Why is it that one business succeeds when another doesn’t? Two businesses with similar financial resources and teams end up on completely different paths – one skyward with exponential growth and profitability; the other just never seems to be able to get going. We often say a healthy dose of luck is the missing ingredient but actually there is the saying that goes the “harder I work, the luckier I get”.
That’s right – it is the entrepreneur that makes the luck. Achieving success is not easy – it requires determination, resolute belief in ones path and a steadfast adherence to your guiding principals. It is the entrepreneur themselves alone that must guide the business through the growth stages and challenges and bumps along the way. Below we look at those principals that set more successful entrepreneurs apart from the pack:
Passion: Successful entrepreneurs have a passion for their work that drives them on. When an entrepreneur loses passion for their work it becomes very difficult to find the drive to keep pushing the business on. For example, if you love being outdoors then running a business as an accountant inside an office all day might initially give you some success but in the long-term the likelihood is you will get frustrated, you might find yourself spending less time at work and more pursuing your passions and the business will suffer. While you should not enter a business that is not something you have a passion for, at the same time it is never too late to make a change!
Discipline: We all know successful entrepreneurs who appear driven almost mad with their rigorous discipline around health and fitness arriving at work early or completing a full day. They never seem to sleep in or take an early weekend. They never miss a gym session or are fastidious in their note-taking. Successful entrepreneurs exhibit a self-discipline that sets them apart and as such become role models for their employees and reliable to their clients and partners. They really miss meetings or deadlines and often exceed expectations.
Organisation: Discipline and organisation go hand in hand – disciplined entrepreneurs are organised entrepreneurs. Setting goals and making plans require a level of organisation, following that road map to success requires discipline. Get yourself organised by being clear on what you need to achieve. Start with the small things like setting yourself an achievable list for the day set out in order of priority – then get about clearing your agenda, your desk and your head of any clutter that will inhibit your ability to achieve your objectives. Being organised brings with it great peace of mind.
Productivity: With organisation comes productivity. Working smarter not harder to follow the road map to your success goals. A successful entrepreneur will lead from the front – not driving their employees harder but creating the environment or giving them the tools to be more productive. Being able to deliver faster or free your employees from unmanageable workload will give more time for everyone to contribute to “working on the business” whether that be in new product development, innovation, new processes or refinement of existing system – all designed to make the business more profitable and successful.
A clear business vision/mission: One of the biggest differences in the successful business and the struggling one is their ability to acquire top paying clients. Many will say – ah that entrepreneur, he could sell snow to the Eskimos. But can they? It comes back to the passion element that successful entrepreneurs promote their products or services not merely as items their customers can buy or use but as a business with a vision/message that their customers can connect with. Time and time again you will find that the successful entrepreneur often goes over and above their obvious duty to their clients with provision of service or after sale engagement. While they have a passion for their business they want their customers to share that same passion.
Financial nous: At the end of the day money makes the business world go around. But a successful does not have to be a financial wiz-kid. However, the success of your business depends on how well the money is spent and invested. Good entrepreneurs recognise very quickly that they either have the strong financial management skills to ensure the success of their business or they have the humbling ability to give the control into an employee that does. Letting go over your business financials and listening to those with more skills can free the entrepreneur to concentrate on what they do best – selling their vision/mission through their personal drive and passion. Often in struggling businesses we see that it is the entrepreneur who is controlling the pursue strings and suffocating the business almost creating a fear of success.
Pursuit of quality: Steve Jobs is somewhat infamous for his preoccupation with the quality of Apple products. But by what do we define quality? For successful entrepreneurs it does not necessarily mean a product that is completely devoid of defects or is perfect in every way. In fact, often we will see businesses whose products are superior struggling in relation to their more successful counterparts. Quality to a successful entrepreneur is far more of an attitude that the product is never finished – that they are always driving it to be better to continually meet or exceed their customers expectations and even to challenge their customers that they want more from their products in how they use them. It starts in the entrepreneurs passion for their business and their drive and discipline to achieve their vision and mission which is set high above mediocrity!
These are the characteristics that define successful entrepreneurs over and above anything else. And while other attributes such as their continued commitment to learning and personal growth, their effective communication skills and their own personal health (that they rarely miss a day of work etc) can be considered important it is clear that their passion, maddening disciple and commitment to the cause are actually the things that successful business apart from the struggling majority.