The best advice I have ever received was from a client turned friend, Chris Vaughn. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) to never take your eye off the ball or worry about what someone else is doing. There will always be people with more money or more celebrity, but you are the only one with your brain, creativity and power to execute. 

There are so many incredible ideas but they mean absolutely nothing without your own personal brand of hustle. No matter what the situation, your great idea will require all of your energy and if that energy is spent in other areas like focusing on someone or something else, failure is imminent. 

When founders come to us at The Avenue West (my go-to-market agency), we assess them in a few different ways before deciding to take them on- one being whether or not we think they have special sauce.

  1. First we ask founders why they are doing what they are doing. Without a real passionate answer, we know its going to be a flop. Harsh, but true.
  2. What is the background of the founding team? Who were they before their "ah-ha!" moment and how will they handle the pressure? We aren't talking about what their last job was (although that can be important) we're looking at their values and what's most important to them fundamentally.
  3. Where is their energy focused? If they are constantly being distracted by the next shiny thing, or being driven by emotion, it's going to impossible to win. And we like winning.

As an entrepreneur, you will have daily (hourly even) reminders that what you're doing is insane. You will laugh, cry, panic, be filled with fear and excitement - usually all at the same time - so if your decisions for your company are being driven by those emotions, you aren't going to make it.

A key to remember: you will always have competition. The sooner you accept it and stop giving it any precious energy, the more likely it is that they won't be competition for long.

Failure is the only way to success, sure, but the kind of failure you need is the kind of failure you get when you go all in without your focus on anyone or anything else. Cards on the table with nothing and everything to lose. Don't lose sight of that by looking the other direction while someone steals your lunch.

 

Published on: May 18, 2016
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