You can have the best idea in the world, hit the ground running and still fail miserably. A Harvard study recently revealed that three out of four start ups fail, a far cry from the previous stats. For recent college grads or startup hopefuls, this is good and bad news: good because you have a lot more failures to learn from; bad because you might be one of them. Success is a slow, methodical road, and you don’t need to spend a fortune, be a genius or win the lottery to get there — all you need is a purpose, a plan and a large helping of wisdom. These startup tips were shared by experts who are successful in their various fields of business.
Business is Methodized — Learning is Not
Many of us dream about what our empire could become: study hard, ace courses and expect our brilliant ideas to fall into place. The real world isn’t like college. Success has to be earned through brilliance and methodology, writes Adam Toren for “Entrepreneur.” The entertainment industry loves stories about brilliance and luck, but the business world requires you to put your nose to the grindstone for long, grueling hours and follow a step-by-step plan. The best advice Michael Fertik, CEO of reputation.com ever got was that “you are not required to finish your work,” but “neither are you permitted to desist from it.” Fertik reminds us that starting your small business needs to be treated like a marathon, not a sprint. It will take you years to hone your managerial, negotiation and other skills, but it’s worth it.
Book Knowledge Makes you Smart on Paper — Wisdom Makes You Successful
It’s up to you to take your knowledge to the next level. Whether you’re an English major or a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D., you must learn how to delegate tasks in all arenas, distinguish priorities and learn your personal limits. Nilofer Merchant, who founded Rubicon Consulting, calls this “killing your turkeys and saving your eagles.” In a startup, you will be faced with a landslide of tasks every day, and it’s up to you to prioritize them and think critically. Turkeys gobble around on the ground and peck at anything in front of them; eagles soar above, only swooping when crucial game is in sight. Knowledge and wisdom operate much like this. You may know how to do everything and want to, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise for your startup.
Learning is Free — Don’t Ever Forget or Be Intimidated By It
It’s easy to cower in the presence of a slew of Ivy League grads armed with genius IQs, but, in truth, they may not have any more of an upper hand than you. As an entrepreneur, your quest for continual learning and personal growth is your most valuable asset. Pete Cashmore, the CEO of Mashable, told the Huffington Post that his personal mantra is the simple advice to keep listening. He reminds us that we live in an era where we have access to the best minds with the click of a button, and anyone who doesn’t take advantage of that is losing out. Keep listening.