Persistence – a needed poison.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
You could become the next Elon Musk… or the next nobody. The moment you accept this is the moment you shine. I’ve met hundreds of entrepreneurs in my line of business as a consultant. Additionally, I have read numerous books about the stories of very successful founders. The more you read, the more it’s quite obvious why those founders are having astonishing success. The trait that each entrepreneur possesses is persistence. It’s quite obvious the more you read into it. The founders of Netflix refused to sell to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos due to their belief in the potential of their company and their persistence in pursuing that belief.
Here’s the problem.
When you tell entrepreneurs to be persistent, some of them need this motivation mixed with their product to have a booming success. The real poisonous problem comes when an entrepreneur believes in the importance of persistence, without addressing the other factors.
You might not have a product that the market wants. Nonetheless, you, as an entrepreneur, read the books, and your psychology is deducing that the missing piece of the puzzle is persistence!
So you’ll ignore that investor who said you don’t have a good product, that co-founder who left the company, and that customer review that wasn’t all great. After all, KFC’s Colonel Sanders had 1009 rejections before achieving success, right?
No, not right. Yes, that happened with him. No, it will probably not happen to you. It’s a game of odds. He could’ve been rejected 1010 times instead of achieving success.
Wait, are you telling me not to be persistent?
If you’re not persistent, you’ll surely fail. If you’re blindly persistent, you’ll surely fail. The sweet spot lies in the area where you are persistent, but you understand that your product might not succeed because of whatever reason. The moment you’re saying in your mind that your company is going to succeed no matter what is the moment of reassessment. A good entrepreneur will be persistent and dodge demotivating obstacles. A great entrepreneur would do that, but learn in the dodging process and keep the door open of shutting down the company.
If Uber had launched 50 years ago, it would’ve not succeeded. People needed to be heavily relying on smartphones, and there had to be a problem with traffic. It would’ve been an exceptional product in the wrong time and place. If the founders kept pursuing Uber back then, with all the markers pointing in the other direction, then that would’ve been an enormous amount of time wasted, and a good story of unsuccess.
What one should be aware of is that this enlightening of knowing whether your product is the one or not is not easy. It requires years of experience within that specific product. You can do your perfect market research. You can invest heavily in the product. Everything would be pointing positively. Yet, you’re not succeeding. If that person blames it on persistence without a very strong reason, then this is the recipe of time waste. (Nonetheless, one would get a fantastic amount of experience in the process. But it would cost a lifetime.)
The perfect approach
Think of yourself as a blindfolded person entering a room. If you’ve spent years constructing rooms as an architect, then you already have an edge. If you have another blindfolded person with you in the room, that’s another edge.
The longer you stay in the room, the more you can guess what’s inside with high accuracy. The more accurate you are, the more successful. The moment you take off your blindfold, you’ll probably realize something you didn’t realize initially, which is normal.
Now here’s what you should know. Everyone in this world will be wearing a blindfold. Whether that person is a tech billionaire or a guru. The key element is to learn from each and everyone’s area of expertise and use your own brain to create the perfect vision of what the room looks like.
If you’re right, superb. If not, try again. Most importantly, know when you’re in the wrong direction and know when to say, “It’s enough.”
Take home message
Some of my clients have companies worth more than $100m while others have their projects disappear within a year. Some would give up, while others would be persistent enough to succeed. Aside from those, there is a group who would take persistence to the degree of stubbornness. This eventually leads to worse results than giving up as the former have the gift of time.
I would say one of the best sentences in entrepreneurship is, “I could be wrong.”
I’m Al, a business consultant in Zurich, Switzerland. I believe in providing readers with value. Hence, I created Learn, a section on my website purely dedicated to guides and articles providing value in the fields of Freelancing, and Entrepreneurship. Alternatively, you could visit my journal for all my articles, or my Medium profile.