Entrepreneurial 180 http://entre180.com Successful Strategies for Entrepreneurs Fri, 26 Jan 2018 02:04:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 http://entre180.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-site-icon-1-32x32.png Entrepreneurial 180 http://entre180.com 32 32 Fighting Off Failure Brought On By Success http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/fighting-off-failure-brought-on-by-success/ http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/fighting-off-failure-brought-on-by-success/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 02:04:31 +0000 http://entrepreneurial180.com/?p=526 Those who have failed are offered all types of advice on how to rebound from failure, but for those who attain success, there is scarce guidance on how to sustain it. It’s a fact. More people rise from failure than survive success. That’s because it is more difficult to survive success than failure. Fail and […]

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Those who have failed are offered all types of advice on how to rebound from failure, but for those who attain success, there is scarce guidance on how to sustain it.

It’s a fact. More people rise from failure than survive success. That’s because it is more difficult to survive success than failure.

Fail and it is over. No one expects more of you. You worked hard, did all the things you were supposed to do to be successful, but failed. Big deal. It happens all the time and there are many who will commiserate with you; if only because your success would have embarrassed them.

On the other hand, when you succeed you become different from the rest and you have to live with that success alone. With success you step out from the crowd and accomplish what many talk about but few do. That is all well and good, but it is important to recognize that merely achieving success is not the end of the story. You’ll be confronted with constant challenges to maintain that success,  and you will be on your own to meet them.

When Winning is not Enough

Traditionally we are taught the skills that will enable us to achieve success, but rarely are we taught the skills needed to maintain success. To survive success the first thing we have to understand is that success is a not a sign that we are at the end of the road, but that we are on the right road. Many who were passionately dedicated to achieving success fail to apply that same dedication to maintaining that favorable outcome. Most do not appreciate that the secret to nourishing success is to keep alive the burning desire they had to attain it.

Success is not static. How it is realized and, even more importantly, how it is preserved is constantly shifting formula. Success begins to slip away when we stop doing the things that made us successful in the first place. Chances are high that when an individual achieves remarkable levels of success they did so as a result of a unique spirit that triggered a focused vision, passion, dedication and effort, combined with a willingness to risk failure.

It is this distinctive spirit that drives, fosters, feeds and fuels a yearning for achievement. However, this “spirit of success” is fragile and will exist within us for only so long as we allow it to exist. To maintain success we must nurture and keep alive the very élan that made our success possible. If we fail to do that, not only will the spirit that drove our success break down, but the success we have achieved will begin to slip away and that will be the real failure.

What it Takes to Survive Success

For those who have achieved success and want to sustain it, there are two mindsets to adopt that will help avoid losing the grip on success.

  • When we started out to be successful we had to do so in the face of potential of failure. If we had been afraid to lose we would have never played the game. We moved forward because we overcame the fear of failure. The same dynamic can impact us in a negative way once success is attained, because we will begin to lose our success when we begin to be afraid to lose.
  • We have the potential to sustain – even enhance – our success so long as we are never content with the success that has been won.

Look at it this way. If the only objective is to avoid failure, this attitude may actually induce failure since it seeks only to maintain the status quo of the success already attained. The only option for sustaining the success we have achieved is a constant, concentrated, passionate quest to challenge complacency and strive for more success. The commitment to win even more success with refreshed dedication, rather than posturing to preserve, is the best antidote for the complacency that can often be triggered by success.

The chief reason people stop learning is the assumption that they know all there is to know; the chief threat to sustaining success is the assumption that one has done all that can be done. Success begets success when we never accept the status quo of success – especially our own.

Getting There From Here

In the end, those who have the best chance to sustain success are those who see success as something to build on – not rest on. Success becomes a nagging voice in the back of their mind that reminds them how difficult it was to achieve and how much will be lost unless they continue to do the things that will allow them to come out on top again and again in the future. The truth is that if we do not view the success we have achieved as a steppingstone to future success, it can become our tombstone of failure.

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Consummate Entrepreneur Bob MacDonald on Pioneering Success http://entre180.com/entrepreneurs/entrepreneur-interview-bob-macdonald/ http://entre180.com/entrepreneurs/entrepreneur-interview-bob-macdonald/#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 18:58:48 +0000 http://entrepreneurial180.com/?p=410 Bob MacDonald, founder of LifeUSA Insurance and retired CEO of Allianz Life, N.A., regularly blogs with timely, hard-hitting comments on almost every business subject from entrepreneurism to better management, smart business leadership, government and politics, and of course, the life insurance industry.   In the following interview, Mr. MacDonald provides an in-depth and insightful perspective […]

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Bob MacDonald, founder of LifeUSA Insurance and retired CEO of Allianz Life, N.A., regularly blogs with timely, hard-hitting comments on almost every business subject from entrepreneurism to better management, smart business leadership, government and politics, and of course, the life insurance industry.   In the following interview, Mr. MacDonald provides an in-depth and insightful perspective on achieving success as an entrepreneur.

What was the impetus for you to give up an already successful career in the corporate world to become and entrepreneur?

The most powerful motivator pushing me to become an entrepreneur was the desire to control my own future. For the vast majority of us, no matter how high we may rise in the corporate world, we are never really in control of our future. There are always those above us (sometimes people we don’t even know) who retain the power over our future. Being an entrepreneur is the only opportunity individuals will ever have to really take control of their future. Many see becoming an entrepreneur as taking a huge risk, but for me an even greater risk was continuing to allow others to control my future.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?

From my perspective there are three fundamental considerations: 1) Have they identified a need not currently being met in the market? 2) Have they developed a realistic, workable plan to meet an identified need? 3) Do they have a clear way to differentiate their efforts and offering from the competition?

Unless and until a prospective entrepreneur can honestly address and resolve these issues, they should tread lightly, but once they have, it gives them the best chance to be a successful entrepreneur.

What did you under-estimate and over-estimate when it came to the challenges of starting your own business?

Good question. The first thing is that budding entrepreneurs (as I was) are overly optimistic and positive that they have a great idea that will create amazing success. They are convinced people will recognize this great product or service and flock to it. If they didn’t feel that way, they should not be an entrepreneur. As a result, there is a natural tendency to over-estimate the ease of achieving success and under-estimate the time it will take to be successful.  

Passionately believing we were offering superior product and services, I under-estimated the difficulty convincing the customer and sales people to do business with our company; especially considering we were a new company competing against large well-established companies in our industry. At the same time, I over-estimated my ability to convince those who were skeptical about our products and the longevity of our company to do business with us.

