Though counterintuitive for many entrepreneurs, there are three ingredients for their success.
1. Lead versus micromanage
In recent times we have read a great deal about “helicopter parents” who hover above their child, not allowing him or her to experience growing pains that lead to greater wisdom and success in the long run. Many entrepreneurs are like the helicopter parent. The idea is their brainchild and the business from the idea is the child itself. They either do everything themselves or they delegate to others without empowering them to really do the work.
One of the greatest challenges for entrepreneurs is letting go in order to build and lead high performing teams. The sooner entrepreneurs realize that they can’t, nor have to, do everything themselves, the better off they and their businesses will be. Successful entrepreneurs play to their own strengths. They hire for what they can’t do or don’t want to do. They give team members room to do what they do best.
When people leverage their strengths and live to their passions, they are more engaged, innovative, productive and fulfilled. Entrepreneurs grow value when they build teams that are balanced in strengths, built on trust and inspire constructive action.
2. Stay the Course
The stereotypical entrepreneur is forward-thinking risk taker who lives in the world of possibility and is bored easily. To the outside world, they can seem a bit like “change-junkies.” More than merely comfortable with change, they seek it and thrive on it.
These strengths, overplayed, can create additional challenges to overcome. Successful entrepreneurs have a clear, long-term understanding of, and commitment to, adding value to their customers and their teams. They are focused and willing to give ideas enough time to gel and get traction in the marketplace.
Some ideas need to be modified to meet rapidly changing market demands. There is a distinction between agility and lack of focus or distraction. Get support from someone who is willing to hold you accountable to your focus. Concentrate on the twenty percent of activities that generate the greatest value and impact. As Albert Einstein said, “Genius is the ability to focus on one particular thing for a long time without losing concentration.”
3. Go slow to go fast
Often, entrepreneurs are coming out of jobs that provided relatively steady paychecks, health insurance, a certain amount of structure and predictability. Once entrepreneurs take the plunge, when the steady paycheck is gone and the need to make money is high, there is a penchant for getting “there” quickly.
Instead of diving in quickly, successful entrepreneurs go into the transition recognizing the value of going slow to go fast. They take time to understand their purpose and unique value before declaring their mission. Actions and decisions are anchored in that defined purpose and value.
They are committed to potential changes in lifestyle. They do their research. They talk to people to better understand what works and what doesn’t. They understand market demands, trends and challenges. They network. They create business plans (including a Plan B) with conservative financial projections and appropriate infrastructure that supports the business versus consumes the business.
Just as importantly, successful entrepreneurs take time to reflect. Reflection is the opportunity to understand how our experiences can shape our future and impact others. It supports our quest for discovering purpose and meaning. The commitment to reflect distinguishes good leaders from great leaders and good teams from great teams.
To be a successful entrepreneur, avoid the temptations that plague the change junkie. Be deliberate. Remain focused and true to your purpose and values. Lead with passion that inspires engagement and impact.