I remember reading a brilliant piece titled “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship”. It resonates because it forces us to look at entrepreneurship for what it really is. It talks about the secret demons, we entrepreneurs carry within us. Entrepreneurship is a scary territory because it is filled with doubt. And here, erring gets easily magnified because everything is out there for everyone to see.
But, as entrepreneurs, we all share a common passion and love for what we do. So despite all the fear, we take the plunge because we want to leave great stories behind us.
In this journey, there are some promises that can make life easier. So let’s make these promises together:
1. I will acknowledge failure and learn from my mistakes
50% of all new business fail within five years. Such failure is more likely to happen when you don’t learn from your past. In your entrepreneurial journey, failure is bound to show up. And it can be crushing, especially when it comes unannounced.
So the first promise you should make yourself is this: “I will acknowledge my mistakes and learn from them.” Letting your mistakes create inconsistency problems is bad for your business. Remember that failing isn’t bad so long as you don’t get stuck. So when you encounter failure, be quick to move on. And carry your lessons with you.
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson
2. I will be a better listener
The entrepreneurial landscape often stresses on the importance of good public speaking. But it is crucial to remember that great leaders are team players, and they always listen. Listening helps you see things from a different perspective. And in business, this is important.
When you are just starting out, you may view yourself as the only point of command, however, every business, big or small, is run by a team of people working together. Each person adds his/her own value.
Listening helps you understand the intricacies of your business- the problems, the challenges and even the good side. This helps you fine-tune your strategies in a way that is more meaningful to your audience. So, promise to listen to your inner hunches. Promise to listen to your investors, your teammates, your customers.
3. I will be flexible and open to change
It is important to learn to embrace change at the right time. If your idea doesn’t have fruitful translations for the industry, it might be time to bring a change. This change can be in the form of rebranding or something more drastic, like chucking the actual idea and building your business on a different one.
Change comes with its own set of challenges, but well-executed change creates better results. There are several stories of successful pivots in the startup history. Twitter, for instance, started its life as Odeo which was a podcast subscription network. A few months later, Apple announced that iTunes will have an inbuilt podcasting platform. Competing against an established brand was a big risk so Odeo took Twitter as a side project; the same Twitter which now has 330 million monthly active users.
4. I will create long-term strategies
As an entrepreneur, you are a part of a marathon, not a sprint. From scattering the seeds of your business to finding visibility and getting real results, the journey can be long and arduous. In order to build your brand, you need to create long-term plans which are based on a certain set of values.
Think of Apple, from its very inception, Apple promised to deliver something that has elegance and simplicity. And those core values are still intact. When you think long-term, you are more likely to emerge as thought leaders who shape industry trends. Additionally, long term thinking helps in brand positioning as it helps you craft strategies which make your brand memorable.
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” – George Bernard Shaw
5. I will stay curious
Entrepreneurship is risky and it may seem a good idea to stick to what you know, but that defeats the very purpose of taking the risk. Also, this mindset prevents you from finding good opportunities because your field of view becomes narrow.
Learning new things helps you to see the various possibilities that exist and reap benefits from it. The dynamics of almost every industry keep changing and there is a constant need to adapt. And adaptation becomes easier when you are curious. Curiosity demands time but the investment is always worth it. So promise to learn something new every day and get out of your comfort zone.
Promises, small or big, mean a lot when they are centered around things we love. These promises ultimately become our driving force. So, let’s pledge to listen more, be more flexible and keep our curiosity alive. Also, let’s make sure to learn from mistakes instead of taking them as setbacks and use them as stepping stones to success.