This week's episode is about the importance of Mentors - they are business game changes, and life changers.
I have often though that the hardest part of setting up your own business is actually “starting”! You’ve had the idea, and it might have been floating around your head for years, morphing from one thing into something else and finally taking shape as a “possibility”! I have personally seen and experienced many an hour of procrastination or distraction activity causing delay and sabotaging that first tentative step towards just doing it.
FEAR – it’s an inbuilt emotion that triggers the hormonal adrenal response that saved mankind from becoming part of the food chain in the stone ages. There is a whole science to the feeling of fear – and the fight or flight response. I am not knowledgeable enough to go into it in any depth here and can only share my own episodes of fear and the experiences of others well known to me. You can safely assume that just about everyone feels fear as some point in their lives – many people actively try to avoid any experience of it, whilst the adrenaline junkies of the world get their “high” from the (sometimes controlled) danger of extreme sports.
This article is not about fear – it’s about the first step to build a business. Many business owners struggle to overcome some perceived barriers to success and underestimate the tasks and actions you need to be willing to undertake to get the life you want. But anyone who goings into business for themselves will heed the wise words of those who have boldly gone before them – and I’m not talking about “Beam me up Scottie!”
Business ownership is hard work, requiring commitment and resilience. It’s not for the faint hearted – but you don’t need to be superman or wonder woman. You need to define your own idea of success and make your own goals, not someone else’s. You will make mistakes along the way, and need to learn from them rather than be afraid of making them. Most of all you need to take control of the biggest barrier - the 7 inches between your ears. Success is largely about mind-set.
Starting your own business is more accessible than ever before. The availability of knowledge and access to other people is instant – and much of the planet can be reached in a single message through the connectivity of Facebook, Google and the easily available technology that facilitates those communication and education tools. Despite the internet being nearly 50 years old (48 in 2017 – world wide web is 28!) we are still at the dawn of the technological age and still don’t know yet whether there are any limits to what we can use the internet for.
New ideas sprout from the minds of millions daily but only a small number of those ideas ever get beyond the minds of the originator. Those that do are ahead of the game just by starting. There are a few “build it and they will come” businesses and fewer “unicorns” (A unicorn is a start-up business valued at over $1billion). Getting started and achieving success are usually part of a tough journey that will take you on the roller coaster to becoming an entrepreneur!
Entrepreneurs have some common characteristics – and depending on which book you read they can be 5, 7, 10, 50 – but the number doesn’t really matter. What matters is they all “got started” in some way or other and they overcame barriers either externally or within themselves. If you embark on this journey, you will come across more barriers than you ever thought possible. People you thought would support you, will try (subconsciously or consciously) to sabotage your efforts, commitment or direction. You will find help along the way from surprising sources. You may fail many times before you succeed. You will question your decisions and possibly your sanity.
But whether you are looking to become the next Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or you have ambitions to change the world in another way, you must be prepared to do things you never thought possible, work smarter than you have ever worked before and keep focused on your success goal because this is what will change your life and yourself forever. Some of the key characteristics of the most successful entrepreneurs include (not limited to):
- Tenacity and determination,
- Passion and motivation,
- Resourcefulness, adaptability and flexibility,
- Self-Belief (with a healthy dose of self-doubt for good measure),
- Planning and financial management,
- Ability to take calculated risks – and a willingness to fail, and break rules
- Self-improvement and the sponge-like acquisition of knowledge
The great news is whilst you might be inspired by the living giants of modern day entrepreneurship, they are still human beings. None of them have super human powers. They don’t have the same genetics or personality types. They simply harnessed a few key attributes that can be replicated by any one regardless of age, education or background. My own beginnings were ordinary, and simple – my journey is ordinary or maybe out of the ordinary (but not extra-ordinary – that description is reserved for the truly exceptional) but I have been inspired to take the action required to take control of my future and create the success that will make a difference in my life now and in the future.
So if you have that great idea, a simple first step to starting is sharing and setting a public deadline for a launch date. The fear of failure often overcomes the fear of getting it done! And there in one sentence is the essential lesson on what separates 90%(at a rough guess) of the population from the rest.
Christine Nicholson is The Profit Fixer - an author, speaker and consultant who diagnoses businesses and their business owners using Your Profit Scoretm. Saving thousands and making millions, Transforming +£1m turnover businesses, Releasing the business owner to follow their dreams.