Yesterday, I was talking with a serial entrepreneur, investor, and startup guru about building the startup community in Lansing. We were discussing community assets and the resources that are often perceived to be missing. During the conversation, he made the comment that ‘successful entrepreneurs find a way to win.’
I couldn’t have agreed more.
It should be no surprise that entrepreneurship requires hard work, a little luck, and a lot of perseverance. Every entrepreneur faces obstacles, whether it’s a technological hurdle, limited access to talent, sparse funding, etc. But the best entrepreneurs figure out ways to overcome these obstacles and find a way to win. Even in small markets like Lansing, there are billion dollar companies (Jackson National Life, Auto Owners Insurance) and companies with over $50-$100 million in revenue (Techsmith, Demmer Corp, LiquidWeb).
The founders of these companies found ways to win. They didn’t let being in a small market or lack of access to VC funds get in their way.
Focus on What You Can Control
You can’t control luck. But you can control hard work, dedication, and perseverance. For instance, how many customers did you cold call today? How many did you speak with? How did you respond to rejection? How many blog posts did you write? Ad campaigns did you test?
In my experience – both personally and speaking with other entrepreneurs – doing the grunt work of cold calling, blogging, testing ad campaigns, etc. is a lot less fun than dreaming up strategies for how to make my business awesome. But success comes from execution and resourcefulness, not dreaming and wishing. Dreams are important for establishing a vision and keeping motivated, but dreams don’t produce revenue.
We may not be able to control luck, but consistency, focus, and dedication can help us seize the opportunities in front of us.
Be the Last One Standing
Finding a way to win is necessarily easier said than done. And what it takes to win will vary for every startup and every project. Some startups will face similar hurdles (access to funding, difficulty finding talent, a scalable customer acquisition model), and some will face unique ones (some of the Spartan Innovation teams are creating revolutionary technology). But all entrepreneurs face them.
And the last ones standing will be the ones who found a way to win.
What obstacles is your startup experiencing? How can you find a way to win?