What I learned as a new entrepreneur was that no matter how passionate I was about our products and services, people, even if they were unhappy with what they were receiving from other companies, are reluctant to change. Most people are hesitant to be the first to try something new. When building a new company, the entrepreneur must overcome the natural reluctance people have to change and the only way to do that is to persistently work to add one customer at a time, building a momentum that will encourage others to follow. The problem is that this is more difficult than many anticipate and it takes more time than new entrepreneurs realize.

Did you discover any shortcuts to success as an entrepreneur?

Yes I did and it was very helpful. What I discovered is that more effort is wasted searching for shortcuts to success than the time spent achieving it. What many new entrepreneurs need to recognize is that the real shortcut to success is to do more, not less.

There is one thing that can be very helpful to a new entrepreneur and that is to find and bond with a mentor. Someone who has been there and done that; one who has already been successful as an entrepreneur. Finding this type of person was very helpful for me, not so much because he told me what to do, but because he offered great advice on what not to do. That was the best shortcut of all.

What is the biggest risk an entrepreneur faces?

The biggest risk for any budding entrepreneur is not the risk that their enterprise will fail, but that they will fail to understand the difference between a dream of success and a vision of success. In essence, a dream is something we hope will happen (like winning the lottery) but have no control over achieving. While a vision is something that can be made to happen. The key for the entrepreneur is to know the difference.

Also, to increase the chances for success, the entrepreneur must understand the difference between a “risk” and a “gamble.” Overcoming risk leads to success, while taking a gamble invariably leads to failure. The nature of a risk is that while the outcome is uncertain, it can be managed and mitigated by specific actions. On the other hand, the outcome of a gamble is also uncertain, but there is no (legal) way to influence or control the outcome.

The entrepreneur must recognize that what separates winners from losers is not the elimination of risk — which is not possible – but it is the ability to understand, manage and mitigate risk. If the entrepreneur does not understand the risks and has no plans to diminish them, they become a gamble and that is the riskiest approach of all.

What are the three most important things that will enhance the entrepreneur’s chances for success?

Having intimate knowledge and experience in the industry the entrepreneur seeks to compete in gives them a big advantage. Building a new company is enough of a challenge itself, but attempting to do so without experience in the industry creates a learning-curve that can easily overwhelm the entire effort.

Offering a new approach to an industry that is being pressured by change is a big advantage for a new venture. The initial reaction to change forced on established companies is to resist that change. Most are satisfied with the status quo and concentrate on protecting it. This creates an opportunity for a new venture to respond to change with new ideas or innovations; without having to compete directly against the established companies. Remember, in times of stability, the established companies will always win, but in times of volatility and change, it is the creative and innovative company that wins.

The entrepreneur who has a clear vision of what the future of the industry and their company will look like has a big advantage. I like to call it “reminiscing about the future.” Everyone has the ability to do that, but few make the effort. Reminiscing about the future is not predicting the future, rather it is developing a vision that paints a picture of the future others can understand and work to achieve. And that almost always assures success for the entrepreneur.

For example, when I founded LifeUSA (a start-up life insurance company) I had over 20 years of experience in the industry. Entering as a sales agent and moving up the ladder to company CEO, I had intimate knowledge of the insurance industry and knew all that was right and wrong with the industry.

When LifeUSA was founded, the insurance industry was entering a period of tumultuous change. Industry growth had begun to slow as the business model and products had become obsolete. Rather than embrace change, the industry fought it and adopted a “get back to the basics” defense. This created an opportunity for LifeUSA to enter the industry as a start-up company without having to compete directly against the established giants.

The life insurance industry grew large and profitable by offering products that “protected against the economic cost of dying too young,” but times were changing and the consumer became more concerned with “living too long,” rather than “dying too soon.” At LifeUSA we had the vision to responds to those changes by building a company that offered products that “protected against the economic cost of living too long.”

Is there anything else that can increase the chance of success for an entrepreneur?

When the entrepreneur understands that without their vision, ideas and willingness to take a risk there would be no opportunity for success, but that success cannot be attained by their efforts alone, the chance for success increases. The entrepreneur creates the opportunity for success, but success itself is created by those who buy into the entrepreneur’s vision and offer their efforts and talent to make it happen.

The entrepreneur who crafts a business culture of what I call “parallel interests” significantly increases the potential for success. Parallel interests means aligning the interests of the all to achieving the same goal. The best way to do that is for the entrepreneur to allow those who buy into the vision and contribute their efforts to help bring it about, to share equitably in that success. I have a philosophy and a belief: Those who have the ability to add value to an organization will be motivated to do so, if they are allowed to share in the value created. It is a simple concept that no one wins unless everyone wins. The entrepreneur who adopts and commits to this philosophy of parallel interests significantly increases their chances of success.

There are numerous ways to build a culture of “parallel interests,” but let me give you one example. From the start, everyone who joined LifeUSA became an entrepreneur. This was accomplished by requiring everyone who came to work at LifeUSA to take 10 percent of their pay to buy stock in the company. This was the same class of stock owned by me and the other founders and was at the same cost. In reality, LifeUSA did not have employees, we had owners. And these owners were respected and treated as owners. That meant that everyone working with LifeUSA was just as committed to the success of the company as I was, because they would share in the success of the company, just as I would. I could not benefit, unless everyone benefited. In essence, over time, there were hundreds of people working hard to make me successful, because that would be their success as well.

Any final thoughts?

A lot of people dream of taking control of their future by becoming an entrepreneur. Unfortunately many fail to follow though because they fear failure more than they desire success. They fail to understand that the costs of failure as an entrepreneur are significantly less than the benefits of success. Others blindly follow the mirage of a dream, rather than a clear vision backed by realistic plans, and find themselves drowning in failure.

My encouragement and advice to any would-be entrepreneur is simple: If you understand and are willing to accept the risk of being an entrepreneur; if you have identified a need not currently being met in the market; if you have created a solid, workable solution to the identified need; if you can differentiate your efforts from the competition and if you are intent on enlisting those who can add value to your efforts by offering them a personal stake in your success, then go for it.

If you desire to control your future as an entrepreneur and you have covered the bases that lead to success, success cannot be guaranteed, but if you fail to act, failure is guaranteed.

