I've always wanted to be a successful entrepreneur since young. At that time, I didn't know how to be successful and what being an entrepreneur entailed. While still a student in secondary school, I remembered my economics teacher asking me in class: "Kelvin, what is an entrepreneur?" I remembered just giving her a blank stare, unable to provide any answer. I really don't have a clue! Fast forward to today, with my many years of experience in the corporate and business world, I've finally learned what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are people who organize business ventures and assume all risks associated with the businesses. Entrepreneurs believe in themselves and their ideas and dare to take actions to create their own destinies. To be successful, an entrepreneur must be bold enough to perform 5 “daring” acts:
1. Dare to Dream
Successful people always begin with a dream. They dream big dreams and then pursue to accomplish their dreams no matter what and how long it takes. As a young boy, my dream was to become a successful businessman one day. Equipped only with the most basic business principle of "buy low, sell high," I started some part-time business activities during my secondary school days. With the pocket money that I saved, I bought electronic hand-held games, board games and books during warehouse sales at highly discounted prices and sold them to friends at mark-up prices for profits. I also created bonsai trees to sell for extra income. One is never too young to start doing business! Entrepreneurship has since become part of my life as I prepare myself to face the challenges of building business ahead.
While studying for my business degree in Australia in the late eighties, I remembered asking a part-time matured undergraduate who was 69 years old then, “Why are you still studying for a degree when you should be enjoying your retirement?” With determination in his eyes, he replied: “It has always been my dream to be a business graduate and I now want to realize it!” He has indeed kept his dream alive and earned his business degree 6 years later. You're never too young or too old to start pursuing your dream.
2. Dare to Risk
To be successful in life’s endeavors, we must dare to take some risks. The risks you take today would determine whether you would be successful tomorrow. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you risk capital expenditure to get your business started. If you want to become a successful network marketer, you risk rejections when you present your network marketing opportunity to prospects. If you want to become a best-selling author, you risk rejections from publishers after you submit your manuscript. No matter how you piece it, success demands risk. Are you prepared to take some risks to accomplish the success that you desire?
3. Dare to Fail
The only person that does not experience failure is one who does nothing new! Thomas Edison failed in more than 600 experiments before he finally created the electric light bulb. He could only see failures during the 600 plus experiments before the success came. What set Thomas Edison apart from the rest? He dared to fail, learned from the many failures, and finally progressed to succeed.
Encountering failures are steps closer to experiencing success if we learn lessons from the failures and keep trying. Many failed in businesses many times over (myself included) but they gained a wealth of invaluable experiences and lessons that money can't buy. Taken in good light, failures are learning experiences. To me, failure is the mother of all successes. Even babies failed so many times before they can finally walk. Like the legendary basketball star Michael Jordan said: "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Learn from failures, keep going and never give up!
4. Dare to be Different
Successful entrepreneurs don’t do different things, they do things differently. Look at Sir Richard Branson, a maverick billionaire entrepreneur who is the chairman of the Virgin-branded group of companies. Recently, Sir Richard Branson had a bet with AirAsia's chief executive Tony Fernandes. The men had bet, at the first of the F1 racing season, on whether Branson’s Virgin Racing or Fernandes’ Lotus F1 team would do the best. The loser was to serve as a flight attendant on a plane owned by the other's company. Sir Richard Branson eventually lost the bet and has to work as a stewardess in an sexy red AirAsia hostess uniform on a celebrity flight between London and Kuala Lumpur scheduled on 4 July 2011. Surely Richard Branson has differentiated himself and set himself apart from business leaders around the world.
What do companies like Apple, Samsung, and Bang & Olufsen have in common? They used bold designs to differentiate their products in a crowded marketplace to gain market share and build customer loyalty. These companies are creative and dare to be different!
5. Dare to Act
When you have an idea that is strong, clear, and powerful, it is important to act on the idea. Very often, people intended to take action when ideas strike and emotions are high. However, if they don't translate their intention into action soon, their passion would begin to diminish over time. Weeks later, the passion will grow cold and months later, that passion could be gone forever. All the successful entrepreneurs around the world would not have own successful businesses today if they didn't act to pursue their ideas to build their businesses.
If you want something, you must act to get it. Dare to act when others say it has never been done before. Dare to act when others say it cannot be done. Dare to act when others say your chances are slim. While there is no guaranty that you'll be successful if you pursue your dream, one thing certain is that you'll never achieve success if you don't try!
Dare To Dream Again!
Don't Waste Your Time!
The A to Z of Successful Living