If you asked me a few years ago what the key to success in entrepreneurship was, I might have told you that it was training and development in the beginning. A little later I would have responded with the answer of recruiting. In the middle of this journey I would've said sales and marketing.
Later, after some struggles, I thought if you have great leadership and systems you can manage all of the above. A more recent response would've been if you don't have a strategy what good are those. And right now I can hear you saying (probably screaming) adamantly that the most important element is financial acumen.
The truth is that these are all correct and I don’t disagree that these areas are all vital to the growth of an entrepreneurial endeavor. However, in my recent experience and taking all past experiences into consideration there are three key elements I've found to separate you from the red and often your competition.
Making The Shift
The keys are all personal...Not business related. After all personal development is business innovation.
Heard this before? Not like this you haven't, don't stop reading yet. The number one complaint I hear from Entrepreneurs, Executives, and other industry experts (not to mention working moms, coaches, authors, speakers, etc.). I just don't have enough time.
Does this sound like you?... "I need more time or I can’t get it all done right now."
I understand. I'll tell you, no matter how hard I worked it seemed like I worked 12, 16, 20 hrs a day repetitively. We know a successful business takes great ideas, creativity, collaboration and a bunch more, but actually making those ideas happen is the hard part.
Spending more time working is no longer the answer. We've missed enough time with family, friends and enjoying the other fruits of life to spend more time at a desk. The reason so many are not achieving enough is not actually a shortage of time anyway. I mean, who isn’t working at least 50 to 60 hours a week these days? It's a deficiency in these three keys and it's time for a shift.
Purpose in Entrepreneurship
The true importance of a purpose is not in having one, but in the clarity of yours. In today's highly competitive world if you're not explicitly clear on why you're doing what you do you'll eventually fail. There are many crossroad to come and mountains to climb and a lack of clarity is like traveling without a map.
No map leaves you guessing or with too many questions. Your confusion and fears create a slow grind of indecision slowing any sense of progress. Once you've clearly defined your purpose you will know, with greater confidence, what path is best for you and many of the intricate details needed to excel along it.
Clarity of purpose streamlines your focus and also engages others in the process. They are able to clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish and why it's meaningful. That's magic for business...it makes it easy to define job roles, responsibilities and skills on the inside and easy to communicate customer solutions and strategies on the outside.
Purpose creates a feeling of fulfillment because it clearly defines an understandable path, a meaningful result and represents a fully expressed you with which others can relate to and align with.
Progress in Entrepreneurship
Not everyone is aroused by purpose alone. A sense of progress is also highly important to inspire action within your company. Action, however doesn't necessarily mean you are being productive and progressing forward.
Identify behaviors that provide confidence, motivation and move you closer to achieving the goal. We often under-appreciated and overlooked the small victories, but it's important to take time to notice these and you'll waste less time, money and precious personal "juice".
Your ability to push through the "dry times" of startup (low traffic, leads and customers) will separate you from the competition in the long run. Appreciating these small wins will help you execute projects with greater efficiency from the point of inspiration to implementation.
Eban Pagan believes the "Speed of Implementation" is the number one key to long term success. Maintaining this feeling of progress can build the momentum you need to complete the book, online course or partnership strategy you can leverage in your business for the long term.
Performance in Entrepreneurship
We all know there are varying levels of performance. In this case I am speaking of high human performance...your ability to sustain high levels of energy, enthusiasm and engagement and elevate to a higher level you.
There will be times you overcome big challenges and don't get the results you want and there are even times you are highly effective and still "lose". These challenges will consistently occur throughout entrepreneurship, but it's your ability to face them and finish without "falling off" that will you succeed.
High human performance is the knowledge, skills and resources to get the job done well more often than not. And better than you did it the last time. Your daily performance provides a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day and a sense of fulfillment along the journey.
Instead of a little, quick spark here or there, this is continuous and magnifies confidence, instills courage and helps you stay committed to your biggest, most meaningful goals despite new and more daunting challenges.
If you've made it this far then you truly are a student of your craft and I reward you with a 4th key. Key #4 is Urgency. Urgency is the multiplier (I know, I know, it doesn't start with a P.) We could use Parkinson's law which is a tactic for creating a greater sense of urgency (we'll save that for a later date).
Urgency is the true difference between an entrepreneur and highly successful entrepreneurship. With urgency, you will find out how well you defined, prepared and fulfilled the first three keys. You will learn what you are truly talented in and how passionate you are about your purpose. Urgency brings out true human potential and can create real levels of high performance.
Urgency is the one thing that drives people, projects, and businesses forward quickly. Being truly urgent in your actions will help you gain a significant advantage over your competitors and sustainable success in Entrepreneurship.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you think about your current business status...
- Can you clearly (I mean with crystal clarity) define your purpose?
- What have you been thinking about for too long? (What if I told you you only have 60 minutes to choose?)
- How effective are you at performing the tasks needed for successful execution? Can it be done better?
- Are you demanding enough? On others, or better yet, yourself?
- Who owes you something (a report, product or idea)? How much time have you given them? Do they really need that much time?
I'll leave you with this...
To achieve greatly, you must master the three keys first and then cultivate great urgency in a way that channels your significant purpose. We must not view ourselves as time stressed, but as highly time-sensitive beings. Our time on earth is short and the lifespan of an average entrepreneurial business is even shorter. Only when we view life & ourselves this way are we likely to generate the energy and drive to make things happen fast and in a meaningful way.
Which of the three keys is deficient most in your business? Begin or join the conversation by leaving your comments below.