I’ve worked it out. For those thinking of going it alone, consider my theory.
There are four paths you can take. You can either:
Fail slowly – the worst possible outcome. You are wasting valuable time and resources and probably learning slowly also. Don’t get caught out.
Succeed quickly – the idea scenario. You’re onto a winner and fulfilling the businesses and your own potential!
Fail fast – the second best outcome. I’d rather fail fast than succeed slowly. You are moving forward, learning quickly, and giving the business the most efficient opportunity to succeed or fail.
Succeed slowly – not the worst outcome as at least you are making money but it will become a painful journey. You get stuck, you struggle to grow, you get frustrated and will be missing out on other opportunities.
Now, there aren’t many mere mortals who can succeed quickly on their own.
In fact, out of all of the entrepreneurs I’ve met, heard and read about, I can’t even think of more than a handful who have done it 100% themselves.
Most team up or partner up along the way and collaborate to create successful companies. A smaller piece of a bigger pie is better than a bigger piece of no pie!
So to succeed fast, this is what you need. A combination of ALL of the following success factors:
1. Skills: Things you are good at: sales, marketing, technical, finance, industry specific, etc. Skills grow and develop over time with experience. Most people are experts at something initially.
2. Knowledge and experience: How much you know is driven by your experience in life, business, an industry, a market, formal and informal education and commitment to continual learning. There’s no better lesson than losing money and having failed at something, which is where real learning occurs. Experienced people provide ‘wisdom’ and help solve more problems confidently.
3. Networks. People you know. People who are willing to help you if you reach out to them. The power of your network is also driven by the people THEY know. The more people you help, the more people that are likely to help you – assuming they are the right people. Most people don’t have deep networks or focus on building their network. Strong networkers can get to the right people quickly through trusted relationships built over many years.
4. Attitude: The desire and will to win. The ability to persevere, work hard and bounce back through adversity. Refusing to fail. Mental toughness. The commitment to learning and growing in knowledge. Staying positive through tough times. This can’t be trained so easily and comes from understanding a person’s motivations to succeed. If someone MUST succeed, then there is no other option to succeed. If Daddy pays your credit card and rent, then there’s no incentive to get out of bed.
5. Market opportunity: Every great business helps solve a customer problem and offers value. The business needs to offer a compelling product or service that people want to buy in an industry sector that is growing or where the business is revolutionising the way something is being done.
6. Luck: Timing is everything! Right place, right time. Some entrepreneurs are much smarter, experienced and work harder than those that ‘make it’, so you can’t avoid the fact that luck plays a huge role in success. Markets shift, and you need to be there with the right skills, experience and networks at the right time, and almost not a minute earlier or later.
7. Passion: Gets you out of bed every day and makes it difficult to distinguish between work and play. Passionate people work long hours because it’s fun and doesn’t feel like work. I will only invest in something I am passionate about or my partner is passionate about.
8. Aligned values: One dirt bag in a partnership will destroy a business and breakdown a partnership relationship. Sure some businesses succeed, but not without pain and heartache. Partnerships and businesses blossom if everyone’s values are aligned in a positive way.
So what does all this mean?
Even the most talented entrepreneurs with lots of experience and success can’t do everything themselves.
If you want to fast-track your success OR failure, I believe you have no choice but to learn how to partner with others who fill the gaps to the eight critical success factors above. Experienced, successful entrepreneurs are great people to partner who can fast-track success or failure.
Whereas, more inexperienced entrepreneurs who are passionate, ‘hungry’ superstars with good values but lack experience, can be great people to invest in with the right guidance and wisdom.
I hope this summary is useful as a guide for assessing future partnership opportunities. I know it took me many years to work it out thus far!
But now that I’ve got to this point in my entrepreneurial career, I feel much more confident in my assessment of opportunities and people with a higher chance of success.