The Start-up Mindset
Jason Rose is a director of consultancy adbossconcepts.com.au and media-buying platform adboss.com.au – a website designed to help SMEs compare and save on their advertising.
He blogs on the lessons he has learnt and continues to learn about the necessary mindset to successfully run a start-up business.
A common saying that people use to sound clever is that “it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes than it is to learn from your own”. Too true.
Countless books get written on the personalities of the great entrepreneurs. Everyone who reads them spends the next 24 hours pretending to be Steve Jobs or Richard Branson before slowly morphing back into their true selves.
I have been thinking long and hard about what the goal of launching a new business should be. And to be honest, I’m not sure if my conclusion is profound or just completely obvious.
Imagine for a moment that you are pitching an investment opportunity to a fund manager – a hard-nose investment professional.
I was never in awe of cyclist Lance Armstrong like many were. Road cycling is just not my thing. But his story – going from battling cancer to winning the Tour de France seven times – was amazing.
I had an appointment with a surgeon earlier this week. Don’t worry, it was nothing too serious.
I watched Channel Nine’s much-hyped mini-series about Kerry Packer smashing the cricketing establishment to get up his World Series Cricket competition.
There are a ton of books advising you that the key to business success lies in connecting with your passion.
They tell you that once you connect with your true calling in life, nothing will stop you from turning that passion into a wildly successful business.
Every morning, you will spring out of bed and dive head first into your day, making money at a million miles an hour as people are swept up in your unbridled enthusiasm for what truly motivates you in life.
In my opinion, it’s all just romantic fantasy!
Creating a start-up in an area that you know and understand can be helpful, though it’s not essential. Being passionate about your business and determined to succeed is essential. But connecting with some higher purpose is unnecessary.
First, it gives people permission to procrastinate. Rather than getting out there and giving something a go, they spend endless time (sometimes years) on some mystical search for the one thing that ignites their passion.
Most will never find it. The few that do will rarely act on it.
Second, it links business to some kind of journey of personal enlightenment. There is no doubt that you mature as a person running your own business, but if your true objective is personal growth, do a course or read a book.
Personal growth is a by-product of running a business, not the objective. A start-up is so all-consuming, so high stakes, that any motivation other than to make it a screaming success is doomed to let you down when the going inevitably gets tough.
The bottom line as I see it is that you go into business because you think you can make something a success. You might be passionate about the area, it might make you feel good, but they are all nice-to-haves. The key question is whether you can make money out of it.
A person I know has built a massive electrical contracting business from scratch with a partner. Were they necessarily passionate about electrical contracting? Not a chance. What they knew is that they wanted to start a business and they saw an opportunity they thought they could exploit.
They have worked hard over about a decade to now be running a multi-million dollar business. Luckily for them, they didn’t spend that decade searching for their higher commercial calling. They got out there as nothing more than hard-nosed businessmen.
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