Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, from a great diversity of backgrounds and with a great diversity of different philosophies and approaches. This is evident in the spread of company cultures and growth trajectories among startups. Being so, if you ask 10 different entrepreneurs what the most important factors for entrepreneurial success are, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.
Nevertheless, there are fundamental qualities that almost every successful entrepreneur shares in common. They are passionate, imaginative, and undaunted by the inevitable challenges of starting a business from scratch. That’s why you’ll never hear a successful entrepreneur say one of these five things:
1. I don’t want to hear it. The most successful entrepreneurs are open to new ideas and inspirations no matter where they come from. They’re willing to listen to customer complaints and incorporate that feedback into later models. They’re open to talk with mentors and peers about different approaches and different ways of doing things. They’re eager to hear from their team to discover new perspectives about the challenges faced by the business.
Listening to others’ thoughts and opinions, even if you don’t agree with them, is essential for achieving any kind of meaningful growth. Our individual perspectives are limited, no matter how much we’d like to think otherwise. Entrepreneurs who are open-minded enough to hear others out tend to be far more successful than those who aren’t.
2. That’s impossible. Possibility is relative. What might be impossible to one group of people in one set of circumstances might be entirely possible to another. When someone says “that’s impossible,” what they often mean is “I’m not capable of doing this right now.”
Successful entrepreneurs don’t view the world with this type of artificial limitation. Instead of seeing how a challenge can be overcome by their current abilities and current resources, they think of how it can be overcome by any possible set of abilities or resources. For example, if something is “impossible” in the moment, the successful entrepreneur might imagine that it’s not impossible with the addition of two new team members and an extra week added to the timeline. Alternative solutions drive innovation, and successful entrepreneurs are always willing to experiment to get the results they want.
3. It’s good enough. Some people stroll through their entire careers with a “good enough” mentality — they put in just enough effort to see a favorable result, and make decisions based on minimum criteria for success. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this; for most people in most careers, good enough really does mean good enough.
But in entrepreneurship, competition is much fiercer and you’re in far greater control of your own destiny. Too many competitors and volatile factors are bearing down on you for you to settle for anything. When you first launch your core business, or your core product, your mind will be racing with ways you can improve upon it. Even after years and multiple generations, you’ll still be driven to experiment and find ways to improve. This constant denial of satisfaction can be maddening, but it’s what drives these entrepreneurs to success.
4. I’m too busy. Most people don’t know the meaning of “busy” until they get started as an entrepreneur. You’ll be wearing so many hats, taking on so many different responsibilities, and making so many decisions each day you won’t know what to do with yourself. But at the same time, you’ll be exhilarated to be in such a position.
To successful entrepreneurs, the position of business owner isn’t a burden; it’s a thrill. It’s not a job; it’s a passion. There will be moments where you feel overwhelmed, of course, but if you’re truly committed to what you do, you’ll never be “too busy” for that extra conversation or that one additional responsibility.
5. I give up. There will be times when you question whether you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and times when you question whether all your sacrifices were worth it. There will be challenges you face that will threaten to collapse your entire business. This is normal; it is part of the process, and the successful entrepreneurs of the world are the ones who encountered these moments and decided to keep going. The minute you give up, on your business or entrepreneurship in general, your journey is over, and there’s no going back.
Entrepreneurial success starts with the right frame of mind. You have to have an innate drive and a passion for what you do, and you can’t let the unavoidable complexities and trials of business ownership get in the way of your ultimate vision. Take inspiration from these taboo phrases and set your own course for entrepreneurship; just don’t let your doubts get the better of you.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!