 

Mr. MacDonald has enjoyed a remarkable 40-year career in the financial services industry. He entered the field in 1965 as an agent for New England Mutual Life in Los Angeles, and retired in 2002 as CEO of Allianz Life of North America and as its chairman in late 2003.

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Be Surprised if You Win the Lottery—But Not by Your Success http://entre180.com/success/surprised-win-lottery-not-success/ http://entre180.com/success/surprised-win-lottery-not-success/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 14:32:52 +0000 http://entrepreneurial180.com/?p=403 IF YOUR SUCCESS COMES AS A SURPRISE TO YOU, IT MEANS YOU WERE LUCKY, NOT GOOD. Success is the anticipated reward for hard work and commitment to achieving an objective, but many are convinced – or at least want to be – that success is the result of chance rather than choice. Those who fail […]

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IF YOUR SUCCESS COMES AS A SURPRISE TO YOU, IT MEANS YOU WERE LUCKY, NOT GOOD.

Success is the anticipated reward for hard work and commitment to achieving an objective, but many are convinced – or at least want to be – that success is the result of chance rather than choice. Those who fail to achieve success often account for their failure by rationalizing that the success of others is due to a “lucky break.” They equate the random luck of winning the lottery with how most people win success. In their mind, failure to be successful is not their fault; they just were not as lucky as those who are successful.

Likewise, there is an intriguing reaction to success that comes from some of those who achieve it. Some see success as if it is the end of the road, when it is really only a sign that they are on the right road. Others reach a certain level of success and then begin to concentrate on enjoying the material rewards. They don’t understand that real success is determined by what is achieved, not what is received. And then there are those who, once they attain success, forget what it took to get there, and begin to act as if its continuance is preordained.

These attitudes about success contribute to the reality that more people rebound from failure than survive success. What many fail to grasp is that, as difficult as it may be to attain success, it is even more challenging to retain it. That’s because success has a way of cooling the passion and blunting the drive to achieve it.

Some Are Consistently More “Lucky” Than Others

Folklore supports the “lucky break” justification for failure by often highlighting the “overnight success” that is seemingly arbitrarily bestowed on the chosen few; it’s as if they had no part in the success —they just got lucky. Yet, when you go behind the scenes, you discover there is much more to the achievement. While there may have been a dollop of luck to be in the right place at the right time, the truth is that these individuals had toiled for years learning their craft and preparing themselves to be in the right place at the right time to achieve success. That instant success may be a surprise to others, but not to them.

In 1942, a middle-aged colonel, who had spent 27 years in the Army, but not one minute in battle, was selected over nearly 400 senior officers to lead U.S. forces in the war against Germany. (His immediate promotion to four-star general was the single biggest jump in rank in the history of the Army.) To say there was an army of naysayers carping about this decision would be an understatement. Those officers who were passed over and did not get the job claimed he was just lucky to have caught the eye of the Army and political leaders in Washington. The reality is that this obscure colonel had spent 27 years in the Army developing an intimate knowledge of military strategy and honing a remarkable talent for organizational ability and consensus-building. This “lucky guy” went on to serve as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and after the war was elected to serve two terms as President of the United States.

When Dwight Eisenhower was once asked how he was able to emerge from almost 30 years of obscurity in the Army to, almost instantly, become one of the towering figures of the 20th century, he remarked, “I knew that eventually opportunity would come my way and worked hard to be prepared when it did.” Eisenhower was probably the least surprised by his success, because he made himself the most prepared to be successful.

And that’s the point. If we win the lottery, we should be surprised, because we had no control over the outcome. Winning a lottery is a random happening that is not likely to be repeated. But we should never be surprised by our success, because we can plan and control the outcome. If we are surprised by our success, it means we did not plan for it. And if that’s the case, the chances are that our success will be a random event that is not likely to be sustained. If Eisenhower had not been prepared when opportunity came his way, no amount of luck would have allowed him to be successful.

It is certainly not on the level of an Eisenhower, but in my own career I have experienced firsthand the “just lucky” attitude about success.

When the company I helped found – Life USA – overcame high odds and the multitudes of skeptics to become the success story of the life insurance industry, I lost count of the number of people who came up to me and asked, “Aren’t you surprised by the success of LifeUSA?” My answer was always the same, “No! My only surprise is that it did not happen sooner.”

For many, my response may have seemed arrogant, but only because most people are surprised when they see others become successful. That’s because they see success as a random happenstance and that others were lucky to be in the way when it came by. The doubters assume that those who attain success must be surprised by it, because they certainly would be.

And yet, isn’t it interesting that these same individuals are not surprised – and maybe in a perverse way are happy – when they see failure? The failure of others gives many a place to hide from their own failure. The point is that when you prepare to be successful – rather than just hope for it – you are more likely to achieve it. And when you do achieve it, you are not surprised; nor should you be.

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Business Mavericks – Demented, Dysfunctional and Indispensable http://entre180.com/success/business-mavericks-are-indispensable/ http://entre180.com/success/business-mavericks-are-indispensable/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 23:59:29 +0000 http://entrepreneurial180.com/?p=390 BUSINESS MAVERICKS CAN DRIVE YOU CRAZY, BUT THEY ALSO DRIVE SUCCESS IN ANY ORGANIZATION. We all know the great modern-day entrepreneurial business mavericks such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Fred Smith (FedEx) Richard Branson (Virgin) and Bill Gates (Microsoft), but there are other business mavericks who toil unknown and often unappreciated in companies all across America. […]

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BUSINESS MAVERICKS CAN DRIVE YOU CRAZY, BUT THEY ALSO DRIVE SUCCESS IN ANY ORGANIZATION.

We all know the great modern-day entrepreneurial business mavericks such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Fred Smith (FedEx) Richard Branson (Virgin) and Bill Gates (Microsoft), but there are other business mavericks who toil unknown and often unappreciated in companies all across America. These unknown mavericks perform one very important function: They fight the urge of many in business to “stand-pat” with what has already been accomplished.

Despite resistance from those they try to help, these business mavericks are often the difference between success and failure of the company they work for. These are mavericks who, rather than create their own organization, make the organization they work in better because they refuse to be stifled by the organization.

What is amazing is that these business mavericks persist in a culture that values uniformity over uniqueness. Those in the business world who are content with the present see the maverick as a threat and respond by depicting these independent-minded individuals as malcontents. Thus the corporate business maverick is often treated as an outcast, filled with ridicule, rejection, recrimination and aloneness.

