Successful Entrepreneurs Know These Two Things

For small business owners and entrepreneurs, there are two things that you will eventually come to know—the sooner, the better: One is about what to expect and the other is about what to depend on.

A Proverb for Businesspeople

Proverb: a short, meaningful saying that states a general truth or piece of advice.)

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.

Have you ever read this before? It’s often attributed to U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin, from a book he published in 1758, but I recently learned that he was quoting an earlier source; it first appeared in the 14th Century.

I’ve sort of told a half-truth, though. It wasn’t written as a proverb for businesspeople. Yet, it relates well to them. Read it again:

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.

What do you think it means? How do you think it applies to an entrepreneur or small business owner?

Change Is Not the Only Constant Thing

Well, now I am reaching back to 500 BC with Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose opinion was that change is the only constant thing in the universe. I’d like to modify this slightly:

In your business, challenge is the only constant thing.

That is the first thing an entrepreneur must eventually come to know (the sooner, the better). Expect challenges at every level. Don’t get upset. Don’t freak out. Expect challenges and handle them as they come.

A lot of people who start a business think that the only challenge is, “How do I make a lot of money?” They believe that as soon as they get their business built up and the money starts coming in, the challenges are over.

I wish it were so, but it isn’t. As you grow, you’ll face more challenges of different kinds. For instance, at the time of MOBE’s greatest growth, I found myself having to handle a competitor who, for many months, has been feeding off of our traffic for the purpose of trying to discredit MOBE and drive our traffic to his offer.

This presented several challenges, such as finding the time to address the concerns of our affiliates and the public regarding this competitor’s false statements about MOBE. And let me tell you, lawyering up is also a challenge financially.

So, large-scale success doesn’t mean challenges are over. Your product runs its course; you have to dream up new offers to keep people interested—challenge. You’ve got to delegate activities to other people so you can devote more time to the highest-paying activities—challenge. And on it goes.

The Power of One

I frequently mention that as an entrepreneur, you will learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. Sometimes, you’ll achieve breakthroughs—moments of clarity when the truth hits you—before you get any real success or failure.

Back in 2009, before MOBE existed, I was an affiliate for another online company. I had invested $40,000—all the money I had, really—and wasn’t making any sales. Different from what you get with MOBE, this company had no back-end sales team and I had to do my own phone sales. They didn’t provide any online presence and I had to learn to build my own website. They conducted a webinar for new prospects every day. You’d direct your leads to it and then call them afterwards and close them … hopefully.

So there I was … I’d quit school and was at home, working this thing full-time. Eventually, I figured out how to generate leads and started to get a steady flow. I wasn’t too skilled on the phone back then, so when the time came to close deals, I’d lose. They always had some reason for not moving forward.

One night, after losing what I felt for sure was going to be my first sale, I said, “That’s it.” I had enough of it. My head hurt. I was frustrated and I felt like screaming. (Maybe I did.) In my mind, I blamed my sponsor and the company for lack of help. I blamed the system.

I gave up and went running. That was all I could do at the moment.

In the darkness, I ran, my attention on only my breath and the ground under my feet. Suddenly, it came to me: I was alone in this business. I was the only one I could depend on to get results. I could not control my sponsor or the company or the “system.” I could only control myself and my actions. At the end of the day, my results were my responsibility and my responsibility alone.

It was after having this breakthrough that I made my first sale and commission.

What about That Horseshoe Nail?


So, have you given much thought to that Ben Franklin proverb? Let’s read it one last time:

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.

I think, business-wise, it’s easy to see that “the rider” is you, “the battle” is the building of your business, and “the kingdom” is your success.

If you fail, you can’t set the responsibility of failure on the stable boy (who should have handled that issue with the nail). Rather, the rider—you—had the responsibility to check the horse’s hooves to ensure that the shoes were nailed tightly in place before you rode off.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have help, but you need to have a thorough knowledge of the tasks you delegate so you’ll know if they are being done correctly … or not. That’s a subject for another article, though.

Expect that there will always be challenges and remember to only depend on yourself to meet them.

(Matt Lloyd, founder of MOBE)

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