In the dynamic world of startups, success often hinges on the ability to navigate uncertainty, figure out tough situations and adapt to rapid change.
As entrepreneurs we embrace the challenge of launching and growing our ventures, understanding we need a diverse set of skills to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities and invent the businesses we believe will change the world.
Convention wisdom from high profile advisors to prestigious accelerators will tell you success relies on having a talented team first, innovative product second and a robust market strategy to connect with early customers and demonstrate traction third. These core components are the legs of the chair and without any one, or outstanding execution of each, your time to ultimate disappointment is already ticking.
And sure, these three puzzle pieces are a meaningful way to measure startup potential — but too many people are missing the most important skill for startups.
The less obvious yet indispensable hidden difference maker is determination.
The Crucial Skill For Business Leadership
The creation of a company is essentially an act of making the impossible possible.
From the very beginning you’re painting a picture of something that does not exist. Which the majority of people will tell you isn’t worth it trying, that you should stop, give up and quit focusing your time on an effort that’ll never work.
Determination is the unwavering resolve to persevere, adapt, and overcome. It is what truly sets successful leaders and startups apart on their journey to success.
It is determination that lays the foundation for transforming aspirations into reality. In the face of setbacks, financial hurdles, and the inevitable roadblocks, determination becomes the driving force that keeps entrepreneurs focused on our goals to make the impossible possible.
Navigating Uncertainty with Determination
The startup landscape is inherently volatile, with unforeseen challenges lurking around every corner. A team member could quit, a customer could cancel or an investor could withdraw, turning your best laid plans upside down in an instant.
I still remember people saying to me when I shared our strategy at Nobody, “But no one has ever crowdfunded a venture studio—are you sure you want to do that?”, or “Building a 100 companies is too much, focus on a few a year and get them right first”.
In these moments of uncertainty, it’s determination that provides the strength to make bold bets, weather the storms and emerge stronger.
Breaking through uncertain situations creates grit and tenacity required to navigate the unpredictable journey of building a startup.
The Role of Determination in Resilience
Resilience is another essential quality for startup survival, which finds its roots in determination. It’s the ability to bounce back from failures, learn from mistakes, and forge ahead that ultimately defines the trajectory of a startup.
The last time I quit a full-time role was to join two other friends and launch a startup. I handed in my notice. Packed my bags, and moved to the US buzzing with excitement.
Two weeks later we knew the startup wasn’t going to work out. It hurt. I felt ashamed, how could I be so silly. What should I do now?
I remember asking myself, “Did you think this was going to be easy?” “Well no.” “So you expected building a startup to be hard?” ”Yes.” “Well, this is what hard feels like Barry, and that is why so many people quit at this point. So what are you going to do?”
That moment was enough for my determination to kick in. Enough for me to refocus, set goals and start taking action. I set two 3-month goals, went after them and hit them. Then I set another set of 3-month goals, and another. Before I knew it, the business I dreamed of creating was thriving.
Determination becomes the catalyst for turning setbacks into opportunities for growth.
Determination in the Face of Rejection
Startups are no strangers to rejection, whether it be from investors, potential clients, or industry peers.
It’s determination that transforms rejection into motivation, propelling entrepreneurs to refine their strategies, improve their products, and prove naysayers wrong.
In the early days of Nobody we faced more, “We love what you’re doing but we can’t invest” emails than you could imagine. From VCs to independent investors, they told us how much they loved our model, how different, fresh and frugal we were yet that’s where the conversation ended.
Each polite thanks but no thanks helped us. It provided clarity into who were the people we needed to reach, who were the people ready to go on the journey with us, and who would not.
We refined our target investors and ways to reach them. We learned to find which stones to turn over and what places to look to find the right people to be the best investors to be part of this journey with us.
Every bit of feedback you get is a gift. Determination helps you decide how you use the information you get—good, bad and rejections.
How Determined Are You?
In the grand tapestry of startup success, determination emerges as the unsung hero, the force that propels entrepreneurs beyond the visible challenges.
Big visions and long-term goals take a considerable amount of time to achieve.
While the teams, product innovation and a concise market strategy are undeniably crucial, it’s the unyielding determination to forge ahead, adapt, and overcome that truly defines the trajectory of a startup.
Determination ensures that leaders and teams remain motivated and focused on their vision, even when the initial excitement or novelty wears off.
As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, recognize the power of determination as the silent force that turns dreams into reality, setbacks into opportunities, and challenges into stepping stones toward success.
How are you working on your determination? It could be the skill that makes the difference in your venture; now or in the future.