Yet, they stubbornly persist. There is something in their DNA that will not allow them to go along to get along. And whether they recognize it or not, the companies these mavericks work for are better because of them.

Sure, the vicissitudes of the corporate maverick can cause them to be an irritant, difficult to control and obstreperous. But instead of scorning them, businesses should encourage and regale the maverick within its ranks, because they drive change and innovation when it is most often needed, but goes unrecognized.

Sadly, change and innovation are often viewed as unwelcome visitors to those set in their ways and comfortable with the status quo. Nevertheless, the maverick plays a vital role in any organization, even if it is only to make others uncomfortable with the way things are.

Maverick Under the Microscope

A willingness to be out front and alone can be fun and even rewarding for the maverick. Certainly more fun than screwing the screw the same way everyone else does. But it does demand a particular psyche and different genetic makeup to be a maverick. Here’s what to look for.

For starters, mavericks have relentless curiosity. Have you noticed that in most corporate cultures, people may ask “how,” but rarely do they ask “why?” The maverick is rarely concerned about how things are done, but always want to know why they are being done. They are not willing to accept what has been for what could be.

The maverick has a compelling drive to look at the world through a kaleidoscope, rather than a microscope. This translates into an openness to try new things and do old things in new ways. Mavericks by nature question and challenge established procedures and mores. They at least want to explore new ideas and test their value.

But even that is not enough for the maverick. They know that thinking about a new idea is just a start; it needs nurturing and support. They understand the true value of an idea resides in its implementation. That is why the maverick is often irritatingly incessant in pushing for the exploration and testing of new ideas. As management expert Peter Drucker wrote, “Ideas are cheap and abundant. What is of value is the effective placement of these ideas into situations that develop into action.” Doing so is a key value of the maverick.

Despite often being ostracized by the keepers of the status quo, the maverick is not always a loner. In fact, by encouraging and exciting others to be more open in their thinking and acting, they can become true leaders. Most mavericks don’t put up with the heat of being different for their own benefit; they want things better for everyone.

Why Not More Mavericks?

If mavericks are so important to progress, why are there not more of them? After all, on the surface, being a maverick doesn’t require any special skills. You don’t have to have an MBA from an Ivy League school (actually that is probably more hindrance than help) or any other specialized training. The answer? We’ve got a defensive mechanism that learns early on to suppress the maverick mentality within us.

This mechanism to accept and conform starts at a young age. Children commonly exhibit the maverick’s inclination to question why things are done the way they are. As soon as children begin to talk they incessantly ask the irritating question, “Why?” And most often parents answer with, “Because that’s the way it is.” Schools only exacerbate the pressure on nascent mavericks. The educational system is based upon the pedagogy of answering questions, not asking them. Students are rewarded for the proper rote playback of answers, not for the ability to question the reasons for the answers or the assumptions behind the questions. The pressure is to “go along to get along.” Not surprisingly, most buckle under the pressure. By the time the student escapes the educational system and enters the business world, any tendency to think or act like a maverick has been exorcised as if it were a troublesome evil spirit.

And the Moral of the Story …

In the business world the connotation of a “maverick” is a negative one. To be a maverick is to be chastised as not being a “team player” and portrayed as a malcontent who is never happy with the way things are. In most corporate cultures the maverick must accept the enmity of the leadership because they are seen more as a threat to the present than a catalyst for the future. What is so sadly ironic in this situation is that the organizations most in need of the value that a maverick can bring are the ones most opposed to accepting a maverick in their presence.

The life of a maverick in the typical business environment is not easy, but it is a lot more fun and exciting than simply going along to get along. What is most rewarding for the maverick is when those who were most opposed to their ideas begin to copy and adopt them as is they were their own.

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Perseverance is the Secret to Success http://entre180.com/success/perseverance-is-the-secret-to-success/ http://entre180.com/success/perseverance-is-the-secret-to-success/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 23:29:12 +0000 http://entrepreneurial180.com/?p=379 THOSE WHO ACHIEVE SUCCESS HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON – THEY HAVE THE ATTITUDE THAT IT IS BETTER TO FAIL THAN TO GIVE UP AND QUIT. There is an interesting dynamic that occurs when someone proposes a new idea, a concept for a better way of doing things or a plan for a new business […]

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from “If You’re Not Making History, You Are History” by Bob MacDonald

THOSE WHO ACHIEVE SUCCESS HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON – THEY HAVE THE ATTITUDE THAT IT IS BETTER TO FAIL THAN TO GIVE UP AND QUIT.

There is an interesting dynamic that occurs when someone proposes a new idea, a concept for a better way of doing things or a plan for a new business venture. The nearly universal reaction to any of these proposals is negative. Everyone seems to be at the ready to offer all the reasons why the new idea, process or business venture is wrong or will fail. This type of negative reaction to something new or different can dampen the spirits of even the most optimistic person. But it is how the individual reacts to this negative environment that either kills the proposal or brings it to life.

There are a number of reasons why many people tend to be negative toward new ideas or concepts. First off, since they didn’t think of the new idea, they may not understand it. Often, they fail to recognize the need for something new. And if things seem to be working well, why would you want to change them? Lastly, many believe that since the vast majority of new businesses will fail anyway, why take the risk to do something that is likely to fail?

Those who are successful and make history in this type of negative environment are those who don’t give up—they persevere. And it’s not just that they keep trying to be successful, it’s that they can’t stop trying to succeed. They become oblivious to the negativity and press on until there is nothing more that can be done and they either succeed or fail. Their mentality is that it is better to fail than it is to give up and quit. They passionately believe that success is out there to be captured and if they have not found it yet, it is because they have not been looking in the right place, so they just keep looking.

The list of well-known individuals whose early careers were filled with rejection and failure, but simply persevered until they became successful is long and enlightening. Einstein, Henry Ford, Harland “Colonel” Sanders, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and scores of others are all people we equate with exceptional success and even though their triumphs were in different fields, they all had one thing in common – they persevered against rejection and failure.

The quintessential example of perseverance was arguably Thomas Edison. Early life failures for Edison were legendary. Expelled from virtually every school he attended for being “unteachable,” Edison went on to be fired from almost every job he ever held. But Edison had one passion – inventing. No matter how many rejections received or failures experienced, he was never discouraged or dissuaded from seeking the next invention. In the end, Edison was granted more patents – 1093 – than any other individual. Not all these were memorable, but when you take into account that some of them included the light bulb, the alkaline battery, the electrical grid and the phonograph, it shows what perseverance can lead to.

