Why do some entrepreneurs achieve stellar small business success, while others achieve only moderate success, while still others achieve no success at all?
There is a wide range of factors that determine a venture’s success:
- the ability of the entrepreneur to successfully execute the startup plan, then manage the evolution and growth of the business
- the team of investors, partners, employees, vendors, etc. involved in the startup, growth, and operations
- adequate funding to carry the venture through at least the first year without relying on revenue to do so
- consumer demand, want or need for such a product or service (if they don’t want it or need it, they won’t demand it)
- the ability to keep customers coming back for more (customer loyalty is key to the success of any business)
- the ability to effectively market the product or service (great marketing can sell average products, but average marketing won’t sell a thing)
- the level of direct and indirect competition
- changes or trends in the marketplace
- for retail: location, location, location
- did I mention adequate funding?
- And more often than not, the success of the venture depends on the distance the entrepreneur is willing to go to achieve success
So, let me ask you…
How far are you willing to go?
What sacrifices are you willing to make?
How much are you willing to risk?
What level of effort are you willing to give?
Great questions that only the you can answer.
To illustrate the point, let’s look at three entrepreneurs all opening the same business at the same time under the same conditions.
Let’s call them Mo, Larry and Curly.
To level the playing field, let’s say that each of our wily entrepreneurs started similar businesses on the exact same day, in similar markets, selling the exact same product, at the exact same price.
Let’s also pretend that they started their businesses from nearly identical locations, with the exact same resources and funding, and with the exact same opportunities and odds for success.
Even when starting from the same place at the same point in time with the same resources and same opportunities, the results vary widely; some entrepreneurs succeed in an amazing way and others do not.
At the end of three years, Curly’s business is wildly successful while Mo barely made it to year one and Larry stumbled shortly after getting out of the gate.
If all three started out on equal ground with the same bag of tricks, why does Curly get to give the crowd a “Woop, woop, woop!” while accepting the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award while Mo and Larry have to work as waiters at the event to help pay their bills?
Because Curly refused to quit.
Even after the market slapped him in the face and the competition kicked him in the backside and some customers gave him the two-fingered poke in the eyes, Curly kept coming back for more.
Persistence, drive, dedication, passion, and perhaps in Curly’s case, simply being too hard headed to quit resulted in massive success.
Stooges aside, there is a very simple reason some entrepreneurs do amazingly well in business while others do not.
It has nothing to do with product or location or backing or education or street smarts or dumb luck.
It’s because those who succeed in an amazing way are willing to do whatever it takes – for as long as it takes – regardless of what it takes – to make their dreams come true.
Those who are unwilling to do whatever it takes will ultimately fail.
When the going gets tough, most get going back to a day job.
That’s it, end of story, thank you, drive through.
I hear it all the time from my fellow entrepreneurs and coaching clients.
“Tim, I’m doing everything I possibly can and the business is about to go under!”
I listen and say, “I see,” in all the appropriate places, but inevitably when I ask, “Well, are you doing this, this, this, and this?” the answer usually comes back, “No, no, no, and no.”
Very few people are willing to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to succeed in business.
That’s why so many businesses fail; they are started by stooges who have no business being in business. Period.
Before you even think about starting a business ask yourself these questions:
- Are you willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to make the business a success?
- Are you willing to work for free until the business is able to pay you?
- Would you be willing to perform every task imaginable?
- Would you clean the toilets, mop the floors, take out the trash, wash the windows, clean out a grease trap, flip burgers, pour drinks, and deal with customers for hours on end?
- Would you stay up all night writing a proposal that you have a slim chance of winning and spend the entire next day cold calling clients who won’t give you the time of day?
- Would you sell your car and mortgage your house and live on rice and beans for a year to fund the business?
- If that money ran out would you think up creative ways to keep the doors open or would you just shut the doors and crawl home with your tail tucked between your legs?
- And would you put your last ounce of blood, sweat and tears into a dream that might or might not come true?
If the answer to any of these questions is “maybe, I don’t know, or no”, I want you to hold up your hand and stick out two fingers, then poke yourself in the eyes with them.
Then repeat after me, “Why I oughta— keep my day job.”