Earlier today I was talking to a tech investor about different startups in Atlanta. Towards the end of the conversation he asked what I thought were the main reasons why some entrepreneurs succeed and others don’t. It’s a great question that doesn’t have an easy answer. See, there are a number of entrepreneurs that seem to have it all going for them, yet they fail miserably. Conversely, there are a number of entrepreneurs that seem like they have a slim chance of success, yet amazing things happen.
Here are the three main reasons entrepreneurs succeed:
- Market Timing – A seemingly good idea with poor market timing is a bad idea. No matter what the entrepreneur does, if the market isn’t ready, it isn’t going to work out. Market timing matters much more than more people realize (see Bill Gross on market timing).
- Resilience – The entrepreneurial journey is a grind, especially the first few years, which are especially hard. I know entrepreneurs that had to pivot multiple times over multiple years before figuring out something that worked. Having the internal fortitude and locus of control makes a big impact.
- Must-Have vs Nice-to-Have Product – Too many products, especially tech products, are nice-to-have apps that do something that’s OK but not revolutionary. This is especially hard because it’s not always obvious early on just how valuable and impactful a product can be before it’s fleshed out (see Candy, Vitamins, and Pain-Killers).
Other aspects like the team are incredibly important but I’ve found these to be the three main reasons entrepreneurs succeed. When a resilient entrepreneur has a must-have product with great market timing, awesome things happen.
What else? What are your top three reasons entrepreneurs succeed?
3 thoughts on “3 Main Reasons Entrepreneurs Succeed”
Ability to attract a great team.
Deep knowledge of problem space/market.
Right balance (which shifts over time) between focus and vision.
Another big reason I have seen entrepreneurs succeed is by having enough capital. I have seen startups fail because they were so greedy on the intial capital raise that they did not have any “wiggle room” to make errors or course corrections. Conversely, I have seen entrepreneurs have several misfires and still eventually succeed because they were “bulletproof” and had enough capital to have “stay power”.
Leadership and ability to cast a vision. Most great entrepreneurs I know have a team of people that will follow them over a cliff because they believe in the leader. That dedication creates a winning team and a winning team can win even when the product isn’t quite ready, when the funding is low, etc.