The ability to persevere not only depends on the ability to put up with a negative environment for an extended period of time, but also the ability to educate and convert others to the new ideas.

When I joined with a small group to start a new life insurance company – LifeUSA – there was an abundance of naysayers. Not only was there near-unanimous negativity to the very idea of starting a new life insurance company, there was even more vociferous rejection of the LifeUSA concept of employee and agent ownership, the focus on annuity products to reward people for living, rather than dying, and the idea of competing against rather than with other insurance companies.

The founders of LifeUSA lived in a negative world from the get-go. Yet we believed in our ideas and persevered. To be successful required us to win over others with the idea that there was opportunity for a new life insurance company. We had to convince others that taking ownership in a new company was better than taking a job with an old company. Agents used to selling the old products had to be persuaded that the new products were better than the old and then taught how to sell them. These were not easy tasks and efforts to do so were constantly greeted with a pessimistic reaction. But we persevered. We did so by adopting a very simple attitude toward rejection. When our ideas were presented and then rejected, we simply said, “Next.” We firmly believed that if we kept moving forward presenting our ideas to the next person, we would ultimately prevail. We were so convinced that our ideas were right and the old ideas were wrong, we could not be deterred by negativity. And in the end, our perseverance was rewarded.

Perseverance Does More Than Help You Succeed

When you are willing to preserve in the headwind of negativity it focuses your mind on the goal even more and provides a type of perverse drive that increases your motivation to prove that others are wrong. When those you have enlisted in your effort to be successful see that no matter how difficult and negative the times may be that you won’t quit and persevere till the end, it builds trust and respect that motivates them to persevere as well. When you have the will to persevere – even to the very end – it reinforces your focus on the goal and helps you understand that success will be determined by what you do, not what others say.

The lesson is simple: Success does not come easily, but it will not come at all unless you are willing to preserve in your desire and effort to find it.

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So You Want to be Your Own Boss? http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/be-your-own-boss/ http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/be-your-own-boss/#respond Mon, 06 Mar 2017 21:36:40 +0000 http://entrepreneurial180.com/?p=359 BEING YOUR OWN BOSS IS THE SUREST WAY TO FREEDOM, SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS; OR SO MANY LIKE TO BELIEVE. The yearning to be your own boss is as American as hating to be bossed around. Americans have always shared the attitude expressed in the classic 1960’s Anacin aspirin commercial, “Please MOTHER, I’d rather do it […]

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BEING YOUR OWN BOSS IS THE SUREST WAY TO FREEDOM, SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS; OR SO MANY LIKE TO BELIEVE.

The yearning to be your own boss is as American as hating to be bossed around. Americans have always shared the attitude expressed in the classic 1960’s Anacin aspirin commercial, “Please MOTHER, I’d rather do it myself!” How many of us have secretly dreamed of being able to stride into the boss’ office and blurt-out, “Take this job and shove it!” The very reason for the American Revolution was so we could tell our old boss – King George III – to take his colonialism and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Unfortunately, the nature of the modern-day bureaucratic corporation combined with the attitude of many bosses that they have to prove they are the boss by bossing people around, goes against our ingrained craving to be the boss of our future. It is the rule, rather than the exception, for individuals to find themselves trapped in a work environment created by a management that professes respect and promises “empowerment,” but then acts in a way that shows they couldn’t care less about the employee. Too many have worked diligently to prepare for a rewarding career, only to find themselves mired in a corporate culture where the only real objective of management is to maintain their perks and power and take care of themselves. How often are people caught up in the clutches of a boss who keeps all credit and distributes all blame?

As Your Sow, So Shall You Reap?

The greatest frustration of all is when people come to grips with the fact that their future job security and advancement does not depend on their own talent and effort, but rather, on the Peter Principle; where managers rise to the level of their incompetence. In this type of disheartening and dismal work environment, is it any wonder that when many workers drag themselves out of bed each morning and stumble into work the most positive thing they can mumble is, “This day is one day closer to the day I will never have to do this job again.”

Among the legions who are frustrated with a bad boss or a depressing work environment, there is a fantasy – second only to winning the Powerball jackpot – to become one’s own boss. Unfortunately for most, the odds against either coming to fruition are about the same. But that’s okay, despite the risks, the opportunity to “be your own boss” offers some tempting benefits. It’s like Mel Brooks famously said in the 1981 comedy classic History of the World, Part I, “It’s good to be king!” On the other hand, the benefits of being your own boss are sometimes not all they are cracked up to be; especially if you want to be your own boss for the wrong reasons.

It is thrilling to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur and be able to decide what, when, where and how you are going to do things, but if the motivation for this comes from negative experiences, rather than a positive passion to lead and create, the chances for success are minimal. And that’s a real problem: Too many people want to be their own boss, but that they want to be their own boss for the wrong reasons.

The Desire to be Top Dog

When someone is thinking about leaving a job to become their own boss, they should ask two questions: Am I doing this because I have a bad boss and hate where I work? Do I have the desire to be an entrepreneur because of a passion to right wrongs, change the way things are done or meet a need not being met?

For many, if they are honest with themselves, the truth is that the desire to “be their own boss” is driven by a palpable dislike for their boss or a yearning to escape an unhealthy work environment. That is certainly understandable, but if someone jumps into the entrepreneurial world out of desperation, rather than the conviction of their ideas, it can often be no better than jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Being your own boss as an entrepreneur has an alluringly romantic draw, but the truth is that it is not for everyone. Many can be happier and even more successful working in a good corporate environment. If this is the case, the best solution is often to simply change jobs or companies.

It is not unusual for someone who has been outsourced, downsized or simply overlooked by their employer to believe that becoming an entrepreneur is the best way to a more fulfilling future. It may be just the push that was needed to start them on the path to entrepreneurialism, but unless there was already a burning desire, along with well thought out ideas and plans to do so, it could easily result in a bad situation getting worse. You don’t become an entrepreneur because you have to, but because you want to. The potential for success is slim enough, but when someone becomes an entrepreneur out of desperation, then slim is joined by nil when it comes to the chance for of success.

When many contemplate becoming their own boss they tend to think of the benefits like freedom, happiness, success and wealth, rather than the vision, commitment, hard work and assumption of risk that will be required to have any chance to achieve success. The first lesson to learn when starting down the entrepreneurial path is that you are replacing one boss with another who, while not as demeaning, may be even more demanding of your time, effort and commitment. Of course the upside is that you get to be that boss and receive the potential rewards for the effort.

