The Entrepreneurship Equation

What it takes to succeed.

November 22, 2022

By no means I would consider myself a particularly talented, or good entrepreneur. However, along my journey of building different ventures, I encountered some keys that I believe are essential to successfully building companies and projects. These keys are lessons I encountered myself, but also quite frequently are things I learned from other entrepreneurs I got the chance to speak with over the last few years.

Probability (Entrepreneurial Success) = Hard work x Persistence x Learning x Reflection

Firstly, we need to acknowledge that building ventures is not a single variate problem you are solving. There are perhaps a thousand factors contributing to your (company’s) success. Although there is a broad set of factors helpful in predicting the success of a particular venture, the entrepreneurship equation above represents the paradigms needed on a personal level serving as predictors of long-term success.

First and foremost, hard work is required to get anything off the ground. It’s a lot of long hours working on things that do not work. Many hours handling customer calls and fixing their issues. If you are not proactive and have the needed discipline to work hard, you will have a tremendously difficult time succeeding in this career path.

Even though hard work is required, another aspect related to this is persistence. You need to have the resilience to fail many times while getting up one more time. You need to bring the persistence to trust in your plans and ideas and stick with them. One thing that’s for sure is that your first idea will not work right away. You need to stick with it and make it work. Hard work x persistence is the fundament needed for any entrepreneur to make progress and overcome something that Seth Godin calls The Dip.

A third component needed is learning. If you are working hard and are persistent in your plans and ideas but do not learn from your failures, you are essentially running in circles. You need to fail forward. Using every problem and failure as a data point to improve your judgment and view of the world. Without learning, all the hard work and persistence are useless. That’s why you need to develop a crystal clear vision of analyzing things that do and do not work very quickly.

Lastly, I believe genuine reflection is an underrated ingredient for entrepreneurial success. In the end, your goal should not be to become an entrepreneur for the sake of becoming an entrepreneur. It’s more about finding something to do with your time that aligns closely with your purpose and your why. There is no point in spending years of your life doing something that you don’t enjoy. That’s why reflecting truthfully on what you are doing is so crucial in figuring out the right direction in your life. Is it a different problem you want to solve? A different business model? Or a different career that suits you best after all? Those questions need to be answered continuously. Only if your venture aligns with your purpose you can be successful on dimensions beyond financial returns.

The ingredients of hard work, persistence, learning, and reflection are to me the bow you possess to fire an arrow. The arrow is a business idea. And there are many arrows you can fire. However, you need a working bow to start with. And those four keys are what define a working bow to me. Do you have what it takes to build a working bow?