Having an entrepreneurial spirit is what keeps me going. It's a mindset. I don't wait for things to happen. I make it happen. It's the difference between being a leader and being a follower. It's about seeing the big picture and owning it. It's what I try to teach my kids, my staff, and myself. It's also important that new graduates understand this, too.
We have to remember that eight out of every 10 entrepreneurs will fail. But it's the person who has that 'extra drive' who can get up and try again that differentiates an entrepreneur from the herd. In my many years in business, I've seen plenty of people fail, get up, fail again, and get back up, only to succeed down the road.
There will be times when you question if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and question what you're willing to sacrifice to meet the goals you've set for yourself. It's all part of the process. The moment you give up and throw in the towel, there's no going back. It's about having the right frame of mind along the way, too.
Ariana Huffington of this distinguished online news and opinion site once said, "I failed, many times in my life. But my mother used to tell me, 'failure is not the opposite of success, it's a stepping stone to success.' So at some point, I learned not to dread failure. I strongly believe that we are not put on this Earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what's left is who we truly are."
I couldn't agree more. There's no blueprint for entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurs come from all sorts of backgrounds, locations, social classes, and educational status. But, what we all share in common is a strong constitution. We're not afraid to take risks. We're confident and at the same time always eager and determined to learn more.
Granted, not all of us are born with an entrepreneurial spirit, or want to take on the responsibility of being one. Here are some key traits I believe many entrepreneurs have in common. See if you share some of these qualities.
No. 1 - Never be Afraid to Push the Boundaries
When you think about certain challenges in an 'unconventional' manner, you begin to come up with new innovations and creative ways to be disruptive in an industry. You push the boundaries as far as they'll go, and then some. Many companies - like Facebook and Uber - have not only pushed the boundaries countless times over the years to be successful but they have defined and invented new boundaries for society to take notice.
Facebook has pushed the boundaries on privacy in the interest of building user connection and even more revenue. By nature, entrepreneurs are eager to push boundaries and work hard for success.
No. 2 - Accept that Failure is Inevitable
Failure happens. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, it will happen. But that's okay. Just learn how to deal with it. Great entrepreneurs take it all in stride, remaining calm and logical. What they do not do is fall apart and beat themselves, losing control in front of their team, investors, or potential partners. Entrepreneurs 'lead'.
As Mark Cuban likes to say, "It doesn't matter how many times you fail. It doesn't matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are."
No. 3 - Entrepreneurs Don't Say, "That's Impossible."
Successful entrepreneurs don't see the world with limitations. Instead, they look to see how a challenge can be overcome with their abilities and resources. For example, if something were to seem impossible upfront, an entrepreneur may not see it as impossible by adding more time to a project, or by adding more people to the project. Finding solutions drives innovation. An entrepreneur will experiment with solutions until they get the results they want.
No. 4 - Understand the Value of Reliance
In many cases, entrepreneurs do not succeed without relying on others. The best of the best understand that it takes a solid team, and a network of contacts, strong employees, business partners, financial partners, peers and resources to get the job done well. Effective leaders surround themselves with those who help them become even more effective. A leader is only as good as the support around him or her.
No. 5 - Strong Ethics
Far too often, leaders can be unethical in their approach to business or with the people who surround them. In my opinion, that practice is the best way to destroy your future. Smart entrepreneurs understand the importance of a code of ethics that serves as the backbone of successful business structures. If you fail to prove yourself to be a credible, ethical entrepreneur, no one will do business with you.