I make a conscious effort to only work with founders who’ve developed a resilient mindset for small business success. From my experience, this mindset leads to small business owners not only having an unparalleled drive and determination to reach their goals, but also a willingness to look beyond any challenges to see opportunity.
Several years ago, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of documentaries were very popular, garnering a lot of attention in recent years. The series, which chronicles high profile personalities, important events and impactful stories from the last three decades, were nothing short of compelling. One of my favorites was “Arnold’s Blueprint,” a 12-minute film that highlights the unlikely story of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Like most of you, I enjoyed his movies, but his background in bodybuilding fascinated me. What I didn’t know was how it all began and what he had to go through just to get to the U.S. It can all be traced back to his strong conviction, belief, even in the face of seeming impossibility. The only person who believed he could be successful was him. Everyone else thought he was crazy to pursue a dream they thought would never materialize.
If you have the time, I definitely recommend viewing the video.
For those wondering, what Arnold Schwarzenegger has to do with business, I say a lot. Of all the clients and potential clients I talk to each day, less than 5 percent have an idea and a drive so strong that it’s apparent they’ll be successful—or die trying. Those business owner who share this resilient mindset pour energy, in addition to a lot of hard work, blood and sweat into their idea, one that, if successful, could lead to the life they have long hoped for.
They don’t spend much time thinking about failure, largely because they don’t have to. It’s a fixture, like the clock on the wall, always present, always looming, never silent. The short film of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which continually highlighted his drive, determination and resilience, made me think of the traits all resilient small business share.
1 – They have a strong belief in self.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times: It’s not about the product you produce. The best small companies are run by folks who hire and align themselves with folks who are as passionate about their products and/or services as they are. They don’t spend time with listening to what can’t be done. They are busy making it happen. Anyone who does not share their vision is not suffered for long.
2 – They view obstacles as temporary.
Maybe the most powerful moment in the film was when Schwarzenegger said that, as a teenager, he committed to doing anything he had to do to be successful. Nothing would stand in his way. And if you watched the film, you saw that he had some serious hurdles to overcome.
I’ve noticed that the local business owners I work with who have the greatest chance of success don’t have fewer obstacles to jump over. In many cases, they have more impediments. But the stiffer the challenge, the more resolve they have to overcome those challenges and any others that comes along. It’s palpable…the level of desire they have.
3 – They understand that success takes time.
In the last year I turned down over a dozen potential clients, often when I could least afford to do so. The reason: They expected success to happen overnight. Not literally, mind you. But they had unrealistic expectations based on their product, the market and their product’s place in the market. What would likely take a year or more was expected to happen immediately, so I declined, as painful as it was at the time.
Conversely, the companies that have the greatest chance of success typically have owners who are prepared to devote the time and the resources to getting the product or service to its rightful place in the market. They have a belief in what they offer, and with that belief comes as level of conviction that seems to focus them less on the time it takes and more on the time need.
These are just a few of the things that occurred to me during and after I watched the film. What strikes you after watching it?