The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that over 80% of all queries it deals with have to do with how to succeed as an entrepreneur. That’s not all; a cursory glance at Forbes entrepreneurial forums reveals that over 90% of contributors are seeking entrepreneurial advice.
Well, this being the information age, the market has responded in kind to give tomes of information regarding success in business. From qualities, risks to tips on entrepreneurship, there are so many articles and forums that if advice alone could suffice, there would be a Bill Gates in every corner of the streets.
The reality on the ground is of course quite different because much of the information on successful entrepreneurs is misleading. Indeed, the Entrepreneur' Organization (EO), Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) and United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship® (USASBE) now decry unprofessional entrepreneurial forums as a cause for misery among startups.
The simple fact is that no one wants to tell the cold hard truth about making it in business. What’s more, the media has over glorified selected billionaires who have made it in business, and new investors are now trying to copy everything they lick up on biased media commentaries. In other words, media sells you the most exciting story which is easy to buy into.
Revealing the Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs
Now that you appreciate what you might have read on blogs and other forums does not reflect the truth about that billionaire you look up to, why not evaluate some cold facts about who these personalities are and their experiences on their paths to success? Take a look:
- Every Entrepreneur Starts by Failing
From Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page to Mark Zuckerberg, there is a common strand of failure in their initial projects, which you will not hear repeated. The fact remains that in business, probability of failure is very high for startups.
In fact, the U.S SBA, in 2011, reported that over 70% of new businesses fall within 1 year of their launch. What sets these entrepreneurs apart is that they never let such failure curtail their growth. Indeed, they used this as a chance to get better, hence the rise of Google, Facebook and Microsoft, among other global brands.
- Uniqueness in Every Personality
It is common to find entrepreneur personality traits bundled together as a package. The idea is that without such traits, you cannot make it in business. Successful business owners, such as the late Steve Jobs, are labeled introverts, school dropouts and control freaks, among other qualities.
However, you need to appreciate each entrepreneur is as different from the other as day from night. Each individual is shaped by different factors, and while some obvious traits such as passion are common in all successful entrepreneurs, there is no one-fits-all package of traits for successful entrepreneurs.
- Drive and Determination Maketh an Entrepreneur
If you are an avid online reader, you have come across articles praising young billionaires who have made it big as geniuses. It is true they have made milestones in order to succeed, but behind the façade, you will find that these are extremely passionate workers who are obsessed about making their idea work. Their ambition is almost self-destructive, but it is what sees them through.
- It’s all about Leadership
In a question-answer interaction with young entrepreneurs, Virgin Group’s Richard Branson was asked to name one trait that has seen his brand grow so extensively. Of course everyone expected a detailed discussion on ingenuity and innovation, but leadership it was.
With modern billionaires being branded snobbish, there is a myth that they are poor leaders. This is the furthest from the truth you can get. Entrepreneurs such as Zuckerberg, Gates and P. Diddy might appear withdrawn in public, but when inside the corporation, they are the core of the engine.
- Isolation is a Fact
When was the last time you heard Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, had a ball and probably invited Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and other billionaires for a good time? If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, this is a hard fact that you should be ready to face.
It is lonely at the top because an entrepreneur will always be thinking about creating a safety net for the business by expanding strategically without jeopardizing current operations. When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, not many in the company seemed to know this was coming; it was a decision inspired by such isolation.
- Lawsuits are a Way of Life
When you are rising to the top, you should expect to step on quite a few toes. Well, take a case of Apple vs. Samsung ad, Google’s legal battles, Uber, Lyft, Honda, Google Android OEMs suit and Formula One’s Team Suaber against its former driver Giedo van der Garde.
All these cases emanate from decisions by principal entrepreneurs in a move to meet business objectives. There are also myriad other legal issues to deal with to ensure your business complies with all regulatory standards and policies.
- It is Downright Stressing
Truth be told, you might need to see a shrink once in a while because the stress is just debilitating. A business manager might experience stress once in a while, but for an entrepreneur, this is a lifestyle. It is no surprise then that most entrepreneurs over 60 years leave management to sit in the board to relieve themselves off this stress.
- People Skills are Invaluable
Truth be told, it is not easy to be a successful entrepreneur without accompanying appropriate people skills. Take for instance when Lenovo messed introduced the Starfish adware almost ruining the brand when computer users realized the safety risk this exposed them to.
However, Lenovo’s top brass moved in quickly to accept the blunder and discontinue the relationship with the maker of this product. Most top brands have survived hairy moments by using these people-skill crash techniques to save their skin.
Well, if you really want to succeed in entrepreneurship, then you understand this is not the rosy garden you have always read about. However, these challenges and hard choices are the ones that make entrepreneurship so exciting. As an entrepreneur, you are a creator and you enjoy every moment watching your creation thrive.
Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.