I've read hundreds of articles, listened to countless interviews with entrepreneurs and read about them in many books, and there’s one thing they all have in common. One thing that an entrepreneur needs. And it’s not risk ignorance. It’s not intelligence. It’s not even unending positivity or charisma.
There is one trait that stand out amongst all other traits that entrepreneurs, successful and otherwise, have. It’s the one thing that actually makes you an entrepreneur.
Let me say that again; an entrepreneur needs resourcefulness.
Just to make sure you got it; resourcefulness
There are, of course, many other attributes that will help, but with this one thing, everything you do, everything you are challenged with, becomes less difficult.
Here’s a few situations that will require you to be resourceful: -
A) You'll get punched in the face
I'm not a huge fan of Mike Tyson, or boxing in general for that matter, but there is a quote that is attributed to him; “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face”
As an entrepreneur, you’ll get punched in the face, often. No matter how well you plan things, someone, somewhere, usually when you least expect it, will metaphorically punch you in the face. Perhaps even literally.
The supply deal you were banking on fell through at the last minute.
The funding you were “guaranteed” you would get doesn't eventuate.
Your co-founder turns out to be a complete bastard.
Resourcefulness will get you through. A resourceful entrepreneur will find a plan-B where there previously was no plan-B.
Steve Jobs is a perfect example of resourcefulness. Sacked from his own company, he had the resourcefulness to not only get back on his feet, but create two successful businesses (Next computers and Pixar) and return triumphant to Apple with the plans for one of the most transformative devices in the last 100 years. Resourceful.
B) You have so little to work with for so much of the time
Time, cash, people, networks, customers. The list goes on and on. When you are first starting out, nothing is in abundance. You have to make do while your competitors seem to have everything they could possibly need at their disposal.
The term “lean” isn't just a buzzword, it’s a way of life.
Resourcefulness helps you find the best software that you can afford, and helps you make it work for you.
Resourcefulness helps you reach out to people who can help you, and build your network.
Resourcefulness helps you build a world class product on a shoestring budget.
If you haven’t yet read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, please put this at the top of you reading list.
C) You'll need to MacGyver the shit out of something
Last minute disasters. 11th hour opportunities. Previously unspoken design requirements.
Instead of saving the day with a paperclip, a piece of chewing gum and a discarded tin, you'll save your business with a tenuous network connection, obscure shareware software, and a handshake deal with a partner.
Resourcefulness helps you to find the things that you need to get the job done, whatever it might be.
Resourcefulness helps you to cobble something together to make enough of an impression on your client/investor/partner.
D) You have “X” but you need “Y”
Starting out, you never have everything you need. If you look hard enough, though, you'll find you'll always have something that someone else wants.
Resourcefulness helps you to find a way to upgrade, trade, swap, barter. If you need “Y” and you have “X”, find out who has “Y” and what they would give up for it. They might not want “X”, but if they want “Z”, you now only have to find someone who has “Z”. Put the pieces of the puzzle together and you'll soon have your “Y”.
Here’s an interesting story about the resourcefulness of trading.
E) You will have more challenges than you ever thought any human being could ever be faced with
Resilience is great. It helps get you through the tough times. When the tough times keep coming though, it’s resourcefulness that will turn them around.
You'll be faced with more challenges that you ever thought possible.
Resourcefulness turns the impossible challenges into the improbable. When something is improbable, it always doable.
Will resourcefulness guarantee success? No. Nothing will do that. No matter how resourceful, smart, well connected, wealthy, charismatic or bold you are, you will always be faced with the probability of failure. I say probability rather than possibility because the likelihood of failure is much higher than the likelihood of success.
What resourcefulness will guarantee, though, is that when faced with failure, you will have the tools to overcome it and forge ahead towards your new goals.
I am a success enabler, with a love for solving difficult challenges.
My focus is on helping other entrepreneurs get started and achieve success.
Want to learn more? Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.