, and it might be tempting to suffix adjectives like ‘biggest’, ‘largest’, ‘fastest’, or ‘best’ while describing your organisation. But, refrain from using them unless they are objectively true.
A leader is as good as his or her team. Remember, as an entrepreneur and manager, you need to make sure the work is done, and not do all the work yourself. Erroneously, asking for help might be equated with weakness or ignorance, but seeking clarifications, knowledge and information from experts, mentors and from your team will give you invaluable insights. Find a trusted mentor who knows the industry you are working in. Set up a fund-raising team to take care of finances.
Be open to changing the initial idea, concept, approach, partner, model, and works after testing it on ground. Until you hit the nail on the head, there is no harm in experimenting, and unless the stakes are high, experimentation will actually be a great learning ground. Be receptive to changes – suggested by employees, customers etc. It is very easy to get defensive and ‘this-is-my-baby’ mode, when someone suggests a critical feedback, but being honest, brutally so even, with yourself is the only way you can survive it.
Pick your battles
Once you have a set course for your destination, pick the battles and obstacles worth fighting. Do not lose sleep over petty operational challenges, instead focus on stabilising the main drivers of your idea and concept. You cannot afford to go around convincing everyone who doesn’t believe in you, for right now, others don’t see things your way.
Someone very wisely said that startups don’t fail, they commit suicide, for their founders give up too soon. Give yourself and your idea time to manifest itself. Disruptions, no matter how big, do not happen overnight. The golden rule of starting things from scratch is that it will take time, and the struggle will be manifold, but equally essential to the process.
Find a stress-buster
You might not be doing every task yourself, but that doesn’t stop you from constantly worrying about it, does it? It is given that taking care of everything will get too much, and will get to you, maybe more than you anticipate it. You need to be able to find ways to disconnect and get in touch with yourself, to avoid being derailed from the path you set on, and to prevent yourself from getting too absorbed in the pieces to miss the bigger picture.
It is easy to be thrown off-course and into chaos by the challenges that are thrown while running a company, but the only sureshot way of avoiding falling into the trap is maintaining elaborate plans – both micro and macros, and reviewing them periodically. What’s more, get more heads in the review stage to change and evolve them according to how your performance has been, and to identify where you have done good, and where you need to work harder. Remember, you just need to identify how to manage your energies, and time management will effortlessly align with it.
Don’t be afraid to work hard. Pick a time you feel your creative juices are high. Keep a record.
Golden Rule: Make sure you are all in, and love it.
Use the to support your work – not as a distraction. Have a sales pitch ready – and at the back of your hand. Be humble – keep your attitude in check; don’t lose your edge. Keep the critics at bay – but pay attention to what they say.
Don’t be an entrepreneur because you think you can’t work for someone else, or you want to be a millionaire by the time you are 25, or simply because you think running a startup is more fun compared to working as an employee. Or because you want respect simply by standing out.
You can’t rush or force yourself into being an entrepreneur, without a solid idea or before the time is right. Many young entrepreneurs today trick themselves into believing that what they are doing is absolutely ground-breaking, whereas in reality they are too high above the ground to realise that they have merely repackaged someone else’s idea and concept and are trying to piggyback on someone else’s method.