An entrepreneur’s life begins with a vision – but turning that vision into a reality is what separates mere dreamers from true entrepreneurs. Building a company from scratch requires equal parts ideation, determination and hard work. How ready, willing, and able you are to deal with such challenges will make all the difference between moving forward or falling by the wayside.
The 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Report by Amway (AGER) – which is one of the world’s leading direct-selling companies, highlights three essential attributes that is necessary is running a successful business. AGER pulled responses from nearly 51,000 people across 45 nations regarding their opinions on entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial potential, and entrepreneurial spirit.
Successful entrepreneurs appreciate that building a winning business is different than just setting out to make money. Their desire to start a business needs to be rooted in providing value to the customer. However, many founders and CEOs become distracted by the nuts and bolts of the enterprise or by chasing money at the expense of quality or customer experience. They do so at their peril–customers will soon see through those efforts and choose other places to spend their money.
Further, prioritizing improvement is crucial, as the status quo is death for any enterprise. Keep innovating to surprise the marketplace with new products or services as compelling as your first. Listen to your customers, not just when they contact you with a service issue, but also to their comments and other musings on social media. In many ways, this information is even more important than traditional business data like sales and profits. You must constantly reinvent the organization and its value proposition. Your customers’ feedback will help tell you how to do so.
Of course, not all your innovations are going to work out. Entrepreneurs need to embrace failure. After all, few other experiences offer clearer insights into what went wrong and how to turn today’s defeats into tomorrow’s wins. However, fear of failure can make some entrepreneurs feel unsure about their efforts. This anxiety is captured in Amway’s survey of the impact of social pressures on a person’s confidence in launching a business, given the 53 percent of respondents that would drop their dreams of launching a business if family or friends expressed their dismay.
Failure and redemption are consistent themes within some of the world’s most successful businesses. Take Henry Ford, whose two other automotive companies tanked before he launched Ford Motor Company in 1903. Another five years would pass before he introduced automobile manufacturing to the assembly line in making the Model T. His efforts brought the first affordable car for the masses and launched the company’s immense success.
Even the founders of Amway had their share of failures. Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel launched several ventures that failed, including a flight school, drive-in restaurant, and import business. But the two friends were committed to being business partners and vowed to keep going until they found the right opportunity. “You can sit around and cry about what you perceive as a life stacked against you, or you can try. Just try, and if you fail, try again. In my experience, trying always beats crying,” DeVos wrote in his bookSimply Rich: Life and Lessons from a Co-Founder of Amway: A Memoir.
Know that most success stories have failures behind them, and use early mistakes to your advantage to strengthen your next move.
As you pursue your goals, you’ll encounter people who don’t believe in your vision. That’s okay. Keep going. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor of The Huffington Post, was rejected 36 times by publishers provided with a copy of her second book. She persevered, and the 37th publisher signed her.
Don’t listen to the “That’ll Never Work” crowd. For your endeavor to succeed, you must fully believe in its promise. Roughly 50 percent of the Amway survey respondents did, displaying the attributes of successful entrepreneurs.
With the ideal combination of desire, readiness, perseverance, and positivity, you, too, just might be tomorrow’s Greg Glassman, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Arianna Huffington, Richard DeVos or Jay Van Andel.