Entrepreneurs see the potential in situations where others see obstacles. They see challenges as exciting, not scary. In light of World Entrepreneurs Day this month, and knowing that the past 12 months have been filled with more obstacles and roadblocks than ever before, I wanted a look at how business leaders are managing today’s environment.
How can they change the world in a world that is constantly changing? Why is it important that entrepreneurs are encouraged to persevere through difficult years in business? What has been their inspiration over the past year? What advice can they offer other entrepreneurs based upon what this year taught them?
I have connected with five of the most influential and bright entrepreneurs to answer all these questions.
1. Keep your head up in the face of difficult times: Alyssa Ruderman, COO of Lantern
Alyssa Superman, Lantern CEO, believes that it is crucial for entrepreneurs to remain motivated in difficult times. “As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to see the forest for all the trees. A button is more than a button. If all pitches are linked to your larger vision, a rise is more than just a pitch. The lantern was created because we believed it was a necessary tool for the world. We still do. We know its potential to help people in their worst moments. This is what helped us get through all the rejections.
Lantern employees use Slack to share feedback and a section in the intranet to give user feedback. It is a constant reminder of the human impact that their work has on others. Alyssa believes this has been one of the most significant sources of inspiration, motivation, and success over the past year.
2.Embrace the power data: Lu Zhang is the founder and Managing Partner of Fusion Fund.
Lu Zhang, a founder of Fusion Fund and managing partner, said that measuring success in the last year was about supporting founders through pandemic-related challenges and helping them accelerate their growth. Zhang explained that investors need to be qualified to help founders take advantage of opportunities.
It was necessary to improve the company’s data analysis approach. Zhang explained that while venture capitalists often describe how they invest in technology companies, it is also a traditional industry. “The business model, the structure of the deal flow, and the way that founders work with each other have remained the same for over 30 to 50 years. We now turn our attention to data analysis. Data analysis is a valuable tool for VCs to make better decisions. It is advantageous when it comes to deal sourcing and evaluation, founder vetting, and industry trend and opportunity analysis. We achieved a lot of success by incorporating data into our operations.
3. Stay true to your roots. Ken So, founder, and CEO at Willful
Ken So, founder and CEO at Tillful, says that the key to staying motivated as an entrepreneur and successful is having a positive outlook and being bold when faced with challenges. According to So, “History shows us that it’s in the tough years that businesses and entrepreneurs flourish.” “Many of the ‘unicorn’ companies today were founded in 2009 during the financial crisis. Successful people see opportunities when others see difficulties. For entrepreneurs to have an unfair advantage, they must think this way.
So’s a company is committed to helping small businesses access credit to reach their full potential. Our core mission was our priority, so we spent much time listening to the problems of customers. We talked to dozens of customers and prospects about their concerns, needs, and hopes during the pandemic. These inspiring stories fueled our team’s determination to act and lead to our new product direction.
4. Larry Clarke, CEO of NanoGuard Technologies.
NanoGuard Technologies teams felt motivated after last year’s experience. They were reminded of the desire to achieve more than just financial success. Larry Clarke, a CEO, said that a CEO told the CEO of NanoGuard Technologies at a large multinational company that NanoGuard’s technology is “the most interesting technology since refrigeration.” This was the encouragement we needed to push on.”
Clarke said that entrepreneurs should remember to have grace and to rely on their support system. He said, “While it may feel like you need to do everything perfectly,” he explained. It is essential to let go of the feelings and find someone trustworthy who will listen and give you honest feedback. While everyone loves to hear that they’re doing a good job, it is also essential to acknowledge the areas that need improvement. A trusted advisor is worth their weight.
5. Sean Miller, President at PointCentral, believes success should be measured beyond your financials.
PointCentral’s president, Sean Miller, discovered that success is more than financials. It was a massive benefit to his company. “2020 was a financial whirlwind for our business. We had both good and bad times. We have other metrics than pure revenue and profit to define our goals. We could see how our organization worked to achieve these goals by monitoring how each department performed through critical objectives and critical outcomes.
PointCentral also introduced new operational tools to enable us to thrive in the face of our challenges. “We bolstered our customer service team and began using communication analytics tools. This allows us to communicate more easily with the team as well as gather data from customer conversations.
These business leaders are proof that entrepreneurs can overcome the uncertainty of COVID-19 and remain optimistic about the future.