The entrepreneurial journey is probably the most heart-wrenching and the most exhilarating journey you will embark on. As Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape summed it up, starting and running a business involves just two emotions: euphoria and terror.
The world over, entrepreneurs are some of the most admired lot. Their ability to build something from scratch, to water it, to nurture it and to dodge the flying bullets in the form of continuous hardship is one of a kind.
Very few, if any, successful entrepreneurs succeed the first time they get into business. Most mess up, lose money for long periods of time, and others completely fail. Yet they still push through and even start new, successful ventures.
Persistence. This is what it takes.
You could have the best product, service and business plan but without the grit and determination that is espoused by persistence, you couldn’t possibly make it through the torrid, murky waters of entrepreneurship.
Here’s why persistence is the single most important virtue you need to build a successful business:
Change is the only constant. This is true for every aspect of life and especially in business, where your plans often tend to go awry in spite of the amount of time and effort you put into planning.
Successful entrepreneurs understand the need to remain nimble and adaptable to the many unplanned changes that come their way.
Ideally, you should stick to your plan but in reality, you will be punched in the face with all sorts of unplanned for issues, uncertainties and unforeseen circumstances.
Without the grit to move past these challenges, you will certainly buckle under the pressure, quit or lose your business altogether.
From Milton Hershey to Steve Jobs, JK Rowling to Oprah, Lady Gaga to Simon Cowell, multiple, sustained failures were a common theme as they attempted to build a brand around their passion.
Yet, it is from their multiple failures that these icons were able to revitalize their passion and channel it into building successful ventures. They learnt from their past failures and applied these lessons in creating some of the world’s most iconic brands.
It’s tempting as an entrepreneur to want to turn off the lights and close the doors, on your first, second or fourth failed attempt at business. But, developing an attitude of persistence allows you to see failure for what it is—an opportunity to learn how to achieve your dreams. Each failure is a stepping stone to success.
Ask anyone who has a successful business what there ‘aha’ moment was and they will probably tell you it was when they were going through tough times and they had to refocus their thoughts, gain perspective and clarity.
When faced with hardship, persistently searching for solutions from all angles tends to bring you to the precise answers you need. Successful entrepreneurs have a firm belief that there is a solution to everything, if you put your mind to it.
Compare this to a person who gives up the first time they encounter any difficulties. The moment they throw in the towel, they kill all the possibilities and opportunities that are almost always hidden beneath face-value obstacles. The moment they give up, they bring to an end the potential for a major breakthrough that could have been attained if they had just pushed some more.
A report by Harvard Business School researchers showed that entrepreneurs who had been in the game for long time and have undergone all the trials and tribulations that come with entrepreneurship had higher success rates.
Challenges and obstacles are a constant reality in business. The more of these you encounter, the more seasoned you are bound to be as an entrepreneur. Iron sharpens iron.
By staying in the fight for as long as it takes, you are bracing yourself for greater success whether in your current venture or in future ones.
At a time when instant gratification is the norm, it is easy to want to quit when you do not see significant traction early enough.
But here’s the truth: If you are in business for instant results, you will be very disappointed because things tend to take two, three, ten times longer to come around than you had anticipated. This means you need a sense of patience and a ton of grit to keep at it.
If success in your business is that important to you, are you willing to put in the work for as long as it takes to finally see the great results?
Nothing comes on a silver platter, more so in the world of business. Developing the virtue of persistence will help you to stay above the water even when everything else around you seems to be sinking. Most people are in a great rush to achieve success and many give up before they truly achieve it. Don’t give up. Entrepreneurship is a journey, and the more you learn along the way, the more you’ll increase your chances of massive success.