There are so many factors that go into determining the success of a business/entrepreneur. Factors I often think about include appetite for risk, type A personality, bootstrapping, creativity, intelligence, hard work, diligence, hunger, passion, drive, process, cash management, etc. The list can go on and on. This weekend on a call with my little sister my thoughts on the subject simplified. She is in a college entrepreneurship course at BYU right now and she needed to interview an entrepreneur. I don’t know if I was the best choice to interview 🙂 but I was certainly the easiest choice. She asked me a series of questions about starting a business and characteristics of entrepreneurs. As we talked it became clear in my mind that the simple key characteristics for successful entrepreneurs is that they need to have “The Guts to Start and the Grit to Finish”.
I don’t want to downplay all of the other factors that are involved but I think most people fail because they either never start or they don’t have the patience, determination, and ability (GRIT) to toil through the hard times, usually years, to finish. You have to have both Guts and Grit to succeed. In my experience I have ran into a lot more people with Guts than people who have Grit. These are the dreamers, the idea guys, or those who have nothing to lose. They have the great idea but aren’t prepared to see things through. (By the way, I think ideas are worth about 5% of the business and execution is worth 95%) If someone falls into this category they have two choices; 1. develop Grit or 2. partner with someone who has Grit. I think Grit is something very hard to develop and would advise most people with Grit not to partner with someone who doesn’t have Grit.
I used to think I would win as an entrepreneur because I was smarter, better funded, or could work harder than the next guy but I have learned that most great businesses and entrepreneurs took years to grow and develop. I have had the Guts to start and hope that I continue to have the Grit to take my ventures from infant to mature businesses.