Entrepreneurs Have GRIT
After 160+ instruction hours with Goizueta’s Senior Lecturer of Organization & Management and expert in entrepreneurship Charlie Goetz as a student and teaching assistant, these are my takeaways for hopeful-future entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone–high risks, charting the unknown, embracing insecurity. But anyone can become an entrepreneur because the skills of entrepreneurship can be learned. Across all those skills is a common theme–entrepreneurs have grit. Forged in this definition of grit, a combination of courage and resolve, lie key traits that an entrepreneur must learn to embody.
Go Against the Odds
The success rate of entrepreneurs, while varying greatly by industry, can be daunting. Only one in four ventures will last more than 15 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, the idea of a potentially amazing start-up is just that–an idea. An untested, unproven idea. Even after it’s been validated and your company is gaining traction, the threat of competition becomes real. Industry leaders stand ready to quell potential disruption in their markets and you must out-maneuver them.
The ability to overcome these odds is a combination of factors (including luck!). The primary one, though, is the passion you have for the problem or challenge you seek to address as an entrepreneur.
That itch is unshakeable and the energy and determination it evokes is very much needed for the road of turns and pitfalls ahead as you launch a company and overcome the competition.
Resourceful by Necessity
As a budding entrepreneur, the odds that you have substantial financial resources are slight. Therefore, you must use every bit of capital you do have wisely. Your company’s survival depends on it. That means negotiating contracts to your favor, and delaying cashflow out of the company as much as possible while ensuring revenue is received as quickly as possible.
Resourcefulness means using the affordability of social media and viral marketing to your advantage for maximum return on dollars spent.
There are ways to make it, but one must be creative when fighting against much larger and deeper-pocketed companies.
Invest in something bigger than yourself
Entrepreneurship is a calling.
Your idea epiphany might come serendipitously at your home or office. Or, it may come in a calculated manner after much industry and data analysis. However the method, the problem you hope to fix should inspire you. Your why should be known by heart. Why this problem? Why are you the one to fix it?
Tenacious at every step
Roadblocks will hit you at every turn. Perseverance is key. From the simple things like finding the right IRS form, to the foundational items like finding the right product-market fit, it’s important to move quickly. Listen to what the data is telling you and iterate often. Surround yourself with the right people who are not only qualified but share a passion for the problem you are solving. Legacies aren’t built overnight, but persistence is rewarded handsomely.
Being an entrepreneur can offer innumerable freedoms and opportunities. You must be gritty and think differently to see them–and succeed against the odds. I’m grateful Professor Goetz opened my–and many students’– eyes to this fact.