Keep that fire in your belly burning

As an entrepreneur, you have shown that you have strength, belief in yourself, skills and endurance. What is the most important trait? I will get back to that later in this chapter.

Another question – what is the most common characteristic amongst those peers that have most success?

I will come back to that as well.

Let me tell you my story of how I became an entrepreneur. It started in 1977. I had just bought my first business – a moderate size ceramic distributorship in a small city in Upstate New York. It was the culmination of a thorough search for something I believed in and was prepared to live with for the rest of my career. Why ceramics? Well, I knew a little bit about it, but not much. Why I bought this business had more to do with many other fctors. See a separate chapter about finding a business to buy.

I was an international executive having worked with a couple of the world’s leading global enterprises. This 15+ year career took me to executive positions from my native country, -Sweden– to Spain and later to theUSA.

Why switch to something as risky as buying a small business and giving up all the perks you have in a big corporation? I wish there were an easy answer to this, but there is not. It is something hard to define, inside you. A quest for freedom, for the ability you are convinced you have to stake your future on your own capacity to succeed, to make your own decisions.

There is another important side to this – you need to have your spouse on your side. I did and I still do. In retrospect, having your life’s partner sharing your dream has meant more to me than any other part of my decision.

Also, an important point – my decision was made from inner drive, not as a protest against my ex-employers, which were excellent companies where I had cut my teeth. 

The day after closing on my new business, I was driving home reflecting on what I had just done. My heartbeat went through the roof. I had to stop my car, open the door to a great summer day and feel my heart calm down as I sucked in the air. I had done it!

Have I ever regretted it? No.

I bet that you – the reader of this book – have felt that same drive, the urge to be your own, feeling the rush when you finally could turn the key and open the door to the world of entrepreneurship. .

My message in this chapter is – do not ever lose sight of this drive. Do not ever try to do something else. Because you will not be entirely happy. It is not in you to do anything else with the abandon it takes to succeed, really succeed.

What makes you successful?

The underlying reason is your complete dedication to your job. You risk everything. Being smart, you know that ongoing education is key to success. So you read everything - not only books pertaining to your chosen field, but also about business in general. The more you learn and know, the higher the odds are that you will succeed. You have figured out that  managing your own business demands a lot, the primary requisites being knowledge, ability to be flexible in thinking and feeling and to learn from your mistakes. Without those traits you will not survive in the rough environment of small business. 

I admire you. Our country was built on entrepreneurial strength. Unfortunately we see little understanding of this from today’s government. But guess what? Without us, any government will eventually fail and make room for us again. Can we survive an environment that is hostile to us? With determination and endurance, yes we can.

Are there times when you feel down?

If there were not, you would not be human. With enough arrows in your quiver, you can overcome. Which are the arrows? Answer: energy, knowledge and character – as described. 

There were times when I felt down and temporarily lost. I lacked the energy I usually had. Should I give up? No, was the answer from my inner voice. Think about a solution. I usually found that I probably had been too tired, worn down and in need of rest. So resting helped.

But my biggest weapon during these times of self-doubt and depressed feelings was to sit down and update my business plan. I read the previous one, found holes in it and discovered that much had changed. I also felt that I had new arrows available – and I decided to pull the bow close to the breaking point and let them fly

Here lies the truth for all to learn. Planning stimulates you. It is not only basic to any business, but has pulled me out of a depressed state more than once. Try it – it works. One of the great benefits is that it makes you concentrate on what you know is productive and promising. Armed with a new plan you believe in, makes you feel you can face the world and its obstacles. It will have that effect, over and over again.

We all have a great story to tell.

All entrepreneurs are net contributors to our environment, our community, our country. We have so much to tell, it would be a crime not to tell it. 

What we have to tell gets richer as you grow older, more experienced and able. 

Remember the questions I asked about what all successful entrepreneurs have in common? Well, here are he answers. THEY HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME. THEY HAVE ENDURANCE!

Accept that you live in a complex environment and update your brain everyday with more experience. In times when you need stimulating thought, remember this and embrace it. Time is on your side. More days of fighting for growth and profits add to your data bank and increase your odds for continued success.

So, stick with it, will you?


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© 2011 by Rolf E. Ericson, Oneonta, New York, publisher. All rights reserved. Photocopying, reproduction , copying, or redistribution of any kind in printed or electronic form is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.