Empowering Startup Leaders: Eliminate Excuses, Embrace Action, and Achieve Goals

In the fast-paced landscape of entrepreneurship, where competition is fierce and success is hard-won, startup leaders must heed a crucial call: it's time to discard the façade and embrace the unvarnished truths essential for thriving in this demanding arena.

"The BEST thing about entrepreneurs is that they see opportunity in everything....

....The WORST thing about entrepreneurs is that they see opportunity in everything"

ONS data shows us that 20%+ of businesses will fail in the first year and 60%+ will fail within 3 years. Often, one of the biggest reasons for failure is the lack of focus and discipline and a tendency to be seduced away from the initial product or service of the business – not as an evolution or improvement of the initial business but often due to being distracted by completely new or different ideas. Yeah sure, the final reason for failure will be a lack of cash, but mostly it comes from an initial lack of focus and ongoing lack of discipline.

I have always had 'tough love' mentors and they would constantly say that 'Procrastination is the mother of failure' and 'focus and discipline are the keys to success' – too many would-be entrepreneurs are stuck in a cycle of excuses, procrastination, and self-doubt, and it's holding them back from achieving their goals and making their mark on the world.

Startups who succeed are the ones who refuse to make excuses. They don't waste time whining about how hard things are or how unfair the world is. Instead, they roll up their sleeves, put their heads down, and get to work... Not just working hard but working SMART and staying focused on a clear strategy.

So, what's the secret to eliminating excuses and embracing action? It all comes down to mindset. You need to develop a bulletproof mental toughness that allows you to push through the tough times and keep moving forward, no matter what obstacles come your way. One of my mentors made me climb mountains (Annapurna, Meru, Kilimanjaro, Rwenzori), cross oceans (clipper 13/14 round the world yacht race), run marathons, and walk on burning coals to name a few... I'm not saying these are a pre-requisite for success, but he understood that I would best learn the lessons and build the mental and physical toughness in these environments, and it worked. Luckily you don't always have to DO the doing if you learn the principles and embody the lessons of other successful entrepreneurs – after all, as they say, "Experience is learning from your mistakes but WISDOM is learning from others' experience!"

Take Ownership

Start by taking ownership of your life and your business. Stop blaming others (or the market or Covid etc, the list is endless), for your failures and start taking responsibility for your own success. Realise that every decision you make, every action you take, has consequences, and it's up to you to steer your ship in the right direction.

Focus on solutions

Next, focus on solutions, not problems. When challenges arise (and they will), don't waste time complaining or feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, put your energy into finding creative solutions and taking decisive action. Remember, every problem has a solution, and it's your job as a leader to find it.

Find the right people

Another key to eliminating excuses is to surround yourself with the right people. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with (as said by Jim Rohn and endorsed by so many great leaders), so make sure those people are positive, driven, and supportive of your goals. Cut out the naysayers and the energy vampires who drag you down and hold you back.

Develop a relentless work ethic

But perhaps the most important thing you can do to eliminate excuses and achieve your goals is to develop a relentless work ethic. Success doesn't come easy, and it sure as hell doesn't come to those who sit around waiting for it to fall into their laps. You need to be willing to put in the long hours, make the tough decisions, and push yourself beyond your limits.

That means showing up every day, even when you don't feel like it. It means staying focused and disciplined, even when distractions threaten to derail you. And it means never, ever giving up, no matter how many times you get knocked down.

I know some of you might be thinking, "But Mike, what if I fail? What if I pour my heart and soul into my startup, and it still doesn't work out?" Well, let me tell you something - failure is a part of the game. Every successful entrepreneur has failed at some point, often multiple times. The difference is that they don't let failure define them. They learn from it, they grow from it, and they use it as fuel to keep pushing forward.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." – Winston S. Churchill.

Embrace failure as a necessary step on the path to success. Don't be afraid to take risks, to try new things, and to put yourself out there. Because the truth is, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risks at all.

But here's the thing – eliminating excuses and embracing action is not a one-time event. It's a daily practice, a constant commitment to pushing yourself to be better and to achieve more. It's about developing the habits and the discipline that will carry you through the tough times and help you reach your goals.

So, start small. Set achievable goals for yourself each day, each week, each month. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small they might seem. And when you face setbacks or obstacles, don't let them derail you. Use them as opportunities to learn and grow, and keep pushing forward.

And remember, you're not alone in this journey. Surround yourself with a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who share your vision and your drive. Seek out mentors and advisors who can offer guidance and support when you need it most. And don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it – because the truth is, no one achieves success entirely on their own.

So, there you have it, startup leaders. The key to empowering yourself and achieving your goals is to eliminate excuses, embrace action, and develop a relentless work ethic. It won't be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

But I promise you this – if you commit to this path, if you refuse to let excuses hold you back, and if you pour your heart and soul into your startup, you will achieve great things. You will make a difference in the world, and you will leave a legacy that lasts long after you're gone.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and make it happen. The world is waiting for you to leave your mark, and it's up to you to seize the opportunity and make your dreams a reality. Let's go!