The first question most people who aspire to be entrepreneurs ask when they meet successful entrepreneurs. And the common answer to this question is “… work hard, be determined and be patient.”
When Scott Shane, a Forbes contributor writer was asked a similar question, rather than giving his own answer, he gave someone else’s answer.
According to Scott Shane, his daughter’s fourth grade class at the Onaway School in Shaker Heights Ohio learned about entrepreneurship as part of an economics unit. “After having a short discussion with me, the class played the Hot Shot entrepreneurship game developed by the Kauffman Foundation and Disney. Then they were asked to write a blog post explaining what makes entrepreneurs successful.”
They gave an impressive response, not different from what leading academics and government policy makers say makes entrepreneurs successful.
According to them:
Entrepreneurship is one of the most important parts of economics in a free enterprise system.
An entrepreneur is a person that creates, organizes and manages a business while trying to make a profit.
- The first thing an entrepreneur needs to do is to think of an idea. They have to be inquirers so they can gather as much information as possible.
- They need to constantly reflect on their decisions.
- They must be risk takers because there is always a chance that their business will not succeed.
- They must be open minded when presenting their ideas and receiving feedback.
- Entrepreneurs must be good communicators when sharing their ideas with investors and when advertising and promoting their company.
- Entrepreneurs must be knowledgeable about business law. For example, they may want to apply for a patent.
- They must also be principled and caring towards their employees and customers.
By being hardworking entrepreneurs, we all have the opportunity to be very successful.
Entrepreneurship is a game of perseverance. It is about determination, the discipline, and the cash to see it through. It is about not giving up and being the last person standing when everyone else has fallen by the wayside.
Having the vision to see what others do not see, the passion to motivate yourself and others, the savvy to build and grow a business, and the guts to make good decisions, are all part of the mix. But what binds those ingredients together is the tenacity to stick with it, day in, day out, year after year.
In a 1995 interview, Steve Jobs said, “I am convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard and you pour so much of your life into this thing, there are such rough moments in time that most people give up. And I do not blame them, it is really tough.” Indeed, Apple has persevered seeing that the company was nearly bankrupt when Jobs returned as CEO in 1997.
Interestingly enough, Apple has only played a role in creating one market, the personal computer. MP3 players, smart phones, and tablets had all been around for many years when the tech giant entered those markets with a superior product painstakingly designed with the highest standards in mind. The California Company has always taken the long view and taken its time to be the best at what it does.
Indeed, just as with life, successful businesses are marathons, not sprints, except there is no finish line. It is just a way of life, so live it up.