Startup 101: Can you give what it takes?

Summary:Maybe it is the fact that my wife is giving a radio interview this evening on what it took to start her online maternity store. Or perhaps it's because I've been rubbing shoulders with a number of startups these past weeks at work that prompted this post.

Maybe it is the fact that my wife is giving a radio interview this evening on what it took to start her online maternity store. Or perhaps it's because I've been rubbing shoulders with a number of startups these past weeks at work that prompted this post.

In one of those moments, all the messages seemed to ask the same question: "What is the one quality that successful business leaders have?" The answer, it seemed, is the steely one-tracked mindedness to change the world--all the stops would be pulled out, even to the death.

Apple's Steve Jobs said, while attributing death to help him make the most important choices: "Because almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."

Bob Parson of GoDaddy saw 90 percent of the US$60 million he sank into the company disappear. In the face of imminent failure, he decided to go for broke because he saw the worst-case scenario as not being that bad. Eventually, he turned the company around.

Last week, I heard a senior lawyer tell young lawyers in small firms that if they wanted to grow their firms, they should take the pain and risk--if they believe they can change the world.

The business fields may be different but the message is common: the way you face your greatest giant is what determines your upward bounce, failure may not be as bad as you fear.

Topics: SMBs

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