Balance passion and obsessive focus
Most aspiring entrepreneurs are sometimes carried away by their passion, to the point of getting involved in too many haphazard opportunities related to their business idea.
You do not have a strategy and clear vision before you can confidently say to a potential partner, “that’s not what we are about and is a waste of our time.”
The most successful entrepreneurs have a very narrow and obsessive focus on one single thing they want to be the best at.
Their mantra usually embodies the idea of “this is the direction; let’s get everything else out of the way.”
Always remember: the entire range of Apple products can fit on a single coffee table!
Be patient and persevere
The first opportunity an entrepreneur pursues is rarely the right one.
However, the prospect should always be viewed as a stepping stone to discover the next one, which is often invisible to most, despite being a much more attractive business opportunity.
This is what I call “the premium for perseverance.”
Successful entrepreneurs are not the most visionary, but are the most perseverant and agile.
They know where to find light after having walked in the dark.
Advice often given to entrepreneurs is “if you fail, fail fast.”
It does not mean “give up fast,” it just means once you have found a market of interest, try, experiment, get customer feedback, iterate, move on and try something else until you find the right product and opportunity.
Most importantly, successful entrepreneurs are patient and keep iterating until they find what sticks.
The majority of entrepreneurs are incredibly impatient, but real innovation requires time and setbacks.
Very few entrepreneurs are successful because very few have the patience or the resources to stick around. Yet, it took Dyson 15 years and 5,127 attempts before successfully reinventing the vacuum cleaner!
I advise aspiring entrepreneurs to plan for at least 2 years of a ‘lonely walk’ during this iterative, experimental process of patiently discovering the right opportunity.
“Lead, follow or get out of the way”
People are what make or break a successful company.
As you grow, the temptation can often be to bring on board key hires with a more experienced resume than yours.
It may seem that these seasoned individuals might add the experience of larger corporates and an ability to structure the operations of your company into functional departments with clear ownership of budget and headcounts.
While this is the right intention, successful entrepreneurs ensure that they hire people with the right attitude first.
By right attitude, I mean the hunger to make a difference and a spirit focused on doing the correct thing for the company, rather than an emphasis on a personal or political agenda.
Politics and egos imported by your “corporates veterans” hires can be poison for a high growth company.
As such, “lead, follow or get out of the way” should be the mantra successful entrepreneurs articulate to all employees in a growing company.