Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. There are many challenges of entrepreneurship that entrepreneurs have to overcome before achieving success. Bill Gates started a company with Paul Allen, known as the Traf-O-Data in early 1974, which ended up a desolate little thing before he went on to create Microsoft. In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from the company that he had created, but that did not stop him from moving on and creating Pixar and NeXT, which were later purchased by Apple. Henry Ford instituted two automotive companies that nose-dived before he laid the foundation for Ford Motors, which is a name to contend with.
From early childhood well into maturity, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, faced adversity at every turn. He flunked his school and college exams. Jack Ma was rejected by Harvard 10 times. He was the only applicant who was snuffed by KFC out of 24 candidates at an interview. Even when he started his own business, all his best-laid plans went down the drain, since he was unable to convince Silicon Valley to fund his startup which at one point, was 18 months away from bankruptcy. Alibaba didn’t bring in a single penny in its first 3 years. Despite all those obstacles, he never gave up, and today he is one of the richest men in China.
How have all these magnates overcome entrepreneurial adversity? These are their secrets that you can take away from and apply to your own start-ups:
How to Get Over Challenges of Entrepreneurship?
1. Learn From Failure
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”—Henry Ford
Entrepreneurship and failure go hand in hand, therefore entrepreneurship is not for those who don’t respond well to failure. Without bidding adieu to your “Atychiphobia”, you cannot achieve entrepreneurial success. Instead of fearing failure, you must consider each letdown as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, failed 10,000 times before succeeding. He reflected back at his experiments by musing, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you go forward with this approach, success will surely kiss your feet. Oprah Winfrey is the epitome of someone who shattered through the glass ceiling before becoming a celebrity. Her advice for entrepreneurs is that they should “think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”
2. Prepare for the Worst
In entrepreneurship, failure is so inevitable that you should consider it a norm and prepare for worst-case scenarios instead of thinking yourself above them. Successful entrepreneurs know how to thrive even in the face of hardship. They love challenges and know how to solve problems. This is what puts them a “head and shoulder” above the rest. The way entrepreneurs handle risks go a long way towards determining their success. Challenges force them to think creatively and this is when they are at the top of their game. Always prepare for the worst-case scenario and your startup will never fail. A task management software can help you in this regard by letting you plan for the future.
3. Find a Mentor or a Business Partner
“You are the average of five people you spend the most time with”—Jim Rohn
Even the most successful entrepreneurs need a mentor to help them navigate the choppy seas from time to time. They know the importance of surrounding oneself with the right people. Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page, all have mentors. Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg, while Markkula mentored Steve Jobs. Young entrepreneurs need to find a guru and a business partner who can guide them in the right direction. A good mentor speaks from their own life experiences, something even the best of books cannot teach you.
Even researchers and surveys vote in the favor of having a mentor. According to an executive coaching survey, 80% of CEOs conceded to having received some form of mentorship. A research conducted by Sage revealed that 93% of startups believe that mentorship played a critical role in their success. This clearly shows that you are more likely to succeed as an entrepreneur if you have a mentor than if you do not have one.
4. Be Resilient and Never Give Up
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine”—Jack Ma
With so many challenges and failures posing a hurdle in your way as an entrepreneur, only the most resilient can survive the rat race. As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Although human beings have a propensity to show resilience, you have to hone in on that skill in order to overcome all the obstacles that bar your way. Never shy away from challenges, otherwise, you will never be able to become a successful entrepreneur. Instead, face them heads-on with a solid plan.
5. Build a Team
You cannot achieve entrepreneurial success on your own. Look at any successful entrepreneur and you will see that they have a team of highly skilled and efficient people at their backs, who have played important roles in their success. Where would Steve Jobs be without Steve Wozniak, Mike Markkula, Johny Ive and many others who paved the way for his thriving success? While I am not undermining his prodigious genius, fostering strong relationships with these people surely helped him climb the rungs of the success ladder.
It is much harder to face entrepreneurial challenges when you are alone and isolated. We cannot say the same for when you are surrounded by many people willing to help you out. Never shy away from reaching out to others and asking for help. You will be surprised to know how many people are willing to lend a helping hand. Build long-term relationships with both internal and external stakeholders. Look for network opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs and form a community.
6. Health is Wealth
Another common trait that most successful entrepreneurs possess is that they take good care of their health. If you closely analyze the morning routines of most successful entrepreneurs from Bill Gates to Richard Branson, you will find that exercise is an integral part of their morning routines because they know that without staying healthy, they will never be able to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Despite being the busiest individuals in the world, they always spend some quality time with family and friends, which keeps them rejuvenated both physically and mentally.
How would you beat the biggest entrepreneurial challenges? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.