Saturday, November 8, 2008

An Entrepreneur's Prime Ingredient

What is the most important trait an entrepreneur needs in order to succeed (and by 'succeed' I mean survive and even thrive) in the worst of times?

Is it their ability to envision?

Is it their drive?

Is it their communication skills?


It's their ability to BE AGGRESSIVE!

But what does this mean? Merriam-Webster has many definitions for aggressive, such as:

1 a: tending toward or exhibiting aggression b: marked by combative readiness 2 a: marked by obtrusive energy b: marked by driving forceful energy or initiative : enterprising 3: strong or emphatic in effect or intent 4: growing, developing, or spreading rapidly 5: more severe, intensive, or comprehensive than usual especially in dosage or extent.

So what do I mean by "BE AGGRESSIVE" then?

1) Make decisions fast and swift and stick by them. Why? Other's unconsciously follow your lead if you have Definiteness of Purpose. Customer's will gravitate to you because they will feel your aggressiveness and will naturally follow your lead. Employees will know they are putting their faith in the hands of someone that is NOT WISHY WASHY.

2) Do not let anyone falter from your decision. In other words, if someone says no to your decision, find someone else or make them follow it. That is aggressiveness at its core. If you are truly aggressive though, people will jump at your commanding decision and thank you for it.

What I don't mean is to be a bossy prick! I mean LEAD!


In other words, if it was a marriage, you would be the one making simple fast decisions. "Where do we eat tonight?" "Nandos at 8pm, wear something sexy!" And your mate would be there with wonder in their eyes.

In the case of your business, a client may ask, "Do you think we should advertise in the Star?" "No. Not enough turn over. We will use Kijiji and have 2 to 1 turn over. Ads will be ready by tonight." Your client will see you as an expert as you answered fast and decisively.

I remember a friend of mine. He was the most non-decisive entrepreneur you would want to know. We recently caught up with each other and he said something is different about me. You are more something. It was that I was more aggressive. Decisions made fast. Commanding!

Here are some hints to help you become more aggressive and survive bad times.

Practice: Command, don't ask. Know the data before commanding but DO command fast once decision is made.

Practice: Decide now, not later. Do not delay decisions. In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell describes our ability to make life-defining decisions in the blink of an eye. It is built into us to do this so DO IT! Practice this with small decisions first then move up.

Practice: Meet with people you have previously been wishy-washy with and make a decision. Call them and TELL them to meet you at Swiss Chalet and do not waver. If they say, "well what about going to Taco Bell?" say "No. Swiss Chalet is good. See you there at 7pm at the back table."

Being aggressive can be learned and refined. Remember that a majority of people want decisions made for them. "Should we buy the blue or the black"? They do not want to be responsible for the consequences of a bad decision but once someone makes the decision for them, it becomes more settled in their minds. Decisions HAVE to be made or nothing would get done.