Does True Entrepreneurship Mean Winning at All Costs…?


As with all other related activities, and pursuits in life succeeding at entrepreneurship does not fall into your lap. It takes a very specific, and combined skills set e.g. superb mental agility, maturity, resilience, physical prowess, vision, introspection, ambition, dedication, realism, harnessing the power of others, zest etc. to ascend to the top tier. Start-up entrepreneurs often quit within the first few weeks of launching a new venture, because of the constant bombardment of obstacles that they simply did not anticipate, or sufficiently catered for when dreaming up, and designing the business venture – and whilst many go back to the proverbial drawing board, and return ready and prepared for round number 2, there are a magnitude that are left gutted, disillusioned, and ‘’battle scarred’’.

Whilst it is an honourable notion; true entrepreneurship definitely does not mean winning at all costs.  In our pursuit of greatness, and single-minded focus on success we easily lose touch with the immense transformational power that adversity, and failure holds. A military concept that I got taught almost two decades ago serves to illustrate the point; ‘’blood spilled on the training field, saves blood in battle…’’, simply put it is encouraged to make mistakes, which prompts you to succeed.

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Furthermore if you do not experience hardship in setting-up, and steering your business, and only cling to the seductive power of success your fall from greatness, or that inevitable crash-and-burn would be that much more spectacular. Bill Gates, undoubtedly one of the most prolific industry giants of our time was quoted in saying ‘’success is a lousy teacher, it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose…’’.

To nourish your entrepreneurial spirit go and research what your business idols had to say about their journey to success;  you would come to the realisation that those entrepreneurs that build their success from starting off with next-to-nothing, would admit to the many hitches (similar to your own) they had to endure on their way to eminent success.

In order to jumpstart your exploration, I have put together some best practice insights, (with my own gems cunningly hidden) to set you off to winning ways:

  • In order to make an omelette you have to crack a few eggs; don’t be totally averse to taking risks.
  • Have a passion for what you do, and what you believe in; in difficult times that passion might be the only thing that sustains you.
  • The more effort you put in, the more reward you would ultimately reap.
  • De-clutter your thoughts, and focus on the vision, and mission you have envisaged in your business plan.
  • Curiosity did not kill the cat; he is alive and well, and living on a beach in the Bahamas…. Ask as many questions as you need to.
  • Roll-up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty; get intimately involved in the workings of your business.
  • If you are afraid of losing money, the chances are that you would not make money either.
  • As much as you want to blaze your own trail, don’t be afraid to follow the huge imprints left by others.
  • Learn to trust your instincts.
  • If you’re moral compass does not point true north, throw it away and get another one that does.
  • Treating people with honesty, dignity, and respect should be part of your business inventory.
  • Keep abreast with market trends, and developments; be agile change course, and reinvent your business strategy.
  • Don’t get sucked into the ‘’make money quick’’ mentality; the quickest, and safest way of doubling your money is folding it in half.
  • Explore, and get to know who you are; knowing yourself equates to selling yourself.
  • Learn how to harness the power of constructive criticism.
  • Find the 10 smartest and most relevant people in your industry, and read everything they produce.
  • Your reputation is your foremost marketing tool.
  • Do not underestimate the power of saying yes; say ‘’yes’’ to opportunity and figure out the details as you go along.
  • At some stage you are going to be required to open your mouth to speak, shut up and listen, or to present what you have written; learn how to communicate effectively.
  • You don’t learn one single bit from dealing with easy customers all the time.
  • A customer complaint is a blessing; it affords you another opportunity to get it right.
  • If you cannot build a bridge between yourself and a customer hire an engineer; get the right people on board to compliment your business.
  • Do not promise clients the earth, moon, and stars if you are not equipped to take them on a space trip (do not oversell, and under deliver).
  • If you are in the business of fishing, make networking your trawler; the more carefully selected people in your network that you can draw inspiration from the better.
  • Assume your clients are all Goldfish with limited attention span – keep the information you share with them concise, and to the point.
  • Don’t focus on selling a potential client who you are; sell them what you can do.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; diversify…
  • Celebrate the small victories, as if they were major feats.
  • Don’t go to war with a peashooter; build an arsenal of competitive intelligence.
  • Constantly re-assess, re-strategise, re-design, and re-enforce to keep your venture current.

With all being said one of the most fundamental truths of entrepreneurship, is that you ultimately determine your own success or failure – regardless of the market, economics, politics, or any other contributing factors to business. Success is within your realm, and reach; sometimes it just takes a fundamental mind shift to achieve.
Startup Entrpreneurs
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Johan Fourie is a 39-year old management professional, with close to two decades of working experience predominantly within the defence and security industry. During his tenure, he had an opportunity to get exposure to a wide array of industries e.g. warehouse -, hotel -, casino -, mining -, corporate -, retail -, residential -, and facility security management. Johan’s passion for the security industry is evident in his published work which, focuses around providing the consumer of security related products, and services with valuable, and thought provoking insight to further the protection of their human capital, personal security, business operation, property, and product. Johan’s ambition extends to managing a national / Sub-Saharan Africa corporate security concern, and he is open to explore an opportunity in this particular regard.