Success is about how you stand out in a crowd, make a mark, and do things differently. For an entrepreneur, that is what differentiates the successful ones from the rest. In a journey fraught with challenges on a day-to-day basis, how does one embrace success? A lot of the responsibility for this lies on the shoulders of the entrepreneur and their approach to problems and challenges. One of the best examples of not letting challenges get in the way is Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba Group, who faced rejection as many as 30 times (even including an application at KFC) before becoming a successful entrepreneur and the richest man in China.
Here is how you can stand out and succeed by taking a different approach to problem-solving:
“Problem-solving leaders have one thing in common: a faith that there’s always a better way.” – Gerald M. Weinberg
Successful business leaders take problems as an opportunity and focus on their positive aspects. There are very few issues that can’t be fixed, overturned, or resolved if approached calmly and rationally. A fresh and calm mind will also keep you motivated during stressful situations, and let you see different perspectives and problem-solving approaches. Succumbing to pressure will only bring your morale down while serving no tangible benefit at all.
A successful entrepreneur also remains dynamic and acts according to the situation. They don’t remain fixed upon the theories and the fundamentals. It is the nature of problems that they rarely remain fixed and constant; no sooner have you solved one issue when another takes it place. Similarly, it is important for entrepreneurs to constantly adapt and adjust according to customer feedback, competitor’s moves, and market trends. For example, Apple trifled with consumer electronics before focusing on developing computers and software before returning to consumer electronics and wearables when the trend picked up speed again.
Facebook also evolved from a simple ‘Hot or Not’ clone into the huge social media platform it is today by exploring elements beyond just networking, including advertising and monetization schemes.
Every successful entrepreneur has an effective team, consisting of the most realistic problem-solvers. A company or startup’s future depends upon its working professionals. If your team is good, you will easily face difficult situations, and a poorly constructed team will face difficulty in overcoming even the smallest obstacles. Delegating work to different heads makes workflow easier, so delegate, delegate, delegate.
You need to appoint the right employees and then trust them to do the jobs you give them. Do you remember ‘the two pizza rule’ by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon? He said in a TEDx talk that if you can’t feed your team with two pizzas, that means your team is too large to handle. According to him, handling a large team can cause miscommunication and often stall projects. To get rid of this, Jeff sticks with small teams and delegating tasks to employees he knows can get the job done in the best way.
One of the important things successful entrepreneurs do differently is that they spend time on analysing the end-results and the outcomes of their actions. Analyzing your efforts helps you in many ways, from measuring the success or failure of your hard work to keeping track of your customers and their interest in your products and services. According to Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin Group, the key to measuring results accurately is customer satisfaction. Timely feedback from clients can help improve products which add to overall growth. So, measure the results of your projects and use the findings of your analysis to make improvements to your future work.
Last but not least, pick your areas of work carefully. Your individual experiences, training, and background will give you an edge in solving problems in some areas instead of others. Understand where your skill-set and knowledge can be used to the best advantage, and focus on creating solutions to problems in that area. Too many entrepreneurs fail because they get tempted to start up in a sector they have no previous knowledge or experience of. Play to your strengths, and you will already have made a headstart on the path to success.
Every entrepreneur/business leader has a unique way of approaching problems. What works for one has no guarantee of working for another. However, the points listed above are a good guide to start with. The next time you face a seemingly insurmountable problem, remember to keep a calm head, analyse it rationally, and focus on the solution, and you’ll be moving past the hurdle before you know it. Good luck!