Over the past 40 years my thinking has evolved. As a brash young entrepreneur I thought the characteristics essential for success could be distilled to only a few critical variables. Over time I came to better understand the complexity of entrepreneurial success and identified many more important characteristics. Now, while I still believe that the are many subtleties that influence success, certain characteristics are essential while others are influential. The essential characteristics are:
THE IDEA: An idea the world inherently thinks it cannot live without rarely appears. Yet you undoubtedly think that your idea is something very special. Your challenge is finding a way to characterize your idea in such a compelling way and with such a transparent value proposition that the world moves from ambivalence to investors and consumers believing this really is something very special. Something they believe, "this is something that we cannot afford to pass over".
THE PASSION AND WORK ETHIC: Boundless passion should lead to an equally boundless energy that defines your work ethic. If this is not the case, ideas will not translate into realities of real value. Be passionate; but be prepared to lose sleep and work extremely hard. Adopt the mantra that it is not over until you say it is over and remember that your only fatal mistake is your last one. You decide when that mistake will occur.
SEEKING AND ACCEPTING HELP: It does not matter how smart you are or how hard you work, you need help. In any fast moving business there are too many critical pieces for any one person to have all the answers or manage all the processes. Seek guidance from people who have been through similar situations before. Seek guidance from people who have expertise in the various aspects of your business that exceeds your expertise. Be humble….accept that guidance.