By Alejandro Rioja, Chairman of Flux Ventures.
Innate talent. A brilliant idea. A stroke of genius.
Ever since we were old enough to dream about creating our own company, we have been led to believe that these elements are the key components necessary to succeed in business.
While building a company does require a certain amount of talent, a good idea and a certain dose of ingenuity, what really matters is your attitude and will. Launching a company is (very) tolling both physically and psychologically. But having both a positive attitude and a strong will can help you deal with the swings (both good and bad) that come with starting a business.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Launching a company is not for the faint of heart. There will be obstacles -- big ones. The stress to find the financing to get your business off the ground can get overwhelming. And just when you thought everything was going well, everything will break, again.
When you start a business, you will wear many hats. More often than not, you will have to do practically everything, from constantly improving your website to setting up your entire SEO campaign to dealing with not-so-nice buyers to driving to the store for supplies.
While the excitement of your own business will power you in the beginning, physical, mental and emotional fatigue will eventually set in. This is a pattern that will continue the entire time you’re in business. You'll constantly find yourself in situations you must grow to overcome.
Responding to Failures Is Key
Many people fail in business because of how they respond to failure. When something doesn’t go their way, they immediately get discouraged and give up on doing business altogether. Failure, however, shouldn’t make you bitter. It should make you better. In the words of Yoda in The Last Jedi, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”
Numerous successful entrepreneurs also put that idea into practice. Walt Disney had to close down Laugh-O-Gram Films, his first animation company, after an important distributor partner shut down. Bill Gates founded Traf-O-Data and watched it become a total disaster. Milton Hershey saw all three of his early candy-related businesses go down in flames.
The initial failure of Disney, Gates and Hershey did not hold them back from their dreams. The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corporation and The Hershey Company are undeniable monuments to the power of positive attitude and sheer will.
I'm not saying that just by having the same level of positivity and will that the titans of business mentioned above exhibited, you’ll be just as successful. However, having the same mindset should help you deal with the ups and downs of launching a business, and that should be a good enough place to start.
Be Passionate About What You Do
Passion can’t be taught. It must come from within. So whatever business you’re getting into, be sure that it’s something you love doing (for free). That was my guiding principle when I started my company. When you have the passion, you will have enough stamina to deal with the most demanding of situations and people.
Don't Let the Fear of Failure Get the Best of You
You can have the most viable business plan, work 16 hours a day and have more than enough capital to launch a business. But if you’re the type to fold at the slightest sign of failure, it won't work out.
Failure may seem negative, but the fear of it is infinitely worse. You will never be able to achieve anything if you’re afraid to fail. Failing the first time around will make you stronger than someone who never started anything.
It’s normal to get nervous when you’re starting a business, but you shouldn’t let your apprehensions get in the way. Believe in your company and, more importantly, in yourself. Confidence is highly contagious. When customers, employees and investors see confidence oozing out of your pores, they will believe in your company too. And all that positive energy will contribute to its ultimate success.
Success Is in the Attitude
Lastly, make a commitment to yourself that no matter how hard it gets, how difficult it seems, you will pour your heart into it. You will learn whatever skill is necessary, meet with whomever you need and make phone calls you know you need to make. Whatever you do, never give up.
Alejandro Rioja is Chairman of Flux Ventures.