Do you have the Right Stuff?
by Alan Goldberg, Fran-Link Franchise Advisory & Consulting Group
Changing one’s life always sounds good…
Unfortunately, changing one’s behavior is not always so easy.
Over the years, we’ve helped scores of people embark on their entrepreneurial journey. In the early days , I worked with… well, just about anyone who was interested in following their dream. Partly, because I wanted to help as many, as possible. Partly, because I wasn’t experienced enough to discern between those well suited for business ownership and those that weren’t! Over time, it became clear, there was a consistent pattern of attitude and behavior among those with the entrepreneurial spirit possessing the wherewithal to launch a business, execute a business plan and ultimately become a success.
Entrepreneurs are a special breed. They are similar to generals in battle. They have courage, drive and commitment to stay the course and win. Like great leaders, you must be passionate about your business, have vision to see the possibilities, and flexibility to know when to pivot. These are the true soldiers. Others talk the talk. But can never make it out of the gate.
- Support of Family
Entrepreneurs exist to defy conventional wisdom. In fact, simply starting a business breaks the rules, as only about 13 percent of Americans are engaged in entrepreneurship. Doing what the majority isn’t doing is the nature of entrepreneurship. Drive, commitment and tenacity separate the winners from the rest of the pack.
Do you have the right stuff? We can help you find out!
1. Tenacity [tuh-nas-i-tee]
Starting a business is the ultra-marathon. You have to be able to live with uncertainty and push through a crucible of obstacles for years on end. Entrepreneurs who can avoid saying uncle have a better chance of finding their market and outlasting their inevitable mistakes. Most people will tell you that tenacity is a great quality to have, especially if you’re trying something challenging that takes a while to complete.
2. Determination [dih-tur-muh-ney-shuh n]
A key to operating a successful business is determination. Known by many names e.g., perseverance, persistence, commitment … and, resilience. It’s really just old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness. It isn’t easy. You will make mistakes. It’s expected. Things rarely go exactly as planned. You must have the determination to overcome obstacles and succeed. You cannot be afraid to make mistakes.
Learn from them. Pivot. And, move on. If you dream of business ownership and don’t have the determination to live your dream, you will end up working for someone else and living theirs.
3. Optimism [op-tuh-miz-uhm]
Although entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding path, it is not usually the easiest one. Business ownership requires optimism to mitigate daily challenges, skeptics, and good intention-ed friends and family who want to offer advice, but do not understand the entrepreneurial experience. You will encounter many struggles on the journey. Optimism will guide you toward a successful path”
…whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right.” Optimism makes the difference between can and cannot. You must believe you can be a business owner, or you will never be one.
4. Courage [kur-ij]
Dealing with fear may be the single greatest challenge in entrepreneurship. Those who don’t have a little fear may be foolhardy. Those who make big decisions out of fear will never achieve their dreams. As you transition from being an employee to being an owner, acknowledge that the rewards of ownership come by taking risks. When you evaluate a business venture, do you see more opportunity, or more risk? Risk and reward are opposite sides of the same coin. You get to choose how big you want your coin to be.
If you believe in yourself, do you have the courage to invest in yourself? Fear may be the biggest obstacle: fear of failure, regret, financial loss, embarrassment, making the wrong choices… fear of the unknown. Mitigate and manage your risks intelligently with facts. Business is a horse race between greed and fear. When fear wins, investors lose. Your courage will give you the fortitude to manage risk and reward as an owner. Without it, you may wind up scurrying from one illusion of security to another throughout your career..
5. Passion [pash-uh n]
It’s commonly assumed that successful entrepreneurs are driven by money. But most will tell you they are fueled by passion — for their product or service, the opportunity to solve a problem or the chance to make life easier, better, cheaper. It’s passion based on a company’s mission that provides the internal reward that sustains you between paydays.
6. Vision [vizh-uh n]
One of the defining traits of entrepreneurship is the ability to spot an opportunity and imagine something where others haven’t. Entrepreneurs have a curiosity that identifies overlooked niches and puts them at the forefront of innovation and emerging fields. They imagine another world and have the ability to communicate that vision effectively to investors, customers and staff.
7. Flexibility [flek-suh-bih-l-ity]
Business survival, like that of the species, depends on adaptation. Your final product or service likely won’t look anything like what you started with. Flexibility that allows you to respond to changing tastes and market conditions is essential. You have to have a willingness to be honest with yourself and say, “This isn’t working.” You have to be able to pivot.
8. Family Support [fam-lē suh-pawrt]
Of course, vital to every success story are the family and partners that provide the support to make it to the finish line. You may have confidence in yourself. Does your family have confidence in you? Does it matter? It matters a great deal! The support of your spouse, (or partner) and family is crucial to a successful business. Redeploying capital that you have worked hard for and saved for years can cause great anxiety within your household. Be sure to include household members in the conversation as you go through discovery, perform due diligence and make investment decisions. This choice affects your family as much as it does you.