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Not Everyone Is Going to Listen to You

Not Everyone Is Going to Listen to You

Today you have had the most brilliant of ideas that is going to cut costs dramatically for your company, increase productivity for your team and make the world around you a much better place to be in.

And today, no one is going to listen to you.

Think of the last time that you had this great, incredible, amazing idea and you invested a significant amount of effort to setup a meeting, prepare a presentation, practiced your pitch, etc, etc, only to have it fall on deaf ears because no one wanted to listen to it.

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This isn’t about how you could have crafted your pitch better, this is about how, in that moment of solemness and dejection, you need to pick yourself up and learn to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to want to listen to you and move forward.

They aren’t Ready

First and foremost, it’s not that people don’t want to listen to you, it’s that they are not ready to listen to you.  When someone wants to listen to you, they are prepared for something new coming their way, they are leaning forward with interest and desire in what ideas you have and are generally seeking your thoughts and guidance.  When someone is not ready, they haven’t prepared, they might not understand the problem and the need for something different and they might be a part of the need for change.  All these factors (and more) push people into a position of not being ready to receive your ideas and coming into the conversation as skeptics to your ideas, when you really needed them to be cheerleaders and converts.

Change is a very hard thing for some people and where you might be someone who is prepared to implement and adopt change at a moment’s notice, not everyone is like you.  So take some time, breathe and figure out a way to turn them from not wanting to listen to you, to making them ready and eager to listen to you.

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You Missed Something

In every group, there is a Nitpicker.  The person who analyzes every detail and pokes holes where things could go wrong – whether they are valid or not.  Their true purpose is to sew decent and confusion among those at the table that this new idea is not ready – you didn’t do your homework, you didn’t come to the table prepared, you didn’t look at all the scenarios.  They put all the effort for following up next onto you.

They are hoping you will give up.

But you can’t and won’t, because even in your zest to bring about this new idea you might have missed a few crucial details but they have missed the bigger picture of what could be accomplished when the details are ironed out.  You forgot something, you’re human, it doesn’t mean your idea doesn’t have merit, it means it needs polish, it means it needs refinement, it means it has value.

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The Wrong Crowd

You hear this a lot – “it’s not for you, it’s for them” – and it’s true, it’s true in everything you will do.  You will come up with great ideas, you will have innovative solutions to complex problems and you WILL break the mold – but it will not be for everyone.  Where you start with your idea and who you first show it to, does not necessarily mean that these will be the consumers of this work.  It means that they are the first ones to hear about it from you.  Think back to when you had a great idea to do something and everyone shunned it, but then a few months later you took the same idea, presented it and everyone loved it.  What changed?  The crowd – either those people changed and realized it’s benefit or it was a whole new set of people.  Whichever crowd it was that now loves your idea and didn’t in the beginning, it simply means that it wasn’t for them, but for the people that you are now with.

So what’s the lesson?  Not everyone is going to listen to you.  And that is okay.

Just because you are feeling dejected, solemn, down, beaten it doesn’t mean you should pack up, give up and go home.  It DOES mean that you need to take a step back and look at whether the people were presenting to were ready for your idea, are those even the right people or are you talking to the wrong crowd and maybe you need to iron out a few of the remaining details to keep the nitpicker at bay and turn from skeptics to converts.

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These are the hard times, where the focused are separated from the flimsy – picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, re-tooling their ideas and suggestions and pushing forward to make an impact.  And we need you, we need you to keep pushing the envelope and suggesting new ways of doing things, raising the bar and pushing the edges.

So please, don’t give up, get up and get back into it.Don’t stop being a change agent – New ideas will always get knocked down, it’s up to you how long to keep banging your head against the wall or leave

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Greg Thomas

Software Architect

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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