I have heard this before and it still seems crazy that this should be “a”, or “the” key element in the success of any business owner. I am not even sure that I know where I first came across it and I definitely cannot repeat it word for word. But it goes something like this:
The key to business is being willing to do what others are not willing to do.
I tried to Google it to see if I could find an origin, or the name of who first coined the phrase. It is remarkable what came up. I found “8 Tips to Get Your Business Going, Even if You Don’t Know Where to Start” as well as “10 important business skills every professional needs”, and “10 must have characteristics of any successful business”, and there are many, many more of these. Who actually reads all this stuff?
There is another similar one that I have also stumbled across:
Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.
It’s a bit like a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. If you are going to build a successful business, you must start by taking that first step. It will not happen otherwise. And that step and those that necessarily follow could well be unpleasant and / or scary. You could be risking reputation and / or cash. It could easily be the thing of sleepless nights for many people.
On top of that, the decisions that you may have to make along your journey may not be popular, but you know that they must be made, and no-one else is going to do it for you.
Once you have started on that road there will be countless occasions when you will be called upon to make these difficult decisions. The buck stops with you.
But, you are ready and prepared for the challenge and I think that is what we are speaking about here. You may have given up a safe and steady wage or salary and regular hours to go into the scary world of self employment. There will be plenty of people telling you why it will not succeed and you are risking the “I told you so” and the constant reminders of your own foolishness in thinking you could run your own business.
You will quickly realise that once you are on your way there will be plenty of people telling you how to run your business but only you can actually do it and you are the only one with skin in the game.
In your situation most people will choose safety and security and so by taking action in pursuit of your goal, you have become a member of a select minority and opened a door to who knows where or what.
Inevitably you will require certain skills to nurture and grow your fledgling business venture. But the most important skill is the one you have already demonstrated. The willingness to take action like that first step into the unknown. Remember, every other skill can either be learned or hired.
I was 32 when I purchased my first business. It was me and another accountant. We were young naïve but full of enthusiasm and both with young families. We only had a couple of staff so the cash flow pressures were not bad, even at the start. We were working long hours, meeting countless new contacts and having to use the knowledge that we had learned during a few short years of employment in real life situations. Nothing really worried us. We thrived on the adrenaline of getting our new business growing.
15 years later I did the same thing all over again but this time my new business partner was my wife. Now that’s scary! 20 years on the high seas and this ship is still under a full set of sails and heading in the right direction.
We are where we are today because of what we did back then. We have always been willing to do what so many others were not willing to do. I would not have wanted to have done it any other way.
If you want to compare notes sometime, give me a call.
If you are not sure where to find us, go to our contact page.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership