Entrepreneurship is a demanding profession. Once you get involved in a business you own a stake in, most of what you do will ultimately have a reflection on your self-image and long-term reputation. Successful entrepreneurs learn how to figure out ways to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Having started over 10 companies and innovating within each, I have identified the six critical factors, or the six C’s, that when considered can significantly increase the odds of success.
Courage is the foundation of entrepreneurship. Without courage there is no start and no surmounting of the many obstacles that will undoubtedly surface in the early days of a new venture. Courage is also required to make the key and tough decisions about what strategic direction to take, what team members to hire and who to fire. It’s all about making the tough decisions at the right time.
Without conviction you can’t muster the energy required to relentlessly work towards your mission, energize those around you and form the type of culture you want to build. These priorities probably will not shift much, as they are at the core of your purpose and belief system.
It is important to realize that to achieve your goals, you must test hypotheses frequently and modify your strategy. To navigate effectively, rely on evidence, listen intently and adjust. Avoid the common failure of entrepreneurs taking the wrong path and ignoring all signals by denying facts and staying the course of their initial misconceived conviction.
As an entrepreneur, you must have vision, but how can you carry it out it to win the hearts of customers and beat your competitors? Execution is all about having the right capabilities and that’s strongly correlated to the team you assemble and your modus operandi. There is nothing more important then having the right people, creating the right environment and constantly building the right capabilities by developing people and establishing processes and systems to support execution. Also make sure you’ve got all the required organizational capabilities between you and your senior management team. Any weak link can have an adverse impact on execution.
Effective collaboration is one of the most difficult principles to implement. It is akin to team sports. It requires that you have the right players, in the right position, seamlessly coordinating with other team members to achieve the intended results. To win, a team must be carefully selected, spend time training and helpful feedback should be provided to members in the spirit of driving continuous improvements. It’s the same in business. Entrepreneurs need to provide high velocity feedback and build the right processes to maximize collaboration.
A lot of ventures fail not because the idea behind them is not viable but because the company did not have enough cash to continue finding its way in the market place. Too much capital can make management prone to recklessness and lead to poor decisions and overspending in unnecessary areas and too little can impact the team’s execution capabilities and decrease the odds of competing effectively. What is certain is that most ventures underestimate the amount of capital they require because their projections always end up being too optimistic. Stay focused on how to raise or generate enough capital to build a sustainable business.
Entrepreneurs need to be extremely sensitive about where they are today, what they’ve learned from the past and have a clear vision about what their next best step should be going into the future. They also need to be conscious about the obstacles they are facing now, anticipate the next likely challenges ahead and understand the associated risks with each. Proper planning, reflecting and pre-empting is the best way to increase the odds of success.
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