Being an entrepreneur means that you’ll often be marching to the beat of your own drum; no career guides, councillors or road maps guiding you from one step to the next, you’ll have to make it up as you go. But the most experienced entrepreneurs find they become not only comfortable, but good at forging their own path. Many people go through ups and downs along the way, but for those that do finally experience success, some common themes emerge. Here are five of them;
Be Open To Change
When you set off on one trajectory, life might decide to take you down another path that you didn’t plan for. A classic example is Steve Jobs, who began his initial career as a means to fund trips to India in search of the simple life and spiritual enlightenment. It was not long before life began to lead him towards the path of information technology and his work with Apple; a company that wasn’t invented yet and he could never have dreamed up. As in Steve Jobs’ case and many others, when you’re open to detours in life, you are open to possibilities that you could not imagine.
Draw On All Your Resources
There is nothing wrong with “standing on the shoulders of giants,” as they say. It would be a waste not to utilize the discoveries of the people who already do what you do, so why not draw on their knowledge? The reason we progress as a society is because each new generation stands on the shoulders of the one before, advancing a little further each time. With this in mind, consuming all the knowledge you can in your chosen field gives you a welcome head start; you can do this through reading, finding a mentor or attending seminars or workshops.
Set Your “Why Factor”
Your ‘Why’ factor is what gives you a sustainable advantage over your competitors in the long run. Ask yourself why you do what you do, what’s your purpose, your cause or your belief? Why does your organization exist and why do people care? Business coach Simon Sinek says it best when he says; “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” When you communicate the facts and figures of your business in your marketing scheme, it does not drive behaviour in the same way as when you communicate the “why” factor. In the same way, when you set your goals based on “why” before you start looking at “how” you’re going to do it and “what” you’re going to sell, your motivations will come from a source that is much more powerful.
There is never a time to stop learning, exploring or discovering new ways of doing things. The pace of progress is moving so fast, what ran the world only a year ago might not even be relevant today. Instagram was released only 5 years ago and is now an important fixture in the marketing campaigns of all businesses. Spotify and Netflix have put music and video stores out of business and forced musicians to re-think how they make their money, as they can no longer rely on album sales while people are downloading them for free. Successful entrepreneurs are like chameleons; constantly adapting to their ever-changing environment.
Don’t Dwell On The Past
Successful people – at some point in their career – have experienced failure. We learn more from failure than we do from our successes, because it forces us to questions things and make improvements to our business. Instead of resisting failure and letting it be a catalyst for dwelling on the negative, befriend failure and welcome it as a positive and necessary stepping stone towards the success of your business. Like any good science experiment, each failed attempt gets you closer to the truth or the optimum recipe for success.