If it was only aptitude, based on education and training which ensured the success of an entrepreneur, then a lot of iconic companies wouldn’t have seen the light of day. The founder of the Virgin Group of music records and airlines fame, Richard Branson did not even have the ability to complete high school, but later launched into a successful entrepreneurial journey.
A revolution wouldn’t have uprooted BBM in one sweep if Jan Koum, an immigrant from Ukraine to the US, hadn’t dropped out of college to enter the workforce. After working at Yahoo for a long period he came up with the WhatsApp mobile messaging service which created history. Closer home among the young blood, India’s youngest millionaire Ritesh Aggarwal, dropped out of college after three days of joining as he found it a waste of time. Eventually “OyoRooms”, was born which changed the budget hotel landscape in India. The only common thread which runs through these diverse people is their attitude. Their attitude was the architect of their self-confidence.
So, what is it that made the likes of such people, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg chuck formal education to take the entrepreneurial plunge? Passion for what they believed in was the strongest motivator to walk the difficult path of an entrepreneur for them. Coupled with an unshakeable faith in what they were doing is what bound them to their passion. In the words of Job, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” It is this fearless attitude which motivates employees, enchants investors and wins over clients.
With startups mushrooming all over the place nowadays, many of the competitors will have the same traits. But, the key to over take the competition and last the grind to achieve success is mental; and definitely reflected in one’s attitude. Resilience and ability to bounce back are also important attributes.
An attitude to treat failure as a learning curve and start over from scratch has often made many an entrepreneur bounce back.This has often given birth to a new product or entirely changed technology and approach. Also,they possess flexibility in their vision to bring about rapid change which has often proved to be beneficial in turning around floundering fortunes.
Venture Capitalists, have been known to invest money in an individual who faced failure founding a startup, than in someone who never tried before.
A quick review of most of the millionaires thrown up by the startup success stories throws up surprising similarities. Inspite of having it all, they are down to earth, compassionate and retain their core values -the ones that actually got them started. Facebook’s Dustin Moscovitz of Facebook, still rides his bicycle to work. Jim Payne of Mopub, which was acquired by Twitter made sure his employees got the best deal and made atleast 36 out of 100 of his employee’s millionaires.
He turned down three offers for acquisition which would have made him a lot of money to hold out for the one by Twitter ($ 350 million) that secured his employees also. The winning attitude which has helped these founders grow is that they cared about more than just profits.
A combination of these attitudes made these entrepreneurs good leaders, who were able to unite their team towards one goal. A fully synergised core team is essential for that extra edge in an organisation. At Paypal, Peter Thiel told his cofounders and employees to work together as friends rather than as employees. As a result, Paypal was very successful.
But, the team members were able to help each other to create new startups like Tesla, YouTube, Spacex, LinkedIn, Yelp etc. which now have a total market capitalisation exceeding $60 billion.
An attitude of extreme curiosity has played a large part in driving such entrepreneurs to new grounds. A thirst for knowledge has been key to their evolution in a highly competitive market. This keenness to learn, get feedback and get criticism has made them seek out and socially connect with diverse people with different abilities. They positively engage with their mentors, clients, suppliers, and even employees.
Airbnb invites it’s guests and hosts to fill out evaluation forms. Taxi aggregators like Uber encourage clients and drivers to rate one another. This is why they are able to adapt and reinvent situations to their advantage because they’ve listened and learned well.
In the startup world, while skills are important, attitude makes one a winner. It is finally their infectious optimism which captures the hearts and minds, imaginations and ambitions of people within and in the world at large.