When I have spoken to the founders of successful businesses, these original entrepreneurs who are now enjoying the satisfaction of seeing their dreams realised, I have discovered that there is a common characteristic amongst them all. This characteristic is the force inside them and was ultimately responsible in driving them to create, build and make a difference on their own terms.
Now this definition of “difference” varied depending upon who I spoke to.
One founder or entrepreneur, wanted to make it easier for families who had similar challenges as his son had living with the condition of autism and trying to be as independent as possible in their community. He in effect, wanted to make a contribution. Whereas another entrepreneur sought perhaps more significance through the accumulation of wealth and then using that as a vehicle for good.
Basically these entrepreneurs all wanted to be their own person, run their own show, fulfil their dreams, aspirations and life purpose without compromise or selling out, regardless of what that may bring them from time to time.
They Were Clearly Driven People
But there was also another aspect to this, from these same entrepreneurs in what they credited their success to. In fact, I soon discovered that there was a re-occurring theme.
Many of these entrepreneurs told me that they would not have been successful, not achieved the break throughs required, if it was not for the partners they reached out to. Now these were not always formal partners, in fact many were informal networks. However, what these entrepreneurs told me was that they first had to realise that in order to fulfil their dreams, they had to work with others – not on their own.
The Need To Collaborate
You see what these entrepreneurs realised was that differing skill sets were required, different capabilities and resources needed to be accessed, than what these startup entrepreneurs currently had themselves.
Now I have also spoken to many aspiring startup entrepreneurs as well. Many of them have yet to quit their “secure” jobs while still at the same time, grapple with their own internal voice “can I do this?”. One of the things that this group of aspiring entrepreneurs often mentioned was their desire to be on their own.
However, as an entrepreneur, my view is that if you are wanting to be on your own, you will fail. So the first thing you need to accept, is you need to build a team around you that can buy-in to your dream while also provide you with the necessary support.
In other words, do what successful entrepreneurs do or have done!
What are some useful partnerships then?
We could consider partners from a financial perspective as backers or investors and there are of course many different models such as Angel Investors to Cloud Funding.
We could also think about partners we joint venture with for business opportunities, that is, sharing each other’s networks for mutual benefit. For example, I may have a large network in a specific industry and my associate or collaboration partner, has a large network in a different industry but we know by working together it would be mutually beneficial as we can establish greater spread to get our message out there.
Operational Capability & Infrastructure
Another possibility is that at this initial stage of your startup, you lack the infrastructure to support your business. This might be a physical space; it might be technology, it may even be resources such as an assistant or call centre for campaigns. So you may consider partnering to access that capability while also bringing something to the table for you partner – might be intellectual property etc.
Now you still may like to do it all yourself – the finances, the business development, the infrastructure etc – well I guess you can, it just might take you longer though and you could miss the window of opportunity that you big idea could be filling.
Remember what the successful entrepreneurs credited to their success of the importance of reaching out to partners. However if that alone is not sufficient to influence you, think about what Tony Robbins continually says…
“Model somebody who’s already successful as success leaves clues”