Twelve steps (guidelines) to entrepreneurial success

  • 2001-10-18
By Paul E. Adams

"Success is a journey not a destination." Ben Sweetland

The other day I received an e-mail from a reader thanking me for pointing out the mistakes to watch out for as we strive to establish a successful business. He feels, however, I have not offered enough positive guidelines to being successful. Rightfully so since this is a topic I have been wishing to write about for sometime. Thus, in my next 12 columns I will write about the ever-popular topic "how to be successful" which I will title the "12 Steps to Entrepreneurial Success."

Drawing from my personal experiences as an entrepreneur as well as my research having analyzed dozens of books, papers and reports on success - some of them worthwhile, others destined to oblivion - I have discovered a common thread I think you will find helpful and rewarding.

To start with, many think success in life or business comes down to luck. It may be for some but not for most. As you cannot control lady luck during the next 12 weeks I will suggest 12 steps which are within your control. Most students of success believe getting what you want out of life is 90 percent you and 10 percent luck.

Most feel successful living can be a cultivated habit if you wish it to be. Failure and despondency are also learned patterns of behavior - and not enjoyable ones.

What is success? It is achieving whatever we wish to accomplish. It does not have to be money, prestige or power - a successful life is building the kind of life you wish - smelling the roses and enjoying the many pleasures of daily living. Regardless of your circumstances, it is possible to be thankful for life itself. We can always strive to build a better life. The only one saying no is yourself. Although we can employ our talents to reap benefits, we too often use the same talents to make ourselves miserable. A simple example of self-induced misery is envy - it stills the pleasures of who we are and what we have.

I believe we all can enjoy successful lives. But why are some successful and others not, even when most want the trappings of success - the money, luxury, power and recognition? For those that inherit position and money the externals of success are present, but real success is not. Success in my opinion is accomplishment, what ever that accomplishment may be. Entrepreneurs who are enjoying the fruits of their efforts agree that success in business requires skill, resources and positive behavior.

Is success all hard work? No, many who work with great effort find success eludes them. Is it charm and personality? It may be for some, and it may be short lived.

Can everyone be successful? To some extent yes - as true success means a life which brings a sense of satisfaction and well being. Celebrity status or riches may be success or may be luck but is not bestowed on all who strive for such.

Do you have to have special talent to be successful? It helps, but it is not a prerequisite. The prerequisite is you and your approach to life.

Some psychologists say we have a choice of being happy or miserable. I think there is some truth to such claims, but unfortunately, many do not realize the choice is available.

Next week, we will start our series with step one: The importance of learning to understand ourselves. Or, who we are and why we do what we do - because before we can understand the motives and behavior of others, and become that successful entrepreneur we wish to be, it is necessary to look at our inner self.