The ultimate goal of every entrepreneur is to succeed – and to be happy doing it. But not every entrepreneur gets to achieve it. Indeed, hundreds of new businesses are launched every year but success eludes most of them.
One reason is that entrepreneurs are faced with some of the most difficult questions on a daily basis – and how they answer them could depend on if the startup sinks or swims.
To ensure success, here are the three most important questions entrepreneurs must answer.
1. What are my goals as an entrepreneur? Most entrepreneurs find it difficult to separate their personal goals from their business goals. And that makes sense. Think about it, entrepreneurs are often trying to turn their personal passion into a business – and just need to find others to help achieve their goals. While I get that sometimes they are linked, the ability to separate your goals can help you focus your personal growth and the success of your business at the same time. So set goals.
You are more likely to achieve something significant if you ensure your goals are specific, measurable and attainable. For instance, some entrepreneurs want a lifestyle business while others prefer a highly scalable tech business. Or some entrepreneurs have exit strategies and others may refuse acquisition proposals regardless of the profit they will personally make.
Define your goals right from the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. It will guide you to know what to embrace as an entrepreneur and what to avoid on your way to success.
2. Do I have the right strategy? What are your short-term and long-term strategies for achieving your goals? Successful entrepreneurs know what they need, who they have to bring on board and how long it will take to achieve their milestones.
Having this blueprint will help clearly define your vision, attract the right people and ensure there is a game plan for your decision-making process. Plus, having these strategies in place can guide you through the problems and confusions that come with being an entrepreneur.
When you create your strategy, employees, investors and partners should be able to understand why you are taking a specific path (hopefully, one that focuses on the bigger-picture growth). If they can't, you may need to make refinements.
3. Can I execute the strategy? This question is probably the hardest to answer. Great ideas can't guarantee success. Most entrepreneurs are failing because they just can’t execute a brilliant strategy. (Even with funds, people still fail because of poor execution.)
This is why investors invest in people, as they want to be sure the founders are capable of executing on their promises. Almost everybody can put together a great document that spells out what he or she wants to accomplish but not everyone can execute on the best plan. And this is why teams are so important.
Your team is your greatest asset as an entrepreneur. If you hire the right and smart people, they will figure things out when things gets tough.
Once you are able to successfully get past the hiring stage, focus on building a great culture that makes room for creativity, as your workplace environment has a big influence on how well you can execute on your strategies.
Entrepreneurs must constantly ask themselves tough questions about where they want to go, what it takes to get there and how to get there successfully. Your success depends on finding the right answers to the tough questions.