As an entrepreneur, you have many things to be grateful for — personally and professionally. As you launch an early-stage startup and grow a successful business you learn many things. One of them being that “all men dream: but not equally.” As T.E. Lawrence wrote in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
Entrepreneurship is the purest essence of making “it” possible. And while you definitely make it possible there are people, places and things that contribute to your success. I’ve considered what I am truly thankful for during the holiday season and beyond and these seven things alone are enough for any entrepreneur to “give thanks” today and every day of the year.
1. Family, friends and loved ones.
When you ask entrepreneurs why they started a business some will say, “For the challenge.” Others may insist, that entrepreneurship enables them to “fulfill their destiny, give back, make an impact” or more. But many entrepreneurs build companies to better their lives and the livelihoods of those they love — family, friends and loved ones.
Behind every great entrepreneur is a parent that believes in them. In front of every successful entrepreneur are like-minded peers cheering them to go the distance. At the side of every entrepreneur are loved ones — people who can see your greatness before you ever could.
2. Loyal customers, clients and supporters.
In retrospect, the early days of entrepreneurship are truly golden. When you land your coveted first customers you celebrate. As you grow your business and build a roster of thousands you begin to understand the importance of great customers that truly champion your brand.
When your company faces challenges, you become even more grateful for unwavering clients that love your brand and truly benefit from what you do. Whether your customer database is large or small — be grateful for every single one. Customers enable you to do what you do while serving them and a mission that far exceeds yourself.
3. Clarity of vision.
You’ll undoubtedly hear many successful entrepreneurs acknowledge the importance of having a vision. In fact, I built YFS Magazine on the basis of one undeniable principle: “Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).
In essence, a vision enables you to imagine better, look into the future and create what your mind can see. Vision is a force multiplier — an enabler to your dreams. If you have a vision, be thankful for it. Many would-be entrepreneurs, and veteran entrepreneurs alike, can attest to the power of clear sight in business. Vision is your unique fingerprint — a trade secret that should not be ignored. Remember, you cannot hit a target that you cannot see.
4. Reliable partners and strategic alliances.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you surely understand the importance of reliable partners and alliances. The right partnerships will propel your business forward, create immense value for your customers and set you apart from the competition.
Meanwhile, strategic alliances that are built for your long-term advantage will provide mutual benefits and value that cannot be adequately represented on a balance sheet. If you have partners and alliances that are truly invested in your growth, those that deliver on time and add value to your business — you are rich in ways that cannot be counted.
5. Engaged passion.
It sounds so cliché — doesn’t it? But we would not say it if it were not completely true. Passion isn’t the sole ingredient to a successful business, but it is a pretty important one. For instance, a foodie will attest to the fact that without yeast, bread won’t rise. Likewise, without passion a business won’t either.
Passion is an essential element to small business success because it will keep you going when all others say, “give up and quit!” Passion will equip you to run the marathon of entrepreneurship and avoid sizzling out with a sprint. Passion is a driving force behind the courage to conquer all types of challenges that will arise as you build a business from zero to hero. If you have resilient and relentless passion, you are a step above the rest.
6. Financial independence.
Financial independence means various things for different people. However, starting and growing a successful business that turns a profit is enough to be thankful for in itself. There’s no shortage of studies, statistics and opinions on the number of reasons that small businesses fail. However, if you own a business, and successfully turn a profit, you should be immensely grateful.
Sure, it may not be precisely what you want at the moment, but consider that many would-be entrepreneurs would revel at the chance to have what you have and do what you do. From your first sale to millions in the bank, financial independence is a gift that should never be taken for granted.
7. Personal Growth.
If you do not grow personally and professionally as an entrepreneur, I’d wager that you are not in business. A hobbyist perhaps, but not a business owner.
Starting a business will challenge you. Growing a business will fortify you. In my experience, you cannot start an entrepreneurial endeavor and remain the same. Business ownership will test your limits and prove your staying power. And before you make a dent in the universe, you have to transform yourself — entrepreneurship will empower you to do that and much more.
Why are you thankful to be an entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments section below.
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