Displaying true grit in 2021: The checklist every small business owner should embrace this year

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Angela Duckworth, psychologist and researcher, coined the term ‘grit’; it is to have passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.

Aristotle believed tenacity was one of the most valued virtues. Duckworth believes that grit is important because it is a driver of achievement and success. It is independent of and beyond what talent and intelligence contribute. Being naturally smart and talented is great, but to truly do well and thrive, we need the ability to persevere.

Without grit, talent may end up being nothing more than unmet potential. It is only with effort that talent becomes a skill that leads to success.

Grit defines successful entrepreneurs

And this is what defines many small business owners and makes them entrepreneurs. Often this is the intention with which you start out with – the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about. You persevere in the face of obstacles. Grit is what is going to pull you through those early years.

A new year brings new resolutions, and this year displaying grit and steadfast perseverance to achieve your long-term goals will make all the difference.

Grit is one of the personal attributes that the many admired businesspersons and successful entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet and Richard Branson have in common.

Putting the pandemic aside, in general it’s tough enough for small businesses to mature. Research shows that within the first three years, 92% of startups fail. So, what do you need to do to be part of the 8% that make a success of their businesses?

Make 2021 the year your business is anchored in grit. Here’s how some of the five characteristics of grit can help you on your way to long-lasting success:

  1. Courage

Remind yourself of the vision you had when starting out on your business journey. Follow it no matter what it takes.  Yes, it may require some patience and bravery to turn that vision into reality, but that is what courage is all about. Don’t let fear take the better of you. Virgin Galactic astronaut, Loretta Hidalgo, once said: “Fear is just a piece of information. It’s evolutionary, created to protect you. Fear is not trying to hurt you.”  Use fear to the advantage of your business and triumph over it by taking calculated risks.

  1. Conscientiousness

Set out clear goals to turn your vision into reality. Conscientiousness a personality trait. It is defined as being reliable, thorough, and paying attention to detail. It demonstrates the capability to stick to a plan, whilst doing it efficiently and in “the right way”. There are less distractions, meaning that the goal is never out of sight. Unsurprisingly, conscientiousness is an ingredient for long-term success in general. Take a 2003 study of 111 people who had started their own businesses over a 30-year period. The study found that conscientious people were most likely to lead companies that survived for more than eight years.

  1. Perseverance

In a 1995 interview Steve Jobs said: “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard, and you pour so much of your life into this thing, there are such rough moments during this time that most people give up. And I do not blame them, it’s really tough.”

The ability to take-off and continue even when the going gets tough, isn’t an easy task. Businesses will keep on growing and where there is growth, there will most certainly be obstacles to overcome. Yes, perseverance can look like a sombre cloud of negativity and struggle, but what it is, is an opportunity for businesses to flourish. Turn struggle into success by keeping your eye on the prize and never stop believing in what you envisioned for your business.

  1. Resilience

The pandemic has certainly taught us a thing or two about resilience and the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilience lets you experience personal growth by overcoming negative effects. You as a business owner will be challenged with obstacles for as long as the business is growing (into eternity). Gaining resilience is ingrained in your journey to success. Yes, sometimes life, and things do not work out according to plan! It is then when you need to use your optimism, creativity and confidence in the lessons that you have learned through adverse situations and outcomes to propel yourself forward and get you back on track. For practical guidelines to regain focus, have a look at our previous article on resilience.

  1. Passion

Passion is what drives you and will motivate you to keep on going, despite obstacles that get thrown your way. This is ultimately the strongest predictor of the outcome you strive for – that your business will succeed! You need to believe in your business!

Richard Branson said: “When you believe in something the force of your convictions will spart other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.” This year let clients, partners and employees feed from your passion.

When you have a trusted team of experienced business advisors by your side that is committed to your particular goal, one thing you can be sure of – that they will flank your team, covering any blind spots. Get in touch with our ASL Advisory team to find out more about the practical checklist every small business owner should have in their armour – besides having grit… off course.

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