7 Harsh Truths No Entrepreneur Can Deny

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Most people would prefer to live in a blissful illusion rather than a harsh reality.

Unfortunately, living in an illusionary bubble just doesn’t cut it, and in the long term you are going to face the consequences.

If you want to succeed in life, you need to open your eyes and see the world as it really is. This is especially true in the world of business where fairy tales and fantasies seem to abound.

It is shocking to see so many people walking blithely only to be woken up by a metaphorical punch in the face from reality.

For this reason, in this post, I would like to discuss a few painful truths that you should come in terms with, sooner rather than later.

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1) Nobody cares about your product

Distressing as it may sound, nobody in the world cares about your product. You, and perhaps your team, are the only one that cares about it.

Do you know what the only thing people care about? Their own welfare.

Just because you launched a product in the, already crowded, marketplace, it doesn’t mean that it is going to be warmly welcomed. In fact, the default reaction of the market would be indifference.

People want solutions to their problems, they don’t want extra products and complexity in their lives. Your product is only useful to them if it helps them resolve that issue they are struggling with.

As the famous quote goes:

“People don’t want a drill; they want a hole.”

A drill is the least worst option they have in achieving their goal, i.e. a hole in the wall.

As soon as you understand this, you will be in better position to truly serve your customers and build valuable products and services for them.

2) You are not entitled to anything

As a logical conclusion of the above, you need to understand that you are not entitled to anything.

Launching a business and referring to yourself as an “entrepreneur” and a “visionary” has zero impact on the world and grants you nothing.

Success will only come if you are able to provide enormous amounts of value to the marketplace.

This is similar to college students feeling entitled to a job and a career just because they are going to graduate after a few years of studying.

Guess what. You are entitled to nothing. The universe owes you nothing.

If you want to land a job and build a career, you got to work for it, fight for it and earn it.

If you want to make millions in revenues and profits as an entrepreneur, well, you have to earn that too.

3) You need to learn how to sell

What? Sell? You seriously must be joking, Ilias. Not at all.

If you believe that selling is reserved for a small group of people in an organization, you are mistaken.

The fact is that, whether you like it or not, you are selling every single day. This is not a matter of “if”, it is a matter of doing a good job or a bad job at it.

Every day you are selling. You are selling your product to customers, your vision to the employees, your success to investors and yourself to the world.

Learning to sell is going to give you a competitive advantage and increase your chances of success in a tremendous way.

Grab a few books on the subject, watch some sales masters at work and make sure to become at least functional at this valuable skill.

4) Revenue is good, but eventually you need profit

It still amazes me that some entrepreneurs are solely focusing on growing their top line with no regard to their business economics.

Now, do not misunderstand me. I totally agree that profit might be sacrificed in the short term in order to spur growth.

In fact, the more you “prolong the pain” by reinvesting everything back into the business, the larger and more powerful your business is going to become.

The thing is that you need to make sure that you can in fact generate profit, and that you are not living a fantasy. Too many startups have failed due to bad unit economics or just plain bad cashflow management.

Make sure that you have properly understand your business’s financial numbers and that you have a full understanding of your costs structure.

5) You should rather be educated than entertained

Sustainable success is predicated on lifelong learning.

There is no way around it. Every successful individual I have read about allocates time and effort on his self-education. It becomes a way of living, a lifestyle.

A few years ago I was in a position where I had read zero books for a large time period. Today, I cannot imagine myself not reading a couple of hours per day.

Entertainment is fine, and in many cases welcomed, but it should not be the priority.

The world around us is changing so rapidly that it is impossible to keep up without making a conscious effort about it.

If you don’t want to be disrupted by another savvier entrepreneur, you need to always stay on top of the trends and latest developments.

6) You need to be comfortable in uncertainty

Let’s face it. Entrepreneurship is a risky proposition and part of it is being in a state of uncertainty.

How does uncertainty manifest itself?

For starters, when you launch a new venture, you have no idea whether it is going to be successful or not.

You do not know whether the market is going to like the product. Whether people are going to pay for it. Whether your business model is going to be viable. Whether your business can achieve significant scale in order to have a positive impact on your life.

And of course, there are other, darker ways that uncertainty might rise. You might be running low on cash and do not know whether you will be able to cover payroll. You might lose an important client and not know whether you can replace him with someone else. You might get sued by a competitor.

In any case, you, as the entrepreneur, need to be able to cope with uncertainty and show emotional resilience to whatever life might throw at you.

7) Winning is all that matters

As a final point, in order to wrap everything up, you need to remember that, as Billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya mentions, at the end of day, all that matters is whether you are winning or not.

You know that you are winning when revenues are growing, when cashflow is robust, when you are gaining market share, when you are dominating your industry, when people want to work for you and with you, when you are building serious wealth.

This is not going to happen overnight of course. Becoming a great entrepreneur and building a great business takes time, time measured in years.

But this is what your aspiration should be, to win. Nothing else matters. Everything else is just entrepreneurial fuckarounditis.

Conclusion

Launching and building a business is not for the faint of heart.

Unless you are aware of the harsh and painful truths of business, life is going to slap you in the face.

In this post, I discussed some of them in order to prepare you for the realities that you are going to face.

Embrace the truth and your chances of success are going to increase!

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