Do you know what you call an entrepreneur who’s NOT “hungry?” A starving entrepreneur.
The simple truth is that if you’re not hungry enough for the business to get out there and do whatever is necessary to do…if you’re not willing to dedicate the time and hours needed to make your business thrive, and just as importantly, to make sure it keeps thriving in the long term, then you’re probably not hungry enough to be in business in the first place.
And, the odds are that you won’t be for very long. The market is ruthlessly efficient at weeding out those who aren’t hungry enough to survive and ultimately to thrive.
Hunger comes naturally when you’re first starting out. You tend to treat each and every sale and each and every customer interaction that might lead to a sale like it matters to your very survival. Because in the early days, it does! That one extra sale could mean the difference between keeping the lights on for another month or sitting in your office in the dark wondering what to do next.
The fact is that the calculus doesn’t change once you find success. Each and every sale still matters. It still spells the difference between the life or death of the company you’ve poured so much of your passion, time and energy into. But, once you find a certain level of success it’s a little (and sometimes a lot) easier to lose sight of that.
It’s easy when you’re flush with the success of a breakout hit and to sit back and bask in the glory of that accomplishment. You feel as though you’ve “made it.” And on a certain level, you have! At that point though, the trick is staying there.
What you’ve done when you achieve that first breakout success is to have mounted the tiger. That’s a big accomplishment in its own right. But, the real challenge is in staying firmly planted on his back so he doesn’t throw you off and eat you for lunch! And to do that, you must stay lean and hungry. You’ve got to be thinking about solutions to problems that haven’t arisen while anticipating the needs and desires of your customers before they know they have them.
As for the customers, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to demonstrate that you genuinely want and care about securing their business. That means something to you. They are not just numbers in your ledger book somewhere. Although it might not appear so from where you’re sitting, you need them a whole lot more than they need you.
Without customer, you don’t have a business. Without you, they’ll simply hop to your competitor who IS willing to go the extra mile. Whoever is just a little bit leaner and hungrier and willing to do what it takes to earn (and keep) their business.
This is not to say you can’t sit back and relax for a brief period and enjoy your accomplishments. But, “making it” is not a real destination at all. “Making it” is an ongoing, iterative process.
Once you’ve achieved one goal, once you’ve mapped out one frontier, a new one will inevitably present itself. When it does, you have a choice to make. You can either sit comfortably surveying your domain or you can plunge headlong into the new wilderness and blaze new trails.
If you stop moving, you’re giving your competition a chance to catch up and ultimately overtake you. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking, either in absolute terms or in comparison to your competitors.
The hungry entrepreneur is the one who is always moving. Always striving and trying to find new ways to take his or her business to the next level.
It’s just a part of the lifestyle we have chosen, and that’s something to know before you make the leap.
Once you have made the leap, that’s something you need to take great care to never lose sight of because the moment you do, that’ll be the moment you stop pushing yourself.
That will be the moment you stop testing your limits, looking for solutions, scanning the horizon for competition that has not yet appeared and preparing for the day that it does. It’ll also be the day you start taking your customers for granted.
For the entrepreneur who is not hungry there’s a path of failure and ultimately starvation.
Be hungry so you can avoid starving!