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How Do You Know If You’ll Be Successful

By Brett Fox

When times were really rough, I would get Avery’s magic eight ball. I would ask it, “Do you think we’re going to make it?” I would shake the eight ball and wait for the answer to appear in the triangle. The answer came back, “Prospect Good.” My fear was over for a day. The magic eight ball said we were going to be okay. Then, the next day I would shake the magic eight ball again. This time the answer came back, “No.” “It must be a mistake,” I said to myself. “Today, it’s the best two out of three.”

So, I shook the magic eight ball again, and this time it came back, “Yes!”. I breathed a sigh of relief, but I still had one more shake to go. So I shook the magic eight ball really, really hard and this time it came back, “Maybe.”

 

And that about sums up the life of an entrepreneur, doesn’t it? It’s a big maybe.

Unfortunately, no one can tell you, not even the magic eight ball, whether or not you’re going to succeed. But there are leading indicators.

Here are my eight leading indicators of entrepreneurial success:

A. You have a great idea.

Warren Buffett has a great way of looking at businesses. He always says if put a great team in a bad market, the great team’s reputation will fail.

You can be the entrepreneur on the planet, but you will fail if you have a bad idea.

You want an idea where you are 10X to 100X better than the competition. Or you want an idea where you unique and different in a meaningful way to your customers.

But that’s just the start. Then…

B. You’ll need grit.

If you’re not prepared for the ups and downs of that you’re about to encounter, then you’re not going to make it. You’re going to be tested in ways you never were before.

And what gets you through the tough tests is grit (Read: What’s The One Trait All Successful Entrepreneurs Have?).

Grit is the ability to keep getting up, time after time, after you’ve been knocked down. And, unless you’re really lucky, you’re going to get knocked down a few times.

Grit is great. And grit is essential. But you’ll need one more thing too…

C. You have to be fanatical about your business.

Fanaticism is a critical part of success. You really need to love what you’re doing if you’re going to make it through.

Fanaticism is one part obsession and one part grit. And you’ll need both if you’re going to succeed.

It’s great that you’re fanatical about you’re business. But…

D. You’ll need to be able to recruit truly great people.

It’s unlikely you’ll get there on your own. You’ll need great people too. So you’re ability to sell people on your company and your vision are going to be crucial if you’re going to succeed.

Then, to keep these great people…

E. You need to be generous.

How do you intend to split up your equity. If it’s like the great business philosopher and musician George Harrison said, “It’s one for you, nineteen for me,” that’s not going to work.

You’re going to need to be fair and generous with your equity splits (Read: How Much Equity Do Your Employees Deserve?). You’ll also want to be fair and generous with the credit.

Give your team all the credit, and take all the blame. You’ll build tremendous loyalty.

Oh, don’t worry about getting the credit. You’ll get that anyway because you’re the CEO.

Then…

F. You are appropriately frugal.

Sometimes success can come down to having enough money to make it through one more week. And the way you get there is by being frugal.

Don’t waste money on things that don’t matter. But spend money on things that do matter like hiring great talent.

And…

G. You need to be an effective communicator.

How are you going to convince people to join your team? How are you going to convince customers to buy from you? And how are you going to convince people to give you money?

The answer is you need to be able to communicate. Work hard on improving your communications skills. It will pay off.

Finally…

H. You don’t whether you’re going to be successful, but there are signs you will be.

And that’s as good as it gets because there is no 100% fool-proof methodology of predicting entrepreneurial success. Sometimes you can do everything right, and you’ll still fail.

That’s part of being an entrepreneur. So shake your magic eight ball, work hard on improving your skills and hopefully the answer becomes, “It is decidedly so.”

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