Most small business and entrepreneurial training focuses on writing a business plan, understanding financial statements, and other somewhat mundane tasks that business advisors and even SCORE representatives require. With all due respect, none of these are going to help the small business startup or a fledgling company.
Here’s what will help:
1. Learn how to execute. Dar Caldwell of the Shaker Launch House in Cleveland, Ohio has some criteria for helping entrepreneurs. He believes that there are lots of good ideas for products and companies. The biggest issue is the ability of the inventor or entrepreneur to be able to execute. As the saying goes, “innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped”. Without the ability to execute, all else is irrelevant.
In the whirlwind of today’s business environment, execution is difficult. It takes daily focus, weekly or monthly goals, and a determination to work on the things that are important. An organization needs to keep score and be accountable to each other. Without execution, nothing can happen.
2. Always hang around with like-minded people. Other business owners and executives have the same issues you do. Find a mentor and be a continuous learner. When professional athletes get into trouble off the field, it usually can be traced back to the people that surround them. Choose your friends well and learn from them. Their support is vital, but their advice may be priceless.
3. Be persistent. Don’t give up on goals that have eluded you. Be totally focused on the task at hand. Don’t let the fog of business keep you from your assigned task. Understand what is important to reach your goals and relentlessly go after it. Work in chunks for 30 minutes at a time and see the task through to completion. It takes discipline, but the payoff is worth the effort.
4. Have a good, supportive spouse or significant other. There is nothing more important in your entrepreneurial life than support at home. When someone I know asked a business advisor whether she should start a business, his first question was: “Are you in a happy and supportive relationship?” Without a good home life, there is no pathway to success.
When interviewed on a local radio show, Ray Kralovic, co-founder of the multi-billion dollar company, Steris Corporation, credited his wife Judy for his success. He said without her support, especially in the tough times, he would have never succeeded.
Execution, supportive friends, persistence, and a good home life. With these four factors, your chances of success are excellent.