So if you really do want to be your own boss, what is the check-list to run through before you take off?

As incongruous as it may seem, the desire to be the boss should be the least of your priorities. You didn’t like having a boss, so what makes you think that those working for you want to have a boss?

Your first priority should be to determine if your desire to be an entrepreneur is being driven by the passion of a cause and is not just a placebo for your current discomforts.

  • You are more concerned with what you achieve than with what you receive.
  • You have a yearning to have the power to do things as you believe they should be done. You see wrongs and want to right them.
  • You recognize an unfulfilled opportunity and want to grasp it.
  • Your experience and knowledge forms a solid basis for justifying that what you want to do should be done.

Do you have the perspective to recognize the difference between a risk and a gamble? Is there a need that is not being met? Are there changes taking place in your target market that are not being recognized or responded to? You see what is being done and are convinced you have a way to do it better. Your plan is not to do what others are doing, but to do what they can’t or won’t do. You want to be the boss so you can treat others the way you wanted to be treated by your boss, but never were. You have a vision to see the way things should be and have the power to communicate and motivate others to adopt your vision as theirs. You are eager to share the rewards of success with those who help you achieve it.

And most important of all, you have a willingness to do for others what, as a former employee, was not done for you. At the crux of this philosophy is the confidence, respect and trust you have in others that is demonstrated by allowing them to be their own boss when you ask them to do what you want them to do. The best chance at being successful as your own boss is to allow those who work for you to be your boss.

And the Moral of the Story …

The desire to be your own boss is a wonderful aspiration. It promises the joys and benefits of freedom, reward for effort, happiness and most important of all the potential for you to control your own future. However, none of these benefits are going to be available unless the decision to be your own boss is made for the right reasons. The reason to become an entrepreneur is for what you will achieve, not what you will receive. The path to successful entrepreneurialism is inspiration, not the desperation of frustration.

When you have the passion to create and lead you have the critical building blocks to be an entrepreneur. There is no guarantee of success, but when you want to be your own boss for the right reasons, you have opportunity to be the best boss you ever had.

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Successful Entrepreneurs Understand That Taking a Risk is Not a Gamble http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/successful-entrepreneurs-understand-taking-risk-not-gamble/ http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/successful-entrepreneurs-understand-taking-risk-not-gamble/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:55:08 +0000 http://www.ddtest1.com/?p=312 SUCCESS IS NOT ATTAINED BY GAMBLING WITH THE FUTURE, BUT BY EFFECTIVELY MITIGATING RISK. There are very few of us who have not, at one time or another, been intrigued with the idea of owning and operating a business of your own. While multiple triggers generate the desire to be an entrepreneur, they all boil down […]

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SUCCESS IS NOT ATTAINED BY GAMBLING WITH THE FUTURE, BUT BY EFFECTIVELY MITIGATING RISK.

There are very few of us who have not, at one time or another, been intrigued with the idea of owning and operating a business of your own. While multiple triggers generate the desire to be an entrepreneur, they all boil down to one basic yearning:  to be in control of our own future. As simple as that sounds, it shouldn’t surprise you that surprising that the vast majority fails to act on their entrepreneurial dream out of fear of taking risk.

Risk is the 600-pound gorilla in any success equation. Risk permeates the effort to be successful like garlic in an Italian restaurant. Risk both discourages and encourages. Risk paralyzes many while empowering others. Risk exposes cowards, heroes, fools and fortune hunters all at the same time. Some see risk as akin to swimming with hungry sharks, while others challenge risk like a lion tamer in a cage. The reality is that there can’t be a discussion about being successful – as either an entrepreneur or in one’s personal career – without considering the influence and impact of risk.

But there is some good news: Risk is overrated.

The reason risk is over-hyped is because most people equate taking a risk with taking a gamble. The truth is that risk and gamble are antonyms not synonyms. Risk does have an uncertain outcome, but that uncertainty can be mitigated and the outcome managed. On the other hand, a gamble has an unknown outcome that is impervious to outside influence.

Accordingly, in the context of achieving success it is important to differentiate between an outcome that is uncertain and an outcome that is unknown. It is the inability to comprehend the differences between a risk and a gamble that causes some to gamble with their future, while paralyzing others to face the risk to be successful.

There is irony in the fear of risk-taking because what causes a person to stand pat in the status quo of a career that seems to offer the security of certainty may be the biggest gamble of all. The truth is that when you are not in control of your own future, that future is not just uncertain, it is unknown.

Been There Done That

When I resigned my position as president of ITT Life (a subsidiary of The Hartford Insurance Co.) to lead a group in stating LifeUSA, the question most often asked of me by friends and family was, “Why would you abandon the certainty of a good job and steady paycheck and take on the risk of starting a new company?”

To my way of thinking, there was risk in walking away to start a new company, but that risk could be mitigated by changes taking place in the insurance industry, my experience and talent; not to mention the extraordinary talent of those who joined with me. From my perspective, the real risk would have been to continue to work in the bureaucratic environment that was Hartford. To stay at ITT Life under the aegis of Hartford would have been a true gamble because I knew that I was not in control of my future and could not have survived in that type of stultifying environment. That, and I would have been unhappy until the day I was fired. So my options were to take the real gamble of doing nothing and letting bureaucrats control my future or to take a risk I knew could be managed that offered both the psychic and material rewards of risk-taking.

Keeping a Risk and a Gamble in Perspective

Leaving the insurance industry to start an airline would have been a gamble, but using my experience and knowledge of the insurance industry to start a new insurance company was a risk well worth taking. Certainly there was the uncertainty that comes with starting any new company, but the outcome could be influenced by how well I managed that risk.

The secret to success is to be able to identify a risk that can be managed and staying away from a gamble that puts you at the mercy of an outcome you can’t control.

It’s a little bit like BASE jumping that it is still a risk for those who know what they are doing, but it is a pure gamble for those who attempt it without understanding how the manage the risks. The difference between a risk and a gamble all boils down to the person’s experience and ability to manage the risks. Every time a cardiologist performs heart surgery there is a risk of failure, but it’s the doctor’s knowledge, experience and training that reduces the risk to acceptable levels.

