Being a business owner and entrepreneur, I face a different series of challenges each day. From managing a remote sales team to staying connected to my business partners with thousands of miles between us, communicating and dealing with customers, and all the things running a business involves. It is a lot. I don’t look at these challenges as problems, but view them as obstacles to overcome.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart, that is for sure. But I, for one, love it! I’m always up for what the day brings and thrive off the chaos if that makes sense. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, you can likely relate. My guess is you are equally up for the challenge and perhaps have even overcome your own set of obstacles.
Taking chaos or even a crisis and turning it into the upper hand is an art. Building upon the adversity and coming out more robust in the end is the ultimate American Dream! One trait I notice is within almost if not all, entrepreneurs are the ability to staying calm in troubled waters while the rest white-knuckle their life vest.
If you want to know if a company is fantastic or not, wait and watch. If, during a crisis, they crumble, they were not. If, during the chaos, they survive, they are decent. During the chaos and crisis, the company thrives and improves, you are witnessing the best of the best. Hat’s off if it is YOUR business that thrives and grows after such a pressure-cooker situation!
Niccolo Machiavelli once said, “Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! So how does one execute the way Niccolo Machiavelli described? There is a way to do so, and I am about to share it with you!
Whether you are a complete newbie to entrepreneurship, have built some businesses before, or own a billion-dollar company, I know you will benefit from the strategies I’m about to explain. I follow these strategies, too, all laid out by our entrepreneurship forefathers. You might not see yourself as an expert entrepreneur yet, and you might need to print this out and reference it for a while, but soon you will see that it is the way of life for entrepreneurship. For Thomas Edison to Elon Musk, these traits run in the veins of past and present. Taking action above all is the best way to learn. When you stumble upon a challenge, remember this is building you. You’ll be better for it if you let it! This list is condensed wisdom from the best of the best. These five traits are common threads with all the top entrepreneurs, from years past like Thomas Edison to SpaceX and Tesla’s Elon Musk… We all have these 5 traits:
FIVE TRAITS OF ALL SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS
1. Staying Cool
You will find that success in life comes far easier when you maintain a cool head and a warm heart, rather than a hot head and cold feet.
Robert Griffin III
Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III said, “You will find that success in life comes far easier when you maintain a cool head and a warm heart, rather than a hot head and cold feet.” Learning to keep a cool head can be a challenge, mainly because in the business and entrepreneur world, there are many alpha’s and egos. During the COVID pandemic, for instance, there will be many companies that can not keep calm. Instead, they will panic and lose their minds with worry, fear, and immense pressure. Meanwhile, many companies are staying pivoting and flourishing all while remaining calm and crafty with how they do business,
2. Have a “Nothing is Impossible” Philosophy
Everything is possible! You need to believe in something and be willing to make mistakes and be the trailblazer.
I can see the big picture and then find the right people to execute my ideas. Often I present an approach, plan, or model to the team, and they will say, “Aaron, that is impossible.” I refuse to hear ‘no when laying out my plans. If one programmer says ‘no’, I push. I challenge. I let them know we WILL accomplish it. And you know what? 99.9% of the time, it happens! Sometimes we need to get creative or to work overtime, but we do it! And it is all because we are willing to put our heads down and make it possible. We think it exists, and then it does. Stop having a scarce mentality. If it is possible, we will do it. Everything is possible! You need to believe in something and be willing to make mistakes and be the trailblazer.
3. Be Able to Ignore the rules
“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
The Dali Lama said, “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” The same goes for business. Get creative, and don’t let limitations stop you. Sometimes you have to ask for forgiveness and not permission. Being an entrepreneur means taking risks, and breaking through the rules, written or assumed. Many times the rules were written so long ago, it seems like civil service to challenge them! And if the Dahli Lama says it’s okay, I mean, who am I to argue?
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
4. Be A Negative Nelly (for a moment).
Have you heard the saying “prepare for the worst, hope for the best”? It’s a popular business technique practiced by the top businesses in the world. The idea is to rehearse and plan out the worst-case scenario, or the different ways things can go wrong, make a plan, and be better off IF something terrible happens. The idea is simple. Don’t let the unexpected catch you off guard. You can move forward faster, better, and remain more durable if you have an if/then plan. Being a Negative Nelly, even for just a moment on the whiteboard, you have a leg up on the competition.
Everything that happens in business and entrepreneurship, including the failures, are necessary and useful.
5. See the Good in it ALL. Hard things are going to happen. Something that even Negative Nelly on the whiteboard didn’t imagine. It’s called LIFE. And when life gives lemons, making lemonade is a business and entrepreneurship technique. Don’t allow the business to become paralyzed. If you see that everything that happens in business and entrepreneurship, including the failures, as necessary and useful, you will be able to grow positively, even in the pile of poo you’re standing in. You might lose a deal, lose the funding, catch on fire, or have a clash of minds with your team or partners. Regardless of what it is, if you stay positive and see the good, you will soon see the energy changes, your passion reignites, and something good will come of the situation. It takes time, but it happens!
Turning the chaos upside down and seeing opportunity in the obstacle is a skill that you can master. It takes time. There are a LOT of entrepreneurs out there who will share stories about how they get through these moments. If you are one of them, please comment and let me know your story!