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The Seven Secrets to Overcoming Adversity in Business

Every entrepreneur is looking for “lightening in a bottle” when they are starting or considering starting a company. However, as research has shown time and again, a large number of entrepreneurs fail. Sometimes they fail because of adverse conditions beyond their control; sometimes it’s bad timing for a truly great idea, but very often failure occurs not because of a bad idea or business model—it’s the unhealthy behavior of the entrepreneur.

Success leaves clues; therefore there must be some common behaviors that successful business owners (or just successful human beings in general) possess. There are a constellation of attributes that must be maintained to bring a good idea or business model to life. There are an enormous number of pitfalls that an entrepreneur can fall into as they proceed toward their life’s goals, the key to negotiating this path is not only a matter of overcoming obstacles but to have the proper mindset before the inevitable obstacles are faced. Moreover, success is rarely due to a single action or characteristic, rather it is the balance and synergy of a number of actions and characteristics.

Many researchers have delved into this topic and tried to distill what the common characteristics are of entrepreneurs who succeed and overcome challenges. Most of them have come to very similar conclusions. In this case, there are seven key characteristics that have been identified as leading to entrepreneurial success.

Following my discussion, you will:
• Understand why behaviors are so important, perhaps more so, than the idea or business model
• Know the seven “secrets” (characteristics) to overcoming adversity in business
• Be aware of how these “secrets” work as a whole
• See the value of seeking input from others you trust to challenge your attitudes and assumptions

The video discusses the seven secrets to overcoming adversity in business.

The first major point to understand is the interaction of a business and the behavior of the driver of that business. Success has been found to be less contingent upon the business and more so dependent on the behaviors of the person running it.
Successful entrepreneurs have the following in common:

1. Ownership – they take on responsibility and invest themselves. When things go wrong they are responsible and take the lead in fixing them. When things go well, they share credit and uphold the achievements of the team.

2. Results rather than process – they keep what they are trying to accomplish foremost in their mindset and always push to achieve that desired goal rather than getting hung up on the details of the process. This allows them to be less resistant to change and organizational development.

3. Prize relationships – they understand how their success as an entrepreneur is bound up with those who work with them and benefit from the achievement of their goals. They are genuinely interested in nurturing relationships rather than just dealing with employees and customers.

4. Persistent – they never give up. This doesn’t mean that they refuse to rethink their strategies or tactics, but it means that they stay committed to the results they are after.

5. Intelligent self-interest – they are judicious in their interactions and keep in mind how those interactions benefit them. They avoid people and situations that are detrimental to their success.

6. Focused – they refuse to allow themselves to be side-tracked and maintain their “eye on the ball.”

7. Disciplined – the motivation from their goals makes them work diligently and intelligently toward their focus.

Important Points:
It is stressed that the seven characteristics must be in harmonious balance rather than trying to maximize each of them. For instance, it would ultimately be self-defeating if an entrepreneur focused on nothing but their employees and their issues to the detriment of the results the business is trying to achieve, the reverse would be equally disastrous. These seven characteristics must be kept in tune with one another like a symphony orchestra—no single instrument drowning out the others.

Very often entrepreneurs can become very monoptic especially during the start up phase of their enterprise. It is important to have an advisory board or trusted outsider from the business whom the entrepreneur can consult with to check their vision. Objective feedback is a key way to avoid becoming too single-minded.

As Ron Finklestein discussed in the closing of the video, the sustaining theme of an entrepreneur is passion for what they are doing. From this passion will spring the underpinning of the seven “secrets” that will allow the overcoming of obstacles and get the business through the adverse times. This passion gives the entrepreneur laser-like focus and persistence on the results they desire. It makes them take responsibility or ownership for their business and keeps in their minds how others are a part of their success. Finally, the passion makes the successful entrepreneur disciplined yet not so rigid and resistant to change that they don’t check their assumptions with trusted advisors.

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