Ladies and gentleman, meet Mo, Larry, and Curly Entrepreneur. These fine fellows are here today to help answer the age old question: Why do some entrepreneurs achieve stellar success while others achieve only moderate success while still others fail in business miserably?
To level the playing field lets pretend that each of our wily entrepreneurs all started their businesses on the exact same day, selling the exact same product at the exact same price. Lets also pretend that they started their businesses from identical locations, with the exact same resources and funding, and with the exact same opportunities and odds for success.
Even when starting from the same place at the same point in time with the same resources and same opportunities, the results vary widely; some entrepreneurs succeed in an amazing way and others do not.
Why then does one entrepreneur, in this case Curly because he is my favorite Stooge, reach the stars while most Stooges never make it off the ground? Why does Curly get to give the crowd a “Woop, woop, woop!” while accepting the Chambers Small Business of the Year Award while Mo and Larry have to work as waiters at the event to help pay their bills?
Great questions, but before we explore the answers lets take it a step further. Lets vary the equation since no two business startups are ever really the same. Could the difference in the level of success achieved be a result of the amount of financial backing each Stooge had? Could it be that one entrepreneur was simply smarter than the others (probably not in Curlys case)? Or perhaps it was just good old dumb luck that made the difference. Or maybe God was just tired of Mo and Larry pushing Curly around and punished them with failing businesses akin to Lots House of Salt.
Stooges aside, there is a very simple reason some entrepreneurs do amazingly well in business while others do not. It has nothing to do with product or location or backing or education or street smarts or dumb luck.
Its because those who succeed in an amazing way are willing to do whatever it takes – for as long as it takes – to make their dreams come true. Those who are unwilling to do whatever it takes will ultimately fail. Thats it, end of story, thank you, drive through.
I hear it all the time from students in the entrepreneurial classes I teach and from folks who call into the radio show and from consulting clients who call my office wanting to know why their businesses are tanking.
“Tim, Im doing everything I possibly can and the business is about to go under!”
I listen and say, “Mm hmm,” in all the appropriate places, but inevitably when I ask, “Well, are you doing this, this, this, and this,” the answer usually comes back, “No, no, no, and no.”
The bottomline is this: Curly shoots for the moon and hits it while Mo and Larry talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk. Very few people are willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to succeed in business. Thats why so many businesses fail; they are started by Stooges (bless their hearts) who have no business being in business. Period.
Before you even think about starting a business ask yourself this question: are you willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to succeed in business? Would you be willing to work for a year without a regular paycheck? Would you be willing to perform every task imaginable? Would you clean the toilets, mop the floors, take out the trash, wash the windows, clean out a grease trap, flip burgers, pour drinks, and deal with customers for hours on end?
Would you stay up all night writing a proposal that you have a slim chance of winning and spend the entire next day cold calling clients who wont give you the time of day?
Would you sell your car and mortgage your house and live on rice and beans for a year to fund the business? And if that money ran out would you think up creative ways to keep the doors open or would you just shut the doors and crawl home with your tail tucked between your legs?
And would you put your last ounce of blood, sweat and tears into a dream that might or might not come true?
If the answer to any of these questions is maybe, I dont know, or just no, I want you to hold up your hand and stick out two fingers, then poke yourself in the eyes with them.
Then repeat after me, “Why I oughta— keep my day job.”