A requirement rarely talked about for being an entrepreneur: craziness. You’d probably run in the opposite direction of anything else in life with a 90 percent chance of failure. Yet, spending years of your life and millions of your own and other peoples’ money, and you’re like “sign me up.”
If you want to be a part of the 10 percent- the ones that succeed- you’re going to need to fight off some instincts when you get started.
Entrepreneurs have passion. Unfortunately, passion does not always translate into a sound business idea. The paradox of passion is that it can propel you into cheetah creation mode where you run full speed ahead with the idea without taking a step back. It’s important to take a breath, scope out if anyone else had the same idea, and take note of who failed, who succeeded, and why.
Competition is Good
Build yourself a sweeping landscape of companies in your space and investigate their journey to where they are now. Understand that the competition means that there’s a demand for your idea, now you have to do it better than them or go back to the drawing board. You’re only helping yourself by scoping out the competitive landscape by better preparing yourself for the road ahead or dodging a bullet altogether.
You’ll Be Wrong
Your assumptions will probably be wrong as you become more of an expert, experiment, speak to others, receive feedback, and analyze data. Being wrong is perfectly fine, but you’ll need to pivot and course correct.
To Be or Not To Be Scalable
Paul Graham wrote, “Do things that don’t scale.” The thought of hunting your customers down, going door-to-door, or picking up the phone and calling people doesn’t scream scalability. Fight the instinct not to do things that scale because the only way to scale eventually is by first getting a few hundred people to care and care enough to help you get others to care.
Uh Oh, the 90 Percent
Because you’ve decided to be an entrepreneur, you probably have a fair amount of grit and perseverance in your reservoir. You’re not a quitter, so concluding that it’s time to let go is the last thought in your mind- if it’s even a thought. A good entrepreneur knows when and how to take an objective look at the numbers, market, and competition, and realize it’s time to move on.
Being a part of the 90 percent might sound like one of the worst things to an entrepreneur, but a failed idea can become your next venture’s greatest asset if you learn from it.