Can Anybody be an Entrepreneur? (Part 2)
Nobody is born an entrepreneur. I am not aware that anyone has discovered a gene that particularly makes a person a successful entrepreneur. But years of being an entrepreneur and understanding the life lessons of many successful entrepreneurs has brought me to the conclusion that there are certain behavioral DNAs that contribute to one’s success in business. In the first part of this article, I mentioned a couple of them — hard work and a risk-taking attitude.
Third, you cannot be a successful entrepreneur if you are easily disheartened by obstacles and failures. All of us have faced, and will continue to face various obstacles in life. The same applies when you put up an enterprise. In fact, the problem is not the fact that you will fail. That is a certainty. The issue is how you will manage these debacles. The crucial thing is to view these obstacles not as roadblocks but as opportunities to do something better.
In my experience, it is a question of perspective. Everyone fails. Some of your competitors might actually be experiencing something worse. What I have learned from the obstacles and failures I have experienced in life is that every single hurdle you face simply carries you one step ahead of people who decided to give up. The path of least resistance is not always the most desirable direction. In fact, at the risk of sounding masochistic, success is achieved through a difficult path.
Fourth, people who cannot adapt will probably not succeed as an entrepreneur. The ability to pivot, to make adjustments is so critical in business. At some point you need to figure out what works and what does not. This is why entrepreneurs are so adept at adopting compared to government. Government takes a long time to realize that something does not work and sometimes an even longer time to pivot. But entrepreneurs know how to quickly shift gears, change direction and alter their course in order to keep moving forward.
Our real estate business, for instance, has always focused on horizontal developments but as Metro Manila population becomes denser, there came a huge trend towards building vertically. This is similar to Hong Kong in which every square meter of their small space became very valuable. We saw this and we now have pivoted to vertical developments.
And lastly, you cannot be a successful entrepreneur if you are always “nega.” Since my childhood, I have always had a positive attitude towards life. I grew up in a poor family that may not have had everything in life but our parents were hard working and I think looking back that made me value hard work and perseverance. Unlike the other kids in my neighborhood who would always have time to play, I have to get up early in the morning so I can accompany my mother to the market where we sell fish and shrimps. But that did not bother me. In fact, I look back to it with fondness. Now that Nanay Curing is in heaven I get to reminisce those times when she would hold my hand while we walk to Divisoria from our house in Tondo.
A negative mindset is not good in any setting. Among friends, who would want to go out with a “killjoy” (Gen Z readers should google this)? In your family, who would want to sit beside someone who always complains about things? In business, who would want to have as a partner someone who disrupts operations and depresses the entire team with their negativity.
I always stay positive even when things are down. It is not fantasy or escapism. But even if you know things are not good what good will it do if you just mope around and complain. I have developed the habit of facing difficulties with a positive attitude. I do not ignore the problem; I deal with it by channeling my positive energy towards overcoming challenges.
So, do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?