In the end, finding success as an entrepreneur – be it someone starting a new company or managing the department of a large company – turns on one’s ability to identify the difference between a risk that can be mitigated and a gamble that is immune to control. The successful entrepreneur eschews gambling (at least when it comes to business affairs) and attacks risk with the vengeance of a mongoose staring down a cobra until it has been beaten down to manageable levels.

The successful entrepreneur does not move forward until the risk has been fully defined and mitigated by sound, experienced analysis to the point that the potential for failure is insignificant compared to the potential for success and reward. And that is not a gamble.

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Passion and Fear are to Entrepreneurial Success What Air and Water is to Life Itself http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/passion-fear-entrepreneurial-success/ http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/passion-fear-entrepreneurial-success/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:54:51 +0000 http://www.ddtest1.com/?p=332 THE LONGING FOR SUCCESS WILL KEEP YOUR DREAM ALIVE, BUT LIKE A RESPIRATOR – IT ONLY ALLOWS YOU TO HANG ON. If you think about it, despite all the high-minded philosophical rhetoric, the driving force for the American Revolution boiled down to a very simple concept – Americans wanted to “be their own boss.” And […]

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THE LONGING FOR SUCCESS WILL KEEP YOUR DREAM ALIVE, BUT LIKE A RESPIRATOR – IT ONLY ALLOWS YOU TO HANG ON.

If you think about it, despite all the high-minded philosophical rhetoric, the driving force for the American Revolution boiled down to a very simple concept – Americans wanted to “be their own boss.” And they were willing to do what it took to achieve that end.

This notion of America becoming independent of the British Empire did not just pop up in 1776; the very idea of gaining the freedom to be in control of their own future was the motivation for colonists to come to America in the first place. The desire for a new country that would be free to “be its own boss” had been a dream of Americans for over two centuries. But it was not until after Patrick Henry expressed the passion of “Give me liberty or give me death,” that Americans rose up to realize that dream.

The yearning to be an entrepreneur in order to “be your own boss” is an American dream that has persisted for over 200 years. It would be difficult to find anyone, who at some time in their life, has not dreamed of being an entrepreneur and their own boss. For most, this dream is visualized in the form of starting their own business. It really makes no difference the size of that company; it can be anything from a car repair shop to a car factory, the impetus to be one’s own boss is the same. The perceived incentive for becoming your own boss is a deep sense of the freedom to decide your own future, unencumbered by the restraints of others. What could be more appealing than that?

Unfortunately for most, the dream of being their own boss is like dangling the carrot on a stick in front of a mule harnessed to a wagon. It’s right there encouraging them to plod forward, but the carrot always remains just out of reach; they never get close enough to take a bite. Often this failure to move ahead is not caused by a lack of desire or opportunity, but more a lack of true passion and fear that causes the dreams of so many to be their own boss to go “poof.” Instead they just keep pulling the wagon forward for others.

Where’s the Passion?

I can’t count the number of individuals who have come to me with dreams of entrepreneurial success and the desire to be their own boss. Some are still in the phase of “thinking” about making the leap, while others have already jumped. All have what they believe to be great ideas and plans for their success. Sure, some are just beguiled by the chance to be their own boss, but still they have specific plans and ideas.

As I listen to their presentations there is one thing I always look for and unfortunately rarely find. What is often missing from their dream is a deep-seated visceral passion for their vision. They lack the passion that causes them to simply have to do something, not just a want to do something. People may have an idea or goal and want to achieve it, but it is passion that makes them do it. Passion is the powerful motivator that not only fuels action, it steels the would-be entrepreneurial boss with the resolve to move forward, meet the challenges and overcome the risks to achieve their goal. It is true that passion can blind one to reality, but I would take “passion” over “want” anytime. Even if passion leads to failure, at least you know you attempted to do what needed to be done.

Many may want to be their own boss as an entrepreneur, but few have the passion it takes to initiate the action to do so or the resolve needed to see it through. I have known individuals who have complained for years about being unhappy and unfulfilled in their current situation. They may even have great plans for moving forward, but they are filled with more wants than passion, and so they keep plodding along chasing that elusive carrot. I have known others who were driven only by passion – lacking realistic ideas and plans – who may have failed, but they were still happier than the carrot-chaser, because at least they tried. (Who can really determine if a passionate person’s ideas are realistic? Was my passion to start a new life insurance company – LifeUSA – in an industry dominated by established giants, realistic?)

It may not be possible to see passion – it does not lend itself to detailed business plans – but you know it when you have it, because it is a feeling that keeps you focused, determined and driving toward a goal no matter what roadblocks are in the path. Without passion, there is little chance you will ever get what you want, because you may never try. With passion propelling you forward, at least you have a chance.

Fear is not what Should be Feared

One of the roadblocks faced by many who want to become their own boss is the fear of failure. They become frozen by the question: If I give up what I have for what I want, what will happen if I fail? This apprehension causes many to continue to dream of being their own boss, but they are forever paralyzed to act. The problem is that they are asking the wrong question. The real question should be: What will happen if I fail to even try to act on the desire to be my own boss?

Fear is as powerful an emotion as passion. Fear is either bad in that it cripples the ability to take action or it can be good in that it motivates action. Fear of trying and failing is threatening and can prevent acting on a dream, but the fear of what will happen if you don’t even try, can be a motivator to take action.

Many are prompted to take action to be their own boss out of fear that if they don’t, others will continue to control their future and failure will be guaranteed. Nothing can be quite as fearsome and demoralizing as looking back on life and thinking, “I should have at least tried.”

In the end, being an entrepreneur and your own boss comes down to having an unquenchable passion to do what you know you should do and the fear that if you don’t act, you will end up feeling more of a failure than if you had tried and failed. Trying and failing is one thing, but not having the passion to act and the fear of not trying is an even greater failure.

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What Knack do Entrepreneurs have that Others Do Not? http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/what-knack-do-entrepreneurs-have-that-others-do-not/ http://entre180.com/entrepreneurship/what-knack-do-entrepreneurs-have-that-others-do-not/#respond Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:01:24 +0000 http://www.ddtest1.com/?p=323 REBELLION AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF THE STATUS QUO CAUSES AN ALLEGIANCE TO CHANGE; AND THAT’S WHAT SEPARATES WINNERS FROM WANNABES. It is a given that individuals who choose the path of entrepreneurism as a way to make their mark or fortune are by nature optimists. Have you ever met an entrepreneur who is not at […]

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REBELLION AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF THE STATUS QUO CAUSES AN ALLEGIANCE TO CHANGE; AND THAT’S WHAT SEPARATES WINNERS FROM WANNABES.

