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4 Truths about Entrepeneurial Success & What It Means for You

Source | LinkedIn : By Dr. Liz Alexander

“I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through; then follow through.”

~ Eddie Rickenbacker, ace pilot, top racing car driver, airline executive

I’ll be honest with you. Most entrepreneurs are NOT people you want to emulate. Not if you intend to make a real difference in the world. Take the statistic shared by Adeo Ressi, for example. He’s the founder and CEO of the Founder Institute, said to be the world’s foremost entrepreneurial training and start-up launch program. In the Foreword to FOUND*, he points out—based on hard data as well as personal observation—that only about four out of every 1,000 startups (i.e., 0.4%) founded each year create global impact.

But, as with so many things in life, there’s a marked difference betweenexceptional entrepreneurs and everyone else. It was while interviewing some of these outstandingly successful individuals and having ongoing conversations with my co-author, Naveen Lakkur, that patterns began to emerge. So, here are four “truths,” as I see them. Not just related to actions successful entrepreneurs take, but the mindset that took them there. In many respects they overturn much of the commonly espoused advice not worth the pixels it appears on.

1. Your business: A lifestyle, not a career choice.

There were no entrepreneurs in my family growing up, so I didn’t know there was another option until, reaching my early 30s, I recognized I was unemployable. I’ve only worked for myself ever since.

When you embrace your business as a lifestyle choice, you recognize how nonsensical the “life-work balance” debate is to the entrepreneurial mind. Sure, it can be tough on family when “work” is who you are, not what you do; that’s something you need to negotiate going in. But as Ivan Goldberg, a Group Chairman for Vistage International UK for over 24 years told me, the most successful businesspeople not only combine passion, commitment, personal values and strengths, they’re also “enormously attached to their businesses, almost as if they were surrogate children, because they so strongly identify with them.”            

Are you? 

2. It’s not about ideas, but obsessing about problems.

There’s a visual the Founder Institute shared recently on their LinkedIn page, entitled 12 Slides of a Pitch Deck. See if you can spot the word “idea**.” The fact is, successful entrepreneurs focus obsessively on the problem they’re trying to solve, not how they’re going to solve it. That way they don’t get hung up on coming up with a single “winning” idea.

This mindset is embraced by Srinivas Varadarajan, co-founder and CEO of Vigyanlabs Innovations, who used to work for Hewlett-Packard in the 1990s. As with other entrepreneurial geniuses, he talks about “The problem we were trying to solve…” Ideas have played their part in the company’s ongoing success, which is how Srinivas and his partners own so many valuable patents. But for minds like theirs it’s clear that problems (the more painful to the market, the better), are how they’ve won a huge number of prestigious industry and global awards. More to the point, this thinking inspired an innovative product that’s already saved 100 billion watts of energy, sufficient to power all municipal buildings in Copenhagen for an entire year.

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