Entrepreneurs are a strange breed. More than anything, they aspire to autonomy and self-started success, and they harbor the confidence and passion to achieve it, yet many remain hesitant to blaze their own business trail, fearing the consequences of failure. Indeed, failure is always a possibility in the business world, but that risk should not scare an eager entrepreneur from chasing his or her ambition.
The following eight lessons will motivate entrepreneurs to forget the risks and launch their startups as soon as possible.
1. You Must Take Risks
Entrepreneur, marketer, and all-around inspiration Seth Godin has written a total of 17 books on how to succeed in business, all of which are useful to the up-and-coming startup. However, Godin is also a particularly adept public speaker, and in one of his most famous lectures he explains that business relies on risk. From starting your company to developing your ideas and all the way to marketing your products so your ideas will spread, you must embrace the concept of risk ― or else there will be no risk, only failure.
2. You Don’t Have to Be a Genius
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is worth more than $5.5 billion ― but that doesn’t mean he is a genius. In an interview, the iconic entrepreneur explained, “I was dyslexic, I had no understanding of school work whatsoever and I certainly would have failed IQ tests.” For most of his career, Branson didn’t understand fundamental business concepts, like the difference between net and gross. Yet, it is inarguable that Branson found success. You don’t need dozens of university degrees to help your startup thrive; you just need tenacity and passion.
3. You Do Have to Love What You Do
As the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, a consultant for AirBnB, and the personal owner of more than a dozen hotels, Chip Conley is obviously passionate about the hospitality industry ― and he truly believes that happiness is what breeds success. Conley praises companies that work to make their employees and customers just as excited and uplifted as entrepreneurs are passionate about their ideas. Allowing your workers to hear stories that provide motivation, like Conley’s, could increase productivity and drive success.
4. You Must Be a Great Leader
The soft skill of “leadership” is obviously one of the most valuable to a startup’s founder, but few entrepreneurs know how to function as an effective leader. Author and speaker Simon Sinek argues that the best leaders rarely ask questions like “how,” “what,” or “when;” instead, they ask “why?” When you can explain to your investors, employees, and customers why your product is better than the rest, why your brand is valuable, and why your startup will succeed, then you will become a true leader.
5. You Should Pay Attention to Detail
A self-labeled Ad Man of the highest caliber, Rory Sutherland has spent his career seeking to understand what, how, and why consumers buy. What he has learned is that bigger is not always better, and not just in relation to marketing. “Sweating the small stuff,” as Sutherland puts it, not only keeps your brand in your customers’ minds, but it improves your startup’s success overall.
6. You Should Trust Technology
Don Tapscott is one of the world’s leading authorities on the social and economic impact of technology, so when he argues that startups must embrace innovation and take advantage of emerging technologies, you should listen. Tapscott explains that young people from now into the future do not fear advances in tech; in fact, they look forward to it. Thus, your startup must be aware and accepting of the latest tech crazes ― or you will be left behind.
7. You Have to Fail
Few entrepreneurs know much about economics, which is a shame considering how efficiently the dismal science produces data regarding business practices. One economist, Larry Smith, offers advice derived from such cold, hard facts: Failure is necessary for success. However, instead of focusing on failure, Smith urges everyone ― not just entrepreneurs ― to stop making excuses and jump feet-first into failure, because it is only after failure that you can find success.
8. You Must Learn From Your Mistakes
Tim Harford is another economist that has broken into the business of inspiring entrepreneurs with particularly good advice. Drawing upon evidence from war and business (which have surprisingly few differences), Harford explains that failure is indeed necessary for success ― but only if you know how to learn from your past failures. In fact, he suggests purposefully making mistakes to expand your worldview and gain more opportunities to succeed.
What is your favorite lesson on startups and entrepreneurship? Let me know at @idaocncpts on Twitter.