Will you do us the honor and join our team of authors?

To write for the SohoBlog, contact us at [email protected]
(Shakespearean prose not required.)

Drive, Tenacity, Persistence: The Key Behaviors of Entrepreneurs, Part 1

Important Note: this first post is part one of a six-part series on essential behaviors of entrepreneurs, as identified by Ernst & Young in the survey “Nature or Nurture? Decoding the DNA of the entrepreneur.” Read a summary of the report here.

Up until the mid-1970s, health clubs catered to people who were already in shape and into fitness. One young man who had hit 268 pounds by the end of high school managed to lose his extra weight through diet and exercise. He went looking for gyms that catered to regular, out-of-shape people, and couldn’t find any. So he started his own health club. And then he started making the rounds of talk shows. And then he started making instructional fitness videos. And all the while he traveled around America speaking about the benefits of diet and exercise. And 40 years later, that man is one of the most famous people in fitness. That man, of course, is Richard Simmons.

Persistence—and Richard Simmons personifies “persistence”—is a key behavior of the successful entrepreneur. You must be relentless in the pursuit of your goals, even in the face of obstacles and opposition. Ernst & Young note, “Almost by definition, entrepreneurial leaders need drive and tenacity to make their ideas succeed in the face of many obstacles. Along the way, these leaders will encounter dozens of people who will tell [them] that their idea will not work. It takes commitment to see past these naysayers and keep a long-term goal in mind.”

Richard Simmons could have just worked out by himself. He could have stopped after opening Slimmons, his club in Beverly Hills. He could have never gone on TV, never made exercise videos, never gone on speaking tours. But through the years he has been on a mission to share his vision, and he won’t stop “until it’s time for him to teach classes at the Pearly Gates,” according to his website.

As a beginning entrepreneur, what does it take to cultivate drive, tenacity and persistence? For starters, you need to pick a business that you truly believe in. If you’re not completely dedicated to your idea, if you don’t want to spend all your time on it, if you’re not willing to stick with it when times are tough, you’re probably not going to succeed.

Next, you need to have a plan. Write out a clear mission statement describing what your business is all about. Create a road map that identifies short- and long-term goals. Imagine possible obstacles to success, and map out ways to deal with them. In moments of doubt, these documents will remind you of your goals and steer you in the right direction.

Finally, you need to believe in yourself. It’s a cliché, sure, but it’s true: if you don’t believe that you can make it, nobody else will either. Surround yourself with supportive people. Write positive affirmations on Post-It notes and stick them where you’ll see them. Recognize your fears and use them as motivation. Above all, try to stay optimistic, even when it’s easier to see the negative. You can only do it if you believe you can do it.

Cultivating drive, tenacity, and persistence does not guarantee success, of course. There are plenty of driven people who never quite make it. But developing this behavior—especially in combination with the other five behaviors that I’ll discuss in future posts—will increase the likelihood that you’ll meet your goals.

And when you’re struggling, remember our hero’s story. Take a deep breath. Look at yourself in the mirror. And tell yourself, “I will be the Richard Simmons of my field.”

Related Posts

5 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Started In College
Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
Not Enough Time In The Day? 9 Productivity Tools For Entrepreneurs
Tags: , , ,