Starting any business requires a lot of work and, sometimes, you might feel that what you get back from your big idea is just not worth all the effort you have to put in.
Everyone with a business has those times, and the road to success can be a long and stony one.
So here are 10 inspirational thoughts from people who have already made the journey you are now on.
1. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” (Robert H. Schuller)
However badly your business is doing, you need to carry on. Things can only get better and however bad the situation is, it will eventually pass by. Business, just like life, will be filled with setbacks, challenges and failures as well as successes. By becoming discouraged and giving up means that you ensure that the failure is a permanent one. Carrying on and perhaps doing things differently can, at least, hold out the potential for success.
To put it another way:
2. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” (Richard Branson: Founder of Virgin Group)
Some failure is inevitable. It looks as though successful entrepreneurs are those who accept that some failure is unavoidable, and who use it as a foundation for success. It is inevitable, and you might as well turn those failures into a positive learning experience. Problems actually drive innovation and force you to focus on new solutions. Instead of trying to remove them, you can use them to your advantage. Think outside the box and come up with new, innovative solutions to your problems.
It is a recurring message from the head of the Virgin Group.
3. “One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes. Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
Sir Richard – one-time record label owner, and now running his own airline, railway, holiday company and bank, plus around 400 other companies – is not the only phenomenally successful business owner to take this view.
4. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” (Bill Gates: Founder of Microsoft)
Of course, your hard work and ability to innovate are both essential to your success. In the technology sector, the ability to come up with new solutions and new products is key. It is certainly true today, as it was more than a century ago. The technologies may have changed, but the key principle remains just the same.
“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (Thomas Edison: American Inventor and Businessman).
In fact, hard work and innovation are more than simply a route to success, they are a business essential. As two noted American entrepreneurs pointed out:
6. “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” (B. C. Forbes: Founder of Forbes)
7. “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” (John D Rockefeller: Founder of the Standard Oil Company)
Of course, it’s not what you do, it is the way that you do it.
8. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” (Warren Buffett: CEO of Berkshire Hathaway)
Taking shortcuts and making decisions that put customers, staff and your suppliers at risk might provide some short-term advantage, but for the longer-term they mean disaster. We live in a connected world and a dissatisfied customer – or anyone else you have wronged in business – can use social media to tell the world about it. The fact that a good name and a positive reputation is essential in business has been true since traders first set up their stalls back in the Ur valley.
9. “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” (Zig Ziglar: American Author and Salesman)
So the word from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs seems to be that you need to work hard, to come up with new ideas and make sure people are happy to be your customers and do business with you.
It seems to be a simple enough message. But does it really mean that following these simple guidelines will lead to the success you want?
The final word goes to Henry Ford who, just over a century ago, was already putting the world on the road with the Model T. His parting words still apply, whether the new technology your business depends on is the petrol engine or the latest smartphone app.
10. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re very probably right,”
Self-belief may be the most important quality of all. Confidence in your own judgement and vision is essential – but, of course, no entrepreneur can expect to do everything alone. Success is almost always a group effort and finding the right people to work with and the right suppliers are essential. So is finding the right finance.
Business finance specialist Rangewell point to a steady rise in enquiries from people ready to start their own business and looking for the finance they need to take their first steps towards success. You can find out more about funding solutions for new business ideas here.