Mark Zuckerberg is a very farmiliar name many aspiring entrepreneurs wish to emulate. Only 27 years old and already a billionaire and getting ready to take his company public; the floatation, if successful, will be the highest amount raised on the Stock Market by an on-line business.
So what attributes do people like Mark Zuckerberg have that sets them apart from the averagely successful entrepreneur?
1. Ambition: This is the strong desire to attain something, and this desire fuels your actions to achieving your goals. It is said that Zuckerberg started facebook to increase his success with girls (as purported in the movie The Social Network) . Evidently though, Zuckerberg re- adjusted his ambition to a much bigger one.
2. Vision: This is the clear picture of where you want your company to be in the future. Facebook had a vision of keeping things simple and focusing on ‘connections’. The people at Facebook deserve credit for recognizing the need for a real directory of people, not merely users. Before Facebook, it was nearly impossible to actually find people, you could “google” them but finding the person you wanted within one search wasn’t a given. One thing to note here, extension of people search and connecting them was certainly evolutionary at the time Facebook started and it’s worth noting that most successes are not radically new but extensions and improvements of existing paradigms.
3. Execution: Ideas are worth nothing. Success comes from execution on the idea. Facebook started with bare-bones features but kept adding features and functionality as they went along. Stay focused, keep shipping.
4. Determination: President Calvin Coolidge is quoted as saying “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Zuckerberg never relented in the face of lawsuites and public outcry on privacy issues, he just kept pushing Facebook forward.
5. Luck: Mark Zuckerberg was lucky he met Sean Parker who later introduced him to Peter Thiel. We never know, Facebook would have remained a school project popular among Ivy League schools in the US, or it may have been bought by Yahoo. Luck plays a very important part in success.
I also call this divine Grace.
6. Timing: Facebook launched first on Harvard, then expanded to other colleges; relocating to California; refusing Viacom and Yahoo!’s offers; closing his deal with Microsoft. Facebook did not rush onto the Stock Market which has set them up for the high valuation they presently have.
Don’t rush into a business deal just because it looks fantastic. Weigh your options and don’t sacrifice your long term advantage to short term benefits.
So there you have it, six traits that make a successful entrepreneur. The first four are within your control while last two don’t give you any chance of control.