It is a given that individuals who choose the path of entrepreneurism as a way to make their mark or fortune are by nature optimists. Have you ever met an entrepreneur who is not at the core a “glass-half-full” person? Sure, entrepreneurs may mumble and grumble about all the obstacles, problems and challenges they face, but when pressed, they believe deeply that – against all odds – they will be successful. It has to be that way, because the shelf-life of a pessimistic entrepreneur is less than ice cream on a hot griddle.

Unfortunately, optimism by itself is not enough to assure success. It’s only part of the answer. Optimism steeps one in the belief that answers are out there to be found. On the other hand, unbridled irrational optimism can be as deleterious to success as pervasive pessimism. Still, without the suspension of doubt – which is what optimism really is – no entrepreneur can be successful. It is just that it takes more than simple optimism to be successful as an entrepreneur; or leader, for that matter.

The Importance of a High IQ

To make a mark as an entrepreneur or effective leader (both often share the same philosophical mentality) requires a certain level of IQ. But we’re not talking about the customary measurement of Intelligence Quotient here, because I’ve had personal experiences with a number of accomplished entrepreneurs and leaders who seemed to have the IQ of a goldfish. No, for this discussion, IQ refers to what would be called Inquisitive Quotient.

In simple terms, the successful entrepreneur is an individual who has never grown out of the naturally inquisitive nature of a child. Remember the movie “Big” in which Tom Hanks played a young boy – Josh Baskin – who had a wish to be “big” and became a boy in a man’s body working for a toy company? Josh’s naturally questioning nature innocently challenged the status quo thinking of the “adults” and was met with constant skepticism, but in the end, caused the company to change for the better.

Entrepreneurs with a high IQ are the Josh Baskins of the real world. They are forever asking questions that start with: Why? When told something can’t be done – “Why not?” When chastised with “we’ve always done it this way,” they ask, “Why isn’t there a better way?” When told that “everyone does it that way,” they wonder “ Why?” When warned that their ideas will not work – “Why not?”

Entrepreneurs see the status quo as a tyrant to innovation and creativity; a tyranny of oppressive conformity. The entrepreneur is in constant rebellion against the status quo and has pledged allegiance to change. They don’t accept the answer to what is known or seek to do what has already been done; rather they strive for the answer to what is not known or search for ways to do what has not been done. What this means is that successful entrepreneurs and effective leaders are inquisitive optimists. They have the curiosity to discover what has not been done and the optimism to ask: Why not?

The mindset of the successful entrepreneur is the personification of the George Bernard Shaw line: “Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream of things the way they never were and say, why not.” (The line was made famous in Ted Kennedy’s eulogy of his brother Bobby.) This is not an on-again, off-again attitude that applies only to the big visions, but is an everyday approach that creates the ingenuity to solve big and small problems.

Learning from Masters of High IQ

There is an obvious lesson to be learned in the fact that we know the names – or at least the success – of those who demonstrated high entrepreneurial IQ; and that those who don’t are as anonymous as a losing presidential candidate.

The list is long – too long for here – but as representatives for the group of those with a high IQ we can recall:

  • Bill Gates – Why can’t everyone have a computer on their desk? When all the computers that existed at the time were in airplane hangar sized barns.
  • Fred Smith – Why can’t mail be delivered overnight, all across the country? When the only option was the post office.
  • Henry Ford – Why can’t automobiles be made that everyone can afford? Why can’t workers be paid a livable wage so they can buy the cars they make?
  • Walt Disney – Why can’t entertainment be a family event and destination? When the only option was the sleazy carnival.
  • Ray Kroc – Why can’t hamburgers and fries be consistent, served fast and at stores as ubiquitous as a street corner? When the local diner was the opposite.
  • Steve Jobs – Why can’t computers do what we want them to do? When it took a degree in programming to make them do anything.
  • Debbie Fields – Why can’t cookies be made for the world that taste like they were made in my kitchen? When all the store-bought cookies did was crumble.
  • Hugh Hefner – Why can’t women . . . (Never mind)
  • Helen Gurley Brown – Why can’t men . . . (Never mind)

There are hundreds more who did what had not been done, because they were blessed with a high entrepreneurial IQ. They revolted against the tyranny of the status quo and pledged allegiance to change. There are multitudes more that are unknown because while they may have had the optimism of the entrepreneur, they lacked the needed level of IQ and melted on the hot griddle of failure.

Don’t make the assumption that the concept of entrepreneurial IQ applies only to the “big things.” Successful entrepreneurs don’t accept anything – big or small – at face value. This attitude does not come from cynicism, but from an insatiable desire to find a better way; when most accept the status quo as the only way.

There is, however, a downside for the individual with a high entrepreneurial IQ. Like the child who drives parents crazy with inquisitiveness, the individual with a high entrepreneurial IQ is (at best) an irritant to most others. The truth is that individuals with a high entrepreneurial IQ are not very welcomed or popular with most people they encounter—especially in large organizations. But remember, this is because most have meekly submitted to the oppression of the status quo and those who have not are to be shunned; mostly out of envy and how wimpy it makes them look and feel. This is where the optimism of the entrepreneur joins forces with inquisitiveness in a way that allows the individual to move forward, impervious to and immune from the cynicism and skepticism of the naysayers.

The upside to the cynicism and skepticism the entrepreneur will encounter in response to challenging the status quo and searching to do what has not been done is that these attitudes can be used as a measure to gauge the potential for success. An entrepreneur recognizes that if they are not receiving resistance to their ideas, they are not far enough ahead to make a difference. This is the encouragement that motivates them to continue to ask: Why not?

And the Moral of the Story

If you desire to be a successful entrepreneur or effective leader, it is not only okay, but mandatory to always ask: Why not? Why? Because if you don’t, you never have a chance to find out why.

In America – if not the world – almost everyone seems to have an innate desire to be an entrepreneur. The lure is often to “be your own boss,” or “make a fortune;” and many have the optimism to believe they can be successful. But that is not what true entrepreneurialism is all about. Desire and optimism can get you started, but that is not what will assure success. Why not? Because to meet all the obstacles, challenges and naysayers the entrepreneur will face, you need a high entrepreneurial IQ – Inquisitive Quotient. It is optimism combined with the desire to rebel against the status quo by pledging allegiance to change that allows the entrepreneur to see what others do and ask why and to see what others don’t see and ask: Why not?

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