This is the fourth in a series of articles where we take a look at how entrepreneurs grow and adapt from early mistakes to being successful.
Picture of San Francisco at Sunset. Français : San Francisco au coucher du soleil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Entrepreneurs, having gone through the difficult stages of beginner, builder, and expert often realize that entrepreneurship is not just something they do- but that it has become a strong measure of their identity. By the 3rd or 4th venture, they have wake up one morning and realize that they are in fact Serial Entrepreneurs. These are the folks that keep building companies again and again, and having gone around and around in the startup game have found it to be nothing less than a lifestyle. Serial Entrepreneurship has its own community, its own culture, its own language, habits, benefits and difficulties – and some folks just end up calling it “home”.
At the point when you have gone through the cycle of idea to execution to success (or failure) time and time again, the perspective shows you how valuable all of the stages of entrepreneurship are to the process. The bright optimism about ideas of the Beginner, the stick-to-it-despite-all-odds determination of the Builder, and the X-ray vision (spotting problems before they occur) of the Expert all have their necessary places in the process of business building. Understanding the value of a good mix of skills, the Serial Entrepreneur ends up very often being a coordinator to make sure that all of these facets are present in his startups. It turns out that the clearest pattern behind success ends up being the makeup of skills and personalities of the people by your side – The most important thing in a startup is to have the right team. Having the right team means your ideas are higher quality, since a good team has experience and wisdom. Your ability to deal with adversity is much better since a good team has determination and specific talents and skill sets. Your access to resources and connections is better because a good team has a wide and diverse network of contacts in your industry. Teams make all the difference.
For serial entrepreneurs the completion of one project usually comes with the thought that more than anything they want to get right back into the game. They know that being out there in the thick of the chase and dealing with the uncertainty and challenge is where they have to be. You can find them out there right now starting new businesses, investing in new startups, serving as mentors or executives in new startups everywhere. If you are starting a new business I suggest finding a Serial Entrepreneur and doing whatever it takes to get him or her to be your mentor. That kind of advice can make all the difference when you are starting out, and it is available for every startup – you just have to network in your community until you find it.
- Believe that talented and motivated teams are the entrepreneur’s most valuable asset. They know that the persistence, expertise, ideas, and foolishness that they went though on their journey are all required.
- Tend to ask more questions and make fewer assertions.
- Often realize that the chase itself is the reward.
A Note on Foolishness
The funny thing about all of these stages (Fool, Builder, Expert, & Serial Entrepreneur) is that some aspect of the dreamer, the foolish, wide-eyed and optimistic beginner, tends to remain a part of even the most experienced entrepreneurs. It is the ability to dream the impossible dream that defines us. The optimism that comes with the dream of building something fuels all entrepreneurs through the tough times, and motivates them.
The foolish ability to see and believe in the beautiful mirage as it resides ephemeral and just beyond reach is the key skill of the entrepreneur.
Not just reserved for the fools among us–that ability to “see and believe in a vision” is what defines all of us who decide to take a risk, head out into the unknown, and to build and strive to make their dreams become a reality. Seeing how this child-like state of dreaming can lead us into and power us through the entrepreneurial process, it becomes easy to understand Steve Jobs’ memorable exhortation to us all in his now-famous 2005 speech at Stanford: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Sounds like great advice to me.
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