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You Have to Love the Process

January 23, 2011 4 comments

What is that special something that “winning” entrepreneurs possess?

The standard answer seems to be part luck, part guts, part brains and part the people they surround themselves with. Or, in mbaspeak…”right time. Right place. Right product.”

Lately, I’ve come to realize that the recipe is far different, seemingly simple, but, extremely difficult to execute.

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my career working for and with entrepreneurs. Some who “get it done” and some who don’t.

The ones who do follow a pattern. A recipe that allows them to orchestrate success in the same way as a conductor does a symphony. They love the process and engage as it unfolds.

So, rather than a formula it’s a series of steps, notes on a page that blend together.

The winning entrepreneur:

(1) Checks their ego at the door
(2) Doesn’t become emotionally attached to their original idea to the extent that it outweighs sound business judgment
(3) Seeks out and listens to opinions from experts and their target market
(4) Engages in intellectual debate when challenged
(5) ACTS quickly when a suggested change of course makes sense

And, most importantly

(6) Embraces the process

Sounds simple. But, it’s not. By nature, serial entrepreneurs are egoists. They not only love their ideas, but many are in love with themselves and therefore emotionally tie themselves to their creations. Whether it be a product, a website, or a commercial, to WIN – the entrepreneur must actively engage and WANT others to better what they’ve done. Many CEOs engage in steps 3 and 4, but have never mastered 1 and 2 and therefore cannot execute on step 5. They know it all; the project is their “baby”. Who could create something better?

I’ve lived a real life example with a winning CEO. My CEO at Education Connection had been massively successful. He had started and sold several businesses – for millions of dollars. He was known in the for profit online education space as well as internet marketing industries as “the golden boy” or the “man with the midas touch”. He was incapable of creating something that was not a success. Having the opportunity to work for him and now having worked for several other CEOs, the difference is clear; he loves the process. He had said to me hundreds of times while building our business, “enjoy the journey – be present – don’t always rush to the end goal” and only now – a couple years later – do I understand what that means and why it led to his success. It’s the process outlined above.

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