The Importance Of Tenacity For An Entrepreneur

Last night I went to Home Depot with my daughter to buy a power drill she could use to work on her robot.  By the way, I’m happy to say that we are breaking gender stereotypes and that is a typical day at casa Moura.  Anyway, I’m not sure if you’ve been to the Home Depot on SW 8th but they must have had shoplifting problems there because they have a locked gate in front of each of the shelves where the tools are.  The lock has a combination that I assume they tell the staff. We were served by an older Hispanic gentleman who after several minutes of fumbling with the lock, clearly had forgotten the combination.  Not to be deterred, he muttered something, disappeared for a moment and returned with a small wrench, and proceeded to dismantle the part of the gate that held the lock so he could open it and get us our drill.  Does this kind of creative problem solving sound like anyone’s dad?

In any case, this display of sheer tenacity, made me think about the tenacity of successful entrepreneurs.  I can tell you were wondering for a minute how I’d make the transition to sharing something relevant to growing your business today!

I was reading a great article in Entrepreneur Magazine about how tenacity is even more important than intelligence in determining success.  Now we’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who failed multiple times but kept pushing through until they succeeded. JK Rowling was rejected by a dozen publishers before Harry Potter saw the light of day.  Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for having no imagination. Oprah was fired as a news reporter, and even Einstein was said to have worked for days on end on his mind bending problems. Oh and in case you think you’re too old to go all-in on a business idea, KFC was founded when Colonel Sanders was 56 years old and his secret recipe had been rejected 1000 times.

But what does it take to create that fire in the belly, and that feeling that you’ll never give up?

  1. Love what you do – especially because you’ll spend a LOT of time doing it.  Don’t go into a type of business because you think it will make money, do it because you love it so much that you lose track of time while doing it.  Your passion will show and people will naturally gravitate toward you.
  2. Put some skin in the game – If you’re still accepting money from your parents, stop it.  See Mariano for a loan. It wasn’t until Zig Ziglar got so low on cash that they cut off the power to his apartment that he really kicked his ass into gear to become a top salesman.  It’s like the difference you see in the kids who pay their way through college and the ones whose parents pay. Who do you think works harder to get an A?
  3. Focus – In previous weeks I’ve talked about the importance of eliminating distractions but consider this.  On average, we spend 5 hours per day on our phones, and if you think I’m kidding, then enable your screen time setting on your smartphone.  This means that you’re interrupting yourself on average 2-3 times per hour. So try this – for 1 week, only check your emails 3 times per day for 10 mins each, and try blocking times on your calendar where your team knows your phone will be turned off so you can focus.

If you listen to what VCs look for in a company, it isn’t the idea, it’s the team.  They look for tenacity because they know that an entrepreneur who doesn’t take no for an answer, can will their company to succeed.  Find that fire in your belly, even if you’ve been at this for a while and it needs a little rekindling, and you’ll be unstoppable.