Whether you’ve pondered over this for years or it came to you in a dream, you’re convinced you’ve discovered the product or service that everyone is desperate to have. You’ve convinced yourself that there’s no better time than now to launch your entrepreneurial career. Before you make this leap, you’ve decided to confide in your closest family and friends for feedback on your billion-dollar idea. To your surprise, no one sees the potential in your prospective venture that you see. Now you’re wondering if something’s wrong with you, or maybe it’s them. Then you come to the conclusion, it couldn’t be you. The problem must be that you’re smarter than everyone else, and this is why only you get your vision. After all, imagine what 48-year-old Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci’s family and friends thought when the Staten Island based inventor succeeded in broadcasting his voice through wires in 1856 (so he could communicate from his laboratory to his bedroom with his wife, who was an invalid with rheumatoid arthritis). This prototype of the modern telephone was imagined just 22 years after the invention of the telegraph, so it was probably frightening to people at the time to think that a device could allow you to carry on a conversation with someone without them being in your physical presence!
Before you write off your family and friends, and before you blindly attempt to turn your vision into reality, maybe there’s a different way to look at this dilemma. You just might have come up with an idea for a product or service as revolutionary as the telephone. And maybe your idea is so ahead of its’ time, that the mere thought of whatever idea you have coming to fruition strikes fear in the hearts of those closest to you. Instead of attempting to get validation for the commercial viability of your brilliant idea, maybe the solution is to forge ahead, but maximize the probability of your venture’s success by patterning your behavior after other successful entrepreneurs.
If only you knew what defined a successful entrepreneur. Interestingly enough, that research has already been done by a company called Xero (a provider of cloud-based accounting software). Xero surveyed 2,000 small business owners in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, to compare business owners who’d made it to the five-year mark versus those who had gone out of business within this same time period. Here are the 5 assumptions about successful entrepreneurs that Xero’s “Make or Break Report” debunked:
1. Successful entrepreneurs can’t work for someone else. In reality, Xero’s research found that among successful entrepreneurs, 58% had held a corporate job in the past. It’s not that successful entrepreneurs can’t work for others; they just realize that this is not their life’s purpose.
2. Successful entrepreneurs work 24/7/365. Running a startup can require long hours, but the entrepreneurs who succeeded guarded their personal time. Among them, 58% said spending time with their family in the evenings was critical to performing well as a business owner, and 55% said it was important to keep their weekends free for loved ones. Successful entrepreneurs understand that without work/life balance, success is meaningless.
3. Successful entrepreneurs are radically self-reliant. The survey found that 33% of successful entrepreneurs have turned to a mentor or support group for advice about their company, compared to just 14% of those whose businesses tanked. Successful entrepreneurs understand the old adage that if you want to achieve success, you surround yourself with successful people.
4. Successful entrepreneurs roll up their sleeves and do it all. Among successful entrepreneurs, 42% said they had an excellent relationship with their accountant, while just 27% of those with failed businesses reported the same thing. In a similar vein, 58% of successful business owners use software to manage their finances, compared to a paltry 14% of those who don’t. Among successful owners, 49% spent money on social media, advertising and PR, compared to 20% of owners of failed businesses. There aren’t enough hours in the day for one person to do what needs to be done to grow a successful business, so successful entrepreneurs create operational effectiveness and efficiency through the disciplined implementation of processes and procedures.
5. You need a great product to succeed. Xero’s survey found that 41% of failed companies peddled products, compared to 19% of successful companies. In a related finding, 49% of failed companies sold to individuals versus 28% of successful ones. Meanwhile, 50% of successful companies sold to businesses. Finally, successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s not about their coming up with a brilliant idea for a new business, it’s about laser focusing on creating a unique solution to a big problem for a specific target customer.
If you found this article helpful, please share it with other entrepreneurs in your network. If you have questions about anything in this article, or would like my insight on a question about any aspect of the entrepreneurial process, please connect with me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/). I also believe that 50% of entrepreneurs fail within 5 years, because they lack the resources to properly execute their vision. Leveraging what I’ve learned over a 40+ year successful entrepreneurial career, I’ve developed a methodology to help entrepreneurs build their unique customized strategy for responsibly scaling exponential business growth. To gain access to my 7-week online course, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs through the exclusive “Think Big” Facebook group, regularly communicate with me, and gain access to my extensive professional network, connect with me on my course page (www.thinkbigwithgeoffreykent.com/).