The Entrepreneurial Odyssey: Maintaining Focus and Execution
Becoming an entrepreneur is a great undertaking in every sense of the word, and those who make it are special individual whose journeys are often wrought with complications and interruptions. No matter what your goals are, your focus will waver throughout your entrepreneurial odyssey as you are faced with obstacles, temptations, and seemingly insurmountable challenges. Your “Cyclops” could be an unsuccessful funding round; your “Scylla and Charybdis” a moment when you placed your trust in unreliable partners. Navigating these choppy waters takes maintaining focus and execution a vital part of realising success.
In challenging times, it can be easy to let self-doubt rule, become complacent and abandon ship. In more temperate waters, opportunities may come along, a tempting siren call full of promise but contingent on the basis that you leave behind the journey that you had committed to.
Leaving behind the classical allegory, how do you stay committed to your vision and execute your way to success in the dark and light times that threaten to steer you off course? Here are some suggestions.
Know when to persevere with your vision.
Visions require a degree of flexibility when it comes to maintaining forward momentum, so learn to identify when compromises put at risk the integrity of your vision, or when pivoting (a common word in the startup world, but one that remains relevant nevertheless) is a necessary part of working towards your overall goal. Persevere throughout the tough times, because it is how you process and move past moments of discouragement that matters overall. Embracing change is not about uprooting your vision or values, but about learning how to alter your journey to proactively achieve your goals.
Spirits are likely to sink with every obstacle you encounter but don’t allow this to alter your path. Guard yourself against negativity and don’t let what others say or your self-doubt weighs you down.
Instil your enthusiasm and perseverance in your team.
You should be able to imprint your drive onto others so that your entire team is motivated to steer projects to success. Allow your vision to be a beacon of light guiding your entire ship because an entrepreneur cannot man the deck alone.
Clearly define the terms of your success.
How are you meant to reach the promised land of entrepreneurial success if you don’t know what it looks like for you? Being an entrepreneur is much more than being a businessman/woman. Entrepreneurs are not solely focused on making a profit, but on creating value, and making an impact on the world that is greater than the seams of their purse. Visualise your success and you are much more likely to be able to slowly work towards executing it.
Take examples from history.
Whilst the classical Homeric allegory acts as a fitting model for an entrepreneurs’ journey, you should be looking to the success (and failures) of other leaders to guide you. Observe and identify patterns from within startup culture and apply the practices you think will work for you – but remember, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all game. Other startup successes can help you leverage your growth as a business leader and entrepreneur, but they are not gospel.
The journey any business leader takes as they work towards realising their entrepreneurial vision will be exciting if nerve-wracking one. Follow the advice above but also find your ways of maintaining focus and executing your goals if you want to succeed. Every entrepreneur and every vision is unique, so there is no one recipe for success. Stay committed, stay focused, and stay strong.