An Entrepreneur’s Guide to a Successful Start-Up
By: Jennifer Hice
on Wednesday, June 22, 2011
This country was founded on the dreams of men and women looking for a fresh start and the chance to pursue their own destiny. It goes without saying that today’s budding entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s future leaders, and their successful pursuit of the “American Dream” is vitally important to our country’s ability to overcome its current economic crisis. Starting a business with little more than a great idea, diligently working to see that idea through and experiencing the financial independence following the creation of a business built on that idea, is the very definition of working and living the American Dream.
The ability to effectively execute a viable business strategy around a great idea certainly isn’t easy and it definitely isn’t cheap. Many prospective business owners have the passion and creativity to generate innovative ideas but ultimately lack the skills necessary to successfully implement them. While there’s no perfect recipe for building a booming business, there are surely essential skills one can develop in order to ensure the best possible chance for success. Starting and building a company is rooted in leadership, the proper formulation of an idea, the creation of a unique plan based on vision and experience and forging ahead amidst any and all obstacles that may arise.
As rising leaders, entrepreneurs have the ability to perceive problems as opportunities. Burgeoning entrepreneurs are undoubtedly going to encounter stumbling blocks, large and small, as they work to build their business. The outlook and perspective with which you approach these hurdles are important determining factors for success. For example, when a young University of Central Florida graduate set out to make a name for himself within the Orlando business community, he never could have imagined the mountains he would climb so early in the process. When Joel first opened the doors to his Private Jet Charter Company, he experienced some major hurdles, including battling a lawsuit that gobbled up his start-up capital and dealing with the loss of a key business partner who had the specific industry knowledge from which Joel was to learn. In the face of such adversity, Joel chose to view these challenges as opportunities. His hard work, dedication, relentless drive for success, unwavering dedication and continued perseverance allowed him to conquer these challenges and eventually helped him to carve out his own path towards success.
While entrepreneurs like Joel have the unique ability to innovate and execute big ideas, they also have an understanding that leadership is a learned behavior and not an innate character trait. There are notable differences between those individuals who can simply generate a great idea and those individuals who can generate a great idea and then turn it into a profitable business venture. What are these differentiators? What are the essential skills every entrepreneur should possess?
Commitment: If an aspiring business owner is doing anything worthwhile, he or she will certainly face adversity. Life’s highs and lows will undoubtedly throw you the occasional curve ball and any economy will certainly experience times of growth and times of recession, all of which will impact your overall progress. Absolute commitment will allow the successful entrepreneur to take one step forward, even when he or she is forced to take two steps back. They will conquer any obstacle, in pursuit of their vision.
Vision and Planning: A rising entrepreneur must have a crystal clear vision of what they want to accomplish. Without a full sense of one’s vision, mission and core values, it becomes painfully easy to become distracted, thrown off course and bogged down completing the wrong objectives. Having a clearly defined focus yields increased productivity and continued momentum.
Relationship Building: No man is an island. You can’t achieve success without establishing positive working relationships with business partners, financers, customers, employees and the like. Even if you have the innate ability to generate innovative ideas, you may not possess the ability to properly develop relationships with those around you. As a leader, you must listen, learn, and continuously sharpen vital skills, such as your ability to negotiate, motivate, communicate, inspire and properly acknowledge others.
Wisdom: In order to truly give your idea wings and thus allow your fledgling business to take flight, you must practice good judgment. Making informed decisions based on lesson-learned from past mistakes, personal insight, self-discipline and listening to the advice of others (mentors, business partners, other talented business owners, etc.), are all vital to the success of your business and its growth potential.
Humility: If building your company is rooted solely in your own personal path to glory and achievement, you will never fully realize true success. Granted, you may experience the perks of temporary financial success, but you will certainly not have the makings of a sustainable small business. A true leader uses his or her power as a tool for inspiring others to create a better future for their business, as well as for the professional growth of their employees. Leading a team of highly motivated and talented individuals to whom you can ultimately pass the torch is a fundamental key to true success.
These qualities are essential skills every emerging entrepreneur should possess. They are easily practiced and help to build the foundation upon which one can build a thriving business. They also equip leaders to successfully attract talent, make tough decisions and harness ambition. This country’s pool of talented and prospective entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to rescue the American Dream and breathe life back in to the image of leadership in business. To all the talented dreamers and future leaders out there; America is counting on you!