Semper Fi! How The Marine Corps Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship

Building your idea into a business is an uncertain mission. Core values that don't bend under pressure are indispensable.

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By William Ballard

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The day I walked off the bus at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego, Calif., I was disoriented and in utter shock. Among everything I didn't know was the skills I would learn to become a United States Marine were the same skills I needed to succeed as entrepreneur. From day one, a Marine recruit is drilled with business and entrepreneurial training. Every Marine recruit learns four guiding principles. Every business professional or entrepreneur should learn and apply these, too.

Related: The North Star to Guide Your Startup: Core Values

1. Attention to detail. In the Marine Corps, this concept has to do with uniformity and order. Focus on every minute detail is often be what makes or breaks your business. Little things really do make a big difference.

2. Speed and intensity. In the Marine Corps, speed is more than just going fast. It implies the drive to reach the success that you desire. According to the dictionary, intensity means great energy, strength, concentration, vehemence, etc. as of activity, thought, or feeling. It also means a high degree of emotional excitement, or depth of feeling. There must be a level of passion and enthusiasm coupled with speed in every particular of your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Related: How to Train Your Brain to Stay Focused

3. Give 100 percent of yourself 100 percent of the time. Coupled with speed and intensity, this concept has to do with heart and courage. You get from your business exactly what you put into your business. If you give attention to detail, you get customer praise and support. If you give speed and intensity, you get response from your prospects and customers.

4. Semper fidelis. The Marine Corps motto, Latin for "always faithful,'' encompasses everything that a Marine is and does. The core values of the Marine Corps are honor, courage, and commitment, which is another word for faithful. Each one of these core values is practiced and recognized in each one of the three points that I have given above. A Marine is always faithful to his/her God, to the Corps, to his/her spouse and family, and to whatever endeavor they have committed to fulfill.

To succeed, an entrepreneur must always be faithful to their business venture. The majority of successful people will tell you they are successful because they never quit. That is another point that was drilled into every recruit at MCRD San Diego. Always have heart. Quitting is never an option. These philosophies and concepts can benefit your enterprise just as they have made the Marine Corps strong and successful.

Related: Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons: I Owe My Success to the Marines

William Ballard

CEO and Founder of William Ballard Enterprise, LLC

William Ballard is the CEO of William Ballard Enterprise, where he blogs about writing, publishing, business, and entrepreneurship.

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