The SBA reports that upwards of 50% of small businesses fail during their first 12 months in operation, for a variety of reasons that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Working capital/cash flow issues
- Bad business planning
- Poor pricing
- Bad partners
- Poor products
- Lack of marketing
Albert Einstein said that you only fail when you stop trying. Even though you might fail on a business concept within the first 12 months, that doesn’t mean that you don’t try again for a second, third, fourth and even a fifth time with either the same business concept or completely different business concepts, before you finally succeed.
For this special article, I wanted to discuss tenacity. The definition of “tenacity” is to hold onto something firmly while being persistent or, in other words, to continue to hold onto a belief, a vision, a dream, a business, etc., despite difficulty, struggle or opposition.
It’s All About Tenacity
Former Senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), said that while ambition is the path to success, persistence will be the vehicle that gets you there.
Many people set new goals and proclaim new dreams, which certainly is a sign of their ambition.
But for the vast majority, the difficulty, struggle and opposition on the path to achieving the goals and dreams cause many of them to abandon their efforts. They indeed start on the road to success, but they never actually get there because, the vehicle that drives them there is missing from the equation, which is their persistence, or spoken another way, it’s their internal tenacity.
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Determine Your Vision
The road to success begins with determining your vision and outlining a plan to bring forth said vision. I believe that a vision and a dream are two different things.
When you dream you are asleep, unaware of your surroundings, your strengths, your weaknesses, your securities, your insecurities, your dangers, your potential gains and your potential losses. When you have vision, you are aware of everything just mentioned but you also have a plan in place that you’re steadfastly staying aligned with. Once your vision is identified, you now begin the road to success, however, the question then becomes, will you finish?
How to Handle the Bumps in the Road
As you go along the road to success, understand that you are likely to experience one or more bumps in the road unless of course, you are coming already from a position of power as a recipient of someone’s trust fund or already-established network.
This is why I recommend that whatever your vision is, that you fall in love with what you do, rather than falling in love solely for the monetary gains that come from it. It’s that internal, natural, raw love of what you do that will keep you going through these bumps in the road:
Pain and Suffering. At times you will be stressed, feel pain and suffer. The pain and suffering could come in the form of psychological pain, emotional pain, financial pain, legal pain, etc.
You Will Give Up and Doubt Yourself. At times you will give up as a result of the pain and suffering. At times you will sit there thinking if your vision and plans were really the “right ones”, or if you were wrong from the get-go.
You Will Lose Relationships. People that started with you might drop off during the middle, or people that you thought were in your corner, might all of a sudden back away from you.
People Will Talk About You, Discourage You and Hate You. My rule of thumb is that if someone isn’t a current or potential business partner, creditor, vendor, supplier or customer, then it’s quite frankly none of their damn business what my vision and strategic plans are. Be careful with telling the world your vision because, many people will try to talk you out of it, be a nay-sayer, and discourage you, even your closest family members. As you begin to make moves and progress, you will notice people mocking you, talking bad about you, and just seemingly hating you for absolutely no reason.
You Might Fail Before You Win: Yes, you might even fail just like…
- Colonel Sanders, who failed 1,009 times to sell his chicken recipe before he heard one yes on the concept at the age of 65.
- Sylvester Stallone was rejected more than 1,500 times when selling his Rocky movie script.
- Milton Hershey started a multitude of candy companies that all failed, before he finally founded the Hershey Company which led to all of his success.
- Sir James Dyson developed more than 5,000 prototypes over the course of 15 years, all of which failed and sucked up all of his savings, before finally founding the Dyson Company.
- Walt Disney‘s first animation company went bankrupt and he was turned down hundreds of times for the financing he needed for his Disney concept, before he finally took off.
- Jeff Bezos started and failed at numerous business ideas before he repurposed one of those failures into what’s known today as Amazon.
- Henry Ford‘s first two car companies failed and he went bankrupt. He eventually came up with another concept called Ford Motor Company and created the car manufacturing assembly line, becoming one of the richest men in the world in the process.
Are You Willing to Die? No, Seriously
Everybody has a dream, but very few have tenacity. Very few are in love with their vision to the point that they carry the natural internal tenacity to be rejected over 1,000 times like Colonel Sanders to bring forth their concept. We all talk about wanting success, but very few of us will die to get there. Al Pacino said in his “Inch By Inch” speech in the 1999 film “Any Given Sunday” that it will be the guy that’s willing to die that’s going to win that “inch.”
Are you willing to die for your vision? Are you willing to sacrifice it all for your vision? Are you willing to lose friends, lose family members, lose relationships, get talked about, get mocked, get sued, get spit on, go bankrupt and get rejected 1,009 times just to bring your vision to pass?
If the answer is “yes” then congratulations, you have the internal love for your vision that will birth the tenacity that’s needed to succeed. But if your answer is “no,” unless you come from a rich/established network, then you should seriously rethink your motivations.
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