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Why an Entrepreneur's Ability to Innovate Will Make (or Break) Future Success If you're still early in your entrepreneurship career, it's essential to start developing an innovative mindset right away.

By Robert Finlay

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to entrepreneurship success often comes down to being the most creative or finding the most innovative solutions in your industry. If you haven't already adopted a mindset of innovation, it's not too late. You can develop an attitude of creativity and innovation with some learning and some practice.

If you're still early in your entrepreneurship career, it's essential to start developing an innovative mindset right away. You'll be glad down the road when you start seeing success in your future ventures. So why is being an innovator so important for an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship and failure go hand in hand

Failure is almost a guarantee in the life of an entrepreneur.

Only 25 percent of businesses survive 15 years or more. Many people give up on entrepreneurship after watching their business ideas go south. It's easy to get discouraged after a failure, especially if the failure involved significant loss. However, the ability to learn from failure is a key aspect of achieving success, and developing that ability requires an innovative mindset.

Successful entrepreneurs learn from their failures by reframing them as learning opportunities. This requires creativity and innovation. Most people don't realize there are numerous ways of viewing a problem. If a business can't produce a profit, the first thing most people think is to view it as a failure and move on.

Entrepreneurs don't move on

Instead, they continue to think about the experience in innovative ways. They look at it from every possible angle to determine what valuable information can be gained from the experience. They realize that every failure is a prime opportunity for becoming a more knowledgeable business person. After a number of failures, entrepreneurs become experts in their field, and they are able to apply their knowledge to every business venture they are a part of.

Stephen Ross is one of the most successful real estate entrepreneurs of all time, with a net worth of $7 billion, but he wasn't always so successful. Before entering the real estate world, he worked at a securities brokerage firm, but when the firm started having problems, Ross was let go. He didn't have any better luck at his next position at an investment bank. He was fired after a disagreement with a superior, leaving him with no money and no job prospects.

Ross then borrowed $10,000 from his mother and started building his real estate firm, which now has offices and developments all over the globe. He later explained that being fired was the best thing that ever happened to him. He stated, "Being successful, you don't go straight up. There's going to be obstacles along the way."

Ross' ability to handle obstacles allowed him to survive multiple real estate downturns and market crashes. His real estate company now owns over $50 billion in real estate assets.

Related: Why Failure Is Necessary In Order to Succeed

Creative problem solving is a must

The most successful entrepreneurs have honed their problem-solving abilities until they can confidently address any situation that comes their way. In the business world, especially in young businesses, problems will likely arise that no one has ever encountered, which means you'll have to come up with solutions on your own. If you don't get comfortable with inventing new solutions to new problems, your business will likely have some rocky times.

Sometimes entrepreneurs encounter problems that others have come across before, but no one has ever found a really excellent solution. If you can find a better solution than all the people who encountered the problem before you, it could become your greatest competitive advantage.

Maybe you're able to think of a solution to a logistical problem with shipping that everyone else in your industry already accepted. Or you might be able to find a way to reduce costs to make a sustainable profit. The key is to think more creatively than your competitors about the problems you face.

If you do that, you're likely to come out on top.

Success requires identifying a unique niche

Entrepreneurship is all about finding your place in the business world.

What can you provide to customers that no one else is providing? In 2014, Australian real estate investment firm, Mirvac, began pursuing a sustainability strategy. One of the most unique strategies Mirvac has pursued is converting unused parking spaces into urban farms.

The sustainability strategy has helped the company grow tremendously since its inception. In fact, a Mirvac survey found that 95 percent of people believe Mirvac has a positive impact on society. Now, the company has a worth of over $7 billion.

Mirvac found its niche in the form of environmentally friendly real estate development and investment. This helps them stand out against the competition and win over a specific customer group. In your entrepreneurship journey, it's essential to determine the unique strategy that sets you apart from everyone else in your industry.

Related: How to Find the Perfect Niche

A spirit of innovation creates lifelong success

Every so often an entrepreneur will coincidentally strike gold and achieve some success through luck rather than creativity and innovation. This is the exception, however, and not the rule. People who achieve success in this way are rarely able to recreate it in any other form.

If you want to achieve success in the long term, innovation is essential.

Whether you pursue multiple business ventures, or you build your first business into a lifelong project, it will require creativity to continue to survive in a constantly adapting and evolving business world. Develop your innovative spirit and you can feel confident that your journey of entrepreneurship will take you in the right direction.

Robert Finlay

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder at Thirty Capital & Lobby CRE

Robert Finlay helps operators and investors in the commercial real-estate industry generate market-beating returns. He has built multiple nine-figure real-estate tech products, including his primary focus, Lobby CRE. He recently released his first book, "Beyond the Building."

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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