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Do you REALLY have what it takes to succeed in a start-up business?

Nowadays, many people seem to think they can be the next entrepreneur; the next pioneer or disruptor; or put it simply, achieve ‘success’ in their new start-up venture in a matter of a few months or years.

The brutal truth is that start-ups fail more than succeed. We’ve all heard the statistics that “over 80% of businesses fail within the first 5 years; followed by a further 80% failing within the subsequent 5 years”. So why do you bother even starting a business in the first place ?

I call it the ‘entrepreneur’s curse’ that drives many aspiring entrepreneurs to start a business with no money; no guidance; no expertise or strategy, etc. They’re purely driven by their flippant emotion and their egotistical desire to succeed !

The common statements I hear these people say include:

“I want to be financially independent from my job within 12 months”, or

“I want to be the next big brand in retail”, or

“I want to dominate the market with my product and service”; or

“ I want to be the next young entrepreneur and disrupt the market” .

Does all this self-talk sound familiar ? Well, if this is you, you must read further….

Mapping the Minds of Entrepreneurs:

So you may be still asking what does it take to succeed in a start-up ? I wish I could simply say: ‘vision’ + ‘passion’ + ‘hard work’. This is what a lot of people seem to think. However, this is only scratching the surface. Successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson would back me on this.

Throughout my 23-year entrepreneurial career, I can verify that other personal traits essential to business include:

  • having the humility and the willingness to seek help before and after things go wrong;
  • the ability to influence, attract, and lead others, during times of pressure, uncertainty, and volatility;
  • the willingness to take risks, accept set-backs, and keep trying, even when the sceptics think you’re mad !
  • a gracious heart and willingness to reward others before youself;
  • incredible patience, self control, and discipline when things go wrong, and all you want to do is quit;
  • the courage and strength to best deal with the unknown, the many set-backs, and the occasional complete failure;

We’re all Gifted !

I genuinely believe that in each one of us, there is a special gift or a unique set of traits that are much needed in business. Whether you’re creative or technical, a bull-at-the-gate or risk-averse, these personality traits are critical. Essentially, there is untapped potential, which has either been ignored, not discovered, or perhaps tarnished during life.

Word of caution – whilst we all think we are gifted or entrepreneurial, it’s also understanding our limitations, and not presuming we can do it alone.

Why having a Coach or Mentor is Critical:

For the past 12 years, I have coached, mentored, and trained hundreds of individuals seeking to fulfil their dream with their ‘unique’ product or service.

I have discovered from first-hand experience that less than 10% of such individuals or businesses become financially viable in the long run, and actually achieve a satisfactory degree of success they originally planned for.

Those who succeed are willing to give 110% effort over 10+ years to make it work. This testimony can be also supported by the ‘10,000 hour rule of mastery’, as defined by Malcolm Gladwell.

Back in 2016, I was interviewed by Ducere Business School about the importance of entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring. I describe the difference between mentoring and coaching, and why all business owners or start-up entrepreneurs ultimately should invest in an experienced coach or mentor. You can read more about this interview here.

Essentially, an experienced coach or mentor will facilitate the journey and significantly increase any chance of success for the candidate. Why take the jagged road, when you can follow a smoother/possibly straighter path ?

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