Melissa Carbone, winner of one of the largest Shark Tank deals in the show’s history and CEO of immersive-entertainment company TenThirtyOne Productions, shared with me the key characteristic of a true entrepreneur during my CNBC radio show:
“The biggest bridge between those that succeed and those that don’t is simply activation,” Carbone said. “People who activate win.”
“Everyone on the planet has ideas,” she continued. “Everyone has an idea for something. A lot of people have amazing ideas, million dollar ideas. But if you don’t activate on them, they go nowhere. They become nothing. And it does not even matter that you had an idea.”
Consultant Rasmus Lindgren echoed a similar sentiment on his blog, “You need to take action and do stuff. Nothing ever happened from just thinking or talking about it.”
“Two traits most commonly identified across successful entrepreneurs are innovation and motivation,” Kara Finnegan wrote on Big Think. “Innovators bridge the gap between ideas and action.”
But as Robert Kiyosaki points out on the Rich Dad blog, success requires more than action for action’s sake. “Lots of people take action and the result is that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail. There is more than just action required to make you an entrepreneur.”
Kiyosaki urged entrepreneurs to have a clear vision of what they aim to achieve and a strong mindset so that they won’t be deterred by the first sign of trouble.
Fear and deterrents prompt some prospective entrepreneurs to view activation as too much risk. Fear of failure scares them off from acting on their billion dollar idea.
“Making a mistake is not a bad thing,” entrepreneur Neil Patel declared on the Quick Sprout blog. “You actually learn from those mistakes, which helps you make better decisions down the road.”
Indeed, as author Bruce McDaniel explained in Entrepreneurship and Innovation: An Economic Approach, “entrepreneur” was used in France in the 18th century to describe the very act of risk taking.
“Entrepreneurs do what they do because they want to, because they believe they need to, because they feel something must change, because they know their actions are required to make that change,” Larry Robertson stated in A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and Its Moment in Human Progress. “They believe they simply have no choice. Their conclusion is ‘if not me, who?’”
The following three tips can help you take action on your ideas and overcome the fear that may be holding you back.
1. Do the right amount of research.
The “larger knowledge you have about the specific topic related to your action, the larger self-confidence you will have,” consultant Dragan Sutevski wrote on the Entrepreneurship in a Box blog. “If the knowledge for the specific problem that need to be solved with your entrepreneurial activities is larger, the solution will be much more easier.”
Shark Tank contestant Carbone founded a horror-based immersive entertainment company after receiving a jaw-dropping number of trick-or-treaters at her horror-themed home one Halloween. If she could get hundreds of visitors to her home with some creativity, how much traffic could she score if she put in professional time and effort?
According to Carbone, she spent several days researching the concept and within a very short time frame launched an enterprise that yielded a $2 million investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban.
“To succeed as an entrepreneur, remember to guard against making critical decisions based solely on emotion without considering relevant information,” Entrepreneurship.org has advised. “Analyze the situation, make the decision, and take action with confidence in your decision-making and planning abilities.”
2. Don’t fear failure.
“Brains are overrated when it comes to achieving great results,” Lindgren wrote. “Focus on doing and building things of value. Most mistakes and changes are more often than not easily fixed.”
Successful entrepreneurs know that success doesn’t necessarily reward the smartest or most intelligent. Success comes to the action taker. Successful entrepreneurs are smart enough to know a good idea when they think of one and sharp enough to put together a strategy that works.
They may not qualify as brain surgeons or rocket scientists but they know how to execute plans, get things done and beat Einstein to the punch.
Carbone encouraged risk taking, saying, “Don’t be afraid to fail as long as after the failure you reflect and try again.”
3. Act promptly.
“Activate when you have the idea because if you have the idea today and you do not activate today, I guarantee somebody else is going to have that idea tomorrow and maybe that person will activate,” Carbone said.
Have you ever watched an ad or found a product at the store and said, “Hey! I thought of that!” OK, so you did think of it. But so did someone else. In the world of entrepreneurship, having a great idea only gets you so far. You must act on it or lose to the competition.