17 Truths About Being An Entrepreneur

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(From The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tuesday, 8 August 2015)

We recently read an inspiring article on entrepreneur.com by Stephen Key on the 11 Truths About Being an Entrepreneur. There is a plethora of advice out there, but we found Stephen Key’s points to be candid and very useful for our #AfricanEntrepreneurs to note.

Via the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, Abimbola Adebakin, we have added five additional points, giving you 16 Truths About Being an Entrepreneur. What would you add to this list? (www.melyakub.com adds one more).

1. Success can be defined in many different ways.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing exclusively on how much money you make. I think money allows us to do things — nothing more, nothing less. You can use money to help others. It gives us the opportunity to be generous and to do the right thing.

2. Becoming successful will take longer than you think it should.

And I mean much longer. There’s no way of quickly becoming successful. Don’t trust anyone who says otherwise. Those who advertise how rapid their success has been are conveniently leaving out the years they spent hustling prior. Are you in this for the long haul? If not, you might as well get out now. This profession takes dedication.

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy, give a speech about his career as an entrepreneur. The advice he stressed above all else was, “Hang in there.” His point was that you have to stick with something long enough to catch a few lucky breaks and eventually become successful.

3. There’s more than one way to achieve success.

So learn as much as you can from others, especially those who are living the kind of life you want. Ask questions, the simple ones too. Draw your own conclusions from what you learn. When you create your own road map, be willing to change it. Flexibility will serve you well. Entrepreneurs are always in motion! We’re dynamic creatures. Evolve or die.

4. You must be willing to make sacrifices.

Time is one of them. It just is. So make sure you enjoy what you do. Don’t let your dedication destroy other parts of your life.

5. Treat everyone with respect.

We’re all interconnected. Industries are smaller than they seem. You’re going to meet the same people climbing up the ladder when you’re on your way down.

6. If someone treats you poorly from the beginning, don’t expect your relationship to improve.

Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn’t.

7. Try to be patient.

Lousy situations result when you rush. I think time is one of our greatest assets. If you give yourself enough time to think something through, you’ll discover more possibilities.

8. Don’t try to change difficult people.

Focus instead on changing the way you deal with them. That’s the only thing under your control.

9. Have a positive attitude.

People want to work with people they like. The only way you’ll be able to move mountains is if you believe you can.

10. Tell the truth, even when it’s painful.

People might not like what you have to say, but getting real is what builds long-term relationships.

11. Admit when you’re wrong and move on.

When people fail to take accountability for their actions, resentment festers.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is too short not to enjoy yourself. Become an entrepreneur! Aim high! But more than that, focus on creating a business that has a great culture, does right by its employees and that people actually want to work for. That’s the best feeling in the world as far as I’m concerned.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

12. Remember your values, especially in a dynamic industry.

What are you in it for? Be sure to remain grounded on these values.

13.Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Passion can grow. Iron sharpens iron. As much as possible, network with diverse groups, but avoid toxic communication and networking.

14. Think scale, think sustainability, think impact.

Profit is good, but can be hollow and short-lived if not placed within the context of something beyond money.

15. Profit and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive.

Build your business from the start with a strong bias to preserve the environment, avoid social vices or injury, and to be a responsible citizen to all stakeholders

16.Good Governance is not optional.

Start from the beginning – be accountable, be transparent, seek a board of advisors to support your decision making process, pay yourself a salary and don’t put your hand in the till, stay safe and remember that paying taxes serve a purpose.


(Above,originally from http://tonyelumelufoundation.org/teep/16-truths-about-being-an-entrepreneur/)

I will simply add one more:

17. Be prepared to handle setbacks!: Typically, entrepreneurs are optimists with almost limitless bundles of energy. However, most entrepreneurs, especially from the beginning,also expect ‘smooth rides’ and the best of every situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, things don’t turn out as best as we always expect them. Setbacks and even failures will challenge you. Long-run successful entrepreneurs always learn and handle unwanted outcomes with the right emotional and intellectual responses. Be ready to handle your own in a such a way that they become levers for even greater successes. The enormously successful entrepreneurs you see around become as successful not because of the absence of setbacks ad failures in their lives, but because of their willingness and abilities to handle them correctly.





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