When planning a new business, what usually comes to mind when you think about your success odds?
‘Is my idea profitable enough?’
Don’t we all tend to think that the market opportunity relies on a perfect and incredibly innovative idea?
But why are we always so concerned about the business concept like it is all that matters to create a successful business?
Could the idea, by any chance, be a mere excuse to hold down a business project a bit more?
When you think about it, it’s impressive how many people struggle to start their own business because they are waiting for that perfect idea to fall from the sky. There’s this curious common notion that to be successful in business, all you need is an excellent idea.
Well, allow me to share my brutally honest opinion: having a fabulous idea means absolutely nothing about the potential for the business to be a success.
First of all, because it goes a long way between having an idea and, in fact, executing it. I understand this might seem trivial to you, but it’s a relevant point worth mentioning: most brilliant ideas never get out of the paper.
Secondly, any entrepreneur comes to understand that even the best plan will face numerous obstacles from the get-go of the project; issues that you weren’t expecting will arise and will most likely change your perception about the idea that seemed so perfect some days ago.
Lastly, if you’re doing the right thing during your project development, there’s a high chance you will be pivoting your business idea like 20 times before you launch the company.
You see, I agree that having a powerful concept is important, as it is a fundamental mechanism of motivation to start a business. But it is not the most relevant issue when it comes to driving business to success.
It all starts with the following idea:
To be successful in business, first, you must be in business.
Therefore, we will now address the real critical factors we should always be considering when evaluating a business potential.
The three fundamentals for success in business
There are at least three issues that are undoubtedly more relevant than finding the perfect business idea. The subjects we will be discussing below are the key points that must be present in every founder’s mindset.
These are the pillars of any entrepreneur.
As you probably know by now, when the human beings disappear from the planet earth, the cockroaches will still be around. Why does this happen?
Well, because they have way more flexibility to adapt to circumstances, even though I would say – in our defense – that human beings aren’t that bad either.
Being capable of adjusting your idea and way of thinking to the outputs you’ll be receiving from the reality is one of the most important keys to success.
When you start a business project, all your concept is based upon several assumptions. You should, first of all, test those assumptions as fast as possible to verify if what you’re thinking receives the correct output from your target market.
As soon as you understand that what you were assuming is not aligned with the reality, you must pivot your idea and create new assumptions.
You see, these are like hypotheses. You start with a list of hypotheses that you will test in the market, and if the feedback received is not the one you expected, the right mindset will force you to pivot the idea.
The entire business creation process is full of learning opportunities.
Wait, let me re-phrase: your whole life is full of learning opportunities. But as you already know, not everyone is capable of learning from the other’s perspective or experience.
Some of us are so stubborn that we will be blind to any advice, to preserve what we think is the best business idea and, many times, as a way to defend our ego.
Somehow we might be afraid of being wrong, and I get that, nobody likes being wrong and, especially, having to re-start a business project when you’ve already done so much.
My humble advice to anyone is: build up self-confidence and understand that having someone advising you to go in the opposite direction might be a blessing as it allows you to think about what you’re doing and adjust along the way.
It is not an offense to your way of thinking or original idea; there’s no point in getting emotional.
I would say that having the humility to keep finding opportunities to learn is one of the most important attributes in life that will not only be useful when creating a business but is also a tool of tremendous value in every other area of your life.
There is nothing as important as having solid grit. Determination is the single and most important trait for any entrepreneur.
Along your business creation and also when you are already running the company, there will be immense challenges to solve.
You will find that, very often, the challenges you will face are of high complexity and risk to your overall business. We might be talking about issues like “If I don’t put this machine to work right now so I can sell on this event, I won’t be able to pay salaries this month”.
Stuff that goes way beyond your comfort zone will appear along the way.
Likewise, you will find uncountable reasons to give up. It will always be so much easier to give up and get a job, trust me.
Every single day you will face some issue which, if not handled properly, can lead to critical injuries on your business and after several months or years with these type of problems, it might get tiresome.
Being an entrepreneur won’t be easy, but if you have the right determination and self-confidence in your capabilities, be sure that no matter how many times you fall, you will always have the energy and perseverance to get back up on your feet.
Now that we’ve discussed what is important to build up the right mindset and that ideas are not as important as our entire society makes us believe, I’d like to wrap up by recommending this amazing video I watched couple years ago.
It is a TED Talk of Angela Lee Duckworth on “The key to success? Grit”. Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school, and she quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled.
Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
Some days ago I saw one interesting comparison. Ramit Sethi, a great reference to me, presented several distinctions between the wantrepreneurs and the real entrepreneurs in one of his blueprints for creating an online business.
One of these distinctions was that wantrepreneurs would wait forever for the perfect business idea while the real entrepreneurs would just get started and would adjust along the way, with steady and unbeatable determination.
It is food for thought, even though I couldn’t agree more.
However, what we know is that no one is perfect. Many times people use simple examples just to make a point, but real life tends to be way more blended.
We are all human beings, some days we are entrepreneurs, some days wantrepreneurs; it is the average of our options that will decide where we stand. And being an entrepreneur means, quite often, to be disciplined and do what we deeply know it’s the best for us, even though it might not be the easiest.
And afterward, you add to that average another average: the one that derives from your levels of flexibility, humility, and determination.
Because as it seems, the success path comes from doing NOW the things other guys will delay forever, and have the stomach to endure all the obstacles along the way.
Never forget this.
What do you think? How important do you find grit and determination as the main traits to success? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.