Hollywood’s love affair with entrepreneurial personalities taking on the world and going it alone has glamorized the notion of taking an idea by the scruff of the neck and building a business from the ground up.
But what the silver screen tends to paper over is the years of blood sweat and tears that virtually all entrepreneurs have to endure before finally finding their success and subsequent fortunes.
Sadly, entrepreneurship can be a lonely and fruitless industry for many, and a thick skin coupled with buckets of determination is essential for those looking to forge a success by starting a fledgling business. Here, we take a look at five harsh realities all entrepreneurs will inevitably need to face on their path to success.
Failures will happen.
It doesn’t feel fair the looming spectre of failure hangs over the heads of even the most innovative of entrepreneurs, but it’s an inevitable occurrence that business ventures will fail over the course of a career in the industry.
Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney (faltering ventures were so damaging that the Mickey Mouse creator was at one point living on dog food) all suffered damaging failures on their path to creating dynasties in the world of technology and entertainment respectively.
There are many reasons why business ideas fail, sometimes it’s down to extraneous circumstances, and sometimes it’s down to a lack of innovation. But it’s important to remember that failure is a way of life, and if your determination and vision is strong enough, you’ll learn from your mistakes and bounce back much stronger.
Competitors are everywhere – and they’ll do anything to beat you.
Being an entrepreneur is a thankless job, on the contrary – other entrepreneurs may even resent you for looking to infiltrate their market.
Entrepreneurs are very wary that the market is nowhere big enough for everyone to succeed, and will use that logic to try to ensure that they have the cutting edge over your business.
It’s important to know that having competitors, even fierce ones, is a sign that you’re doing something right. Nobody wants to waste their time creating a strategy to beat a business that isn’t considered a threat.
So enjoy the thankless job of being an entrepreneur, if you haven’t got any rivals, the chances are you haven’t made it yet.
Entrepreneurship is a 24/7 job.
This is one of the hardest things for a new entrepreneur to come to terms with. Your free time will be at a premium. The problem with being an entrepreneur is the office never closes – you’re always in demand from someone, somewhere, about something.
Amy Morin of The Huffington Post wrote of the mental health issues attached to the long working hours and lack of downtime associated with becoming an entrepreneur.
While many entrepreneurs are willing to make sacrifices in order to succeed, it’s important to understand it will invariably add strain to your friendships and relationships, especially in the early years. As a result, a juggling act will need to be performed to maintain any semblance of a social life while venturing out to take on the world.
There’s no such thing as ‘going it alone’.
The problem with the aforementioned notion of taking on the world is it’s actually really quite hard to do. Some entrepreneurs are so confident they genuinely believe they don’t need to take on very much personnel to keep the business operating to its full capabilities without everyone burning out and becoming unfocused as demands and deadlines build up.
Here, it’s important to have some humility. You need to accept there are smarter people out there who are capable of optimizing your strategies to make your visions become a reality.
Bringing in other workers is also a great way of restoring undivided focus on individual tasks. As a business grows, so too does the tasks and projects at hand. A big folly of many complacent CEOs is that they can multitask their way to success, but this often results in fatal lapses in concentration. By accepting that you can’t face the world alone, you can open the door to competent, quality work that doesn’t have to be rushed to meet deadlines or lack detail thanks to a different task hoarding your attention.
Even if you are not in a position to hire employees, it doesn’t mean you’re alone. In this world of technology, you can still find like-minded people without even meeting them. There’re plenty of shows, including YouTube channels, podcast, and blogs where you can gain motivation and knowledge.
Patience is a virtue.
An Achilles heel of many an entrepreneur is they expect results, and to begin turning profits, immediately. The level of expectation of instant gratification can be crippling to otherwise smart and innovative entrepreneurs.
The reality of the matter is things naturally go wrong, and it’s inevitable. Setbacks, errors, illness and letdowns are part of the process in this industry, and you need to allow for them in all of your projections – even if that involves multiplying your estimated project completion dates by two. Sometimes it’s simply a much longer process than what could’ve been anticipated at an earlier time.
The virtue of patience is also very valid for mapping out your company’s success. Sadly, you can’t hurry profit margins up.
You may suffer through years of uncertainty after setting your business up, without knowing for sure whether your start up’s set to sink or swim. Here it’s important to remember to stay true to your vision. Remember that casino owners don’t concern themselves with each individual spin of the roulette wheel and that each loss will be mitigated by the steady gains that your business model will have forecast.
While patience is a virtue that’s essential to every successful entrepreneur, it’s also important to know when to walk away from a losing scenario. Over your time as an entrepreneur, you’ll encounter many difficult clients and projects. There will come times when you’ll notice that the pursuit of certain deals and demands have become a waste of resources and employee-power. The best entrepreneurs will know when to practice patience and when to walk away from a deal that doesn’t represent value for either themselves or the company as a whole.
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