Entrepreneurship isn't just about what you put out there. Sometimes, it's about the questions you ask yourself. Present the right queries to the man or woman in the mirror, and you may learn important things that will help you on your journey.
Joel Devidal is experienced in the business world and dedicates his spare time helping young entrepreneurs get their start. Experience, both as a CEO and a mentor, has proven there are 5 questions all entrepreneurs should ask themselves:
1. How Do You Handle Rejection?
There is one common experience all entrepreneurs share with writers - rejection. Every writer goes through tens, if not hundreds, of rejections from publishers and agents. Entrepreneurs will find their rejections more varied, but just as common. Some manufacturers will say no to your product. Sometimes, it's an investor who isn't swayed by your heartfelt pitch. People will say no to you, and you need to know how you're going to handle it.
Of course, certain people use rejection as inspiration. Others use it as a learning experience that will help guide them to do better. However you want to handle it, decide on it early. Failure will inevitably and consistently come to you, and you need to know how to manage its impact as soon as possible.
2. How Do You Take Others Succeeding?
Make no mistake - no matter how good you are as an entrepreneur, there will be many people who will either do better than you or seem like they're doing better than you. And when times are tough, as they inevitably will get sometimes, that can be a hard pill to swallow. It's even more disheartening when it seems like they got there with a fraction of the effort you put in. It can make it feel like a Sisyphean task, even if it shouldn't feel that way.
There are several ways to approach this. One, you can stop paying attention to certain accounts. People generally don't post their failures, only their successes, which can skew your perception of how things go. Two, you can remember that everyone has their own path. Yours might take longer than others, but it's yours, and it is what will work for you.
3. Can People Find You?
Some questions you answer aren't necessarily deep or thought-provoking but are still fantastically important. One such question is whether or not people can find you easily. It's a small thing, but in today's highly interconnected world, it's what people expect. If people choose to search for your name or want to speak with you upon seeing your startup and find it difficult to find you, they'll naturally begin to doubt the legitimacy of your offering.
Try looking yourself or your company up on search engines. If you don't pop up with a page complete with contact information, you have some work ahead of you.
4. Do You Pay Attention to the Details?
Being an entrepreneur is largely about the big picture. As the leader, you're the only one in the right position to look to the horizon, while you delegate much of the small stuff to your employees. However, that doesn't mean that you should ignore more minor details. In fact, the success of your startup can rely on those minuscule elements.
For example, working closely with a graphics designer to get the perfect logo for your brand can yield immense value down the line. A poor logo might not hurt you early on, but it certainly won't help you later. It might even damage your brand if it's bad enough. Get the small details down whenever it's necessary, and your startup will thrive.
5. What Defines You?
One of the most important questions you have to ask yourself is by what measure do you define yourself and your work. How you think of yourself and what metrics you measure your success by matter. They will not only drive the underlying reasons behind your actions, but they'll also have a tremendous bearing on how you see yourself and what you're willing to do. Narrow your definition of yourself and success too much, and you may find your options spectacularly limited. Too broad, and you'll lack direction.
Whatever you decide to judge yourself by, make sure it's something that keeps your options open. One of the most significant advantages a startup has is in its flexibility. Take that away, and it'll have trouble competing with larger companies.
These are far from the only questions you'll need to ask yourself as an entrepreneur, but they're certainly among the most important. They may be difficult to answer, but answer them you must. With knowledge as well as honest feedback will come clarity and purpose, two things every startup owner desperately needs to cultivate.
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