A few weeks ago I was standing in line at the store behind two boys. They were probably 13, maybe 14 years old and these guys were really cool. They wore low-rider pants that constantly tried to slide down to their knees, big T-shirts advertising their favorite vampire heavy metal bands. One had a skateboard under his arm while the other had a ski hat tugged down over his ears in spite of the warm day. I overheard them talking about a friend of theirs who had recently quit the skateboarding scene and moved on to something else (I think they said he quit skateboards and started chasing girls…). As they talked about him, they both stopped, looked at each other and simultaneously lifted their right hands to their foreheads. Placing their thumbs against their foreheads and extending their index finger straight up, they had both created the big “L” sign. This stands for “Loser”. Having both agreed on this point and signaled what they thought about it, they smiled to each other and went on to talk about something else.
Are Entrepreneurs Losers?
Today I will be speaking at a venture event in Trento, Italy. There will be 20-30 startup entrepreneurs who will pitch their business plans to investors in the hopes of getting capital for their young businesses. To be really honest, most of them will not leave this event with any promise of funding. Many will be frustrated and go home and wonder if it would be better to go back to the university or research environments they came from and live the easy life on student loans and government grants.
Only a fool would tell you that being an entrepreneur is easy. It takes a ridiculous amount of blood, sweat and tears in order to create a successful business when you start with nothing but a great idea. If first-time virgin entrepreneurs knew what they were getting into and how much hard work is required, then most would probably never even attempt a startup. This is not a career of choice for the weak of heart.
Entrepreneurs are Losers… but only if they quit. The only real failure for any entrepreneur happens when they abandon their idea and quit. “Success” for an entrepreneur is not any specific event or goal to be achieved. Success is the process of learning how to create businesses. Becoming a “successful entrepreneur” means that you know how to do this kind of work – you know how to start with a good idea and how to persevere with it until it becomes a real company with real value for it’s owners and customers. It means that you know how to do the dance and to make it rain on your cornfield.
Don’t be a loser. Learn rather than quit. Find a way to adapt or change your business until you eventually get what you are seeking. Successful entrepreneurs are winners.
For more about the Trento venture event and other funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, contact Europe Unlimited (www.e-unlimited.com).
For more information about how I work with startup groups to help them accelerate their startup business, contact me: rs(@)ricksalmon.com