Nothing give me more of a chuckle than the thought of people lining up for a Masters of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship. Truth be told, the idea of the typical MBA program is in almost direct contradiction with entrepreneurship. This is not to say that entrepreneurs shouldn't get an MBA, rather it is to point out that starting and building a business is not something you can read in a book.
As the saying goes, ‘great leaders are made not born’. In the case of the most successful entrepreneurs, they are made through persistence, hard work, and a little luck. With that in mind here are five keys to being a successful entrepreneur. Take these tips to heart as they will drive you in your quest to turn your idea into reality.
- The Voice of the Customer
One thing that every entrepreneur understands is that they must listen to the voice of the customer. This empathy is what helps them to find problems and then define solutions to solve those problems.
However, finding the voice of the customer doesn’t mean that you only listen to what customers are saying – you also want to listen to what they aren’t saying or doing. Think about it, companies like Uber and Lyft might have never existed unless the founders thought about the problem instead of making taxi rides better.
One good place to understand is to look at how people view the everyday things they use. For this reason, you want to look at real reviews first and then think about how these reviews fit into the entire picture of how customers use the product or service – be it insurance or toasters.
As such, you want to get incorporate the voice of the customer into everything you do. Find ways to build empathy and then you will come up with solutions that will truly enrich the lives of the people you are seeking to help.
- Learn, Don’t Dwell, on Failures
The reality is that everyone makes mistakes. Even Steve Jobs was once fired from Apple. However, one thing that successful entrepreneurs are very good at doing is to learn from their mistakes rather than dwelling on them.
Sure, setbacks hurt but the most important thing is to understand why things didn’t work out as planned. This means getting forensic by being able to dissect an effort (any effort) into its parts. It doesn’t matter if it is a new menu at the local restaurant or a mobile app which is going to help bring people together.
At the end of the day, it is our failures which have brought us to where we are today; so, if we don’t learn from them, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. Not only does this sort of shortsighted thinking doom us to keep repeating the same mistakes repeatedly. If you want to be a success, then you need to break this vicious cycle and start to learn from your mistakes.
- The Early Bird Get the Worm
Successful entrepreneurs are driven, almost to the point of being fanatical. This is largely because they are passionate about what they are doing. As such, you need to find something that really lights your fire – something that makes you want to wake up before the sunrise and go to bed well past midnight.
Granted few people have this passion and drive and this is a big reason why MBA in Entrepreneurship is not worth the money spent. Instead, you want to get passionate about what you are doing and then learn it inside and out.
- Good Enough is Never Good Enough
If you have ever served in the Navy, then you know that the submarines our nation relies on for defense are built by the lowest bidder and there is a saying which goes along with this way of doing business – ‘close enough for government work’.
However, successful entrepreneurs are never satisfied with ‘good enough’. As such, they are constantly seeking out ways to improve their product or service. In this way, they can continue to stay ahead of the competition.
- Never Quit
‘Quitters never prosper’ and this can be applied to successful entrepreneurs. Not only do they lack the gene required to know when to throw in the towel, many prosper when the chips are down.
Maybe this is due to the negative tension, or maybe successful entrepreneurs are driven by a need to prove their naysayers wrong. So, if you fancy yourself as an entrepreneur, then you need to never quit as it is the only way you can climb to the top of your field.