Persistence, the Differentiator

Jan Wright, Publisher, iBi

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” —President Calvin Coolidge

Perhaps it’s not quite that simple—but there’s no doubt that persistence has been a key ingredient in many entrepreneurial endeavors. Thomas Edison, for example, is said to have racked up more than 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before he finally succeeded.

We decided to ring in the new year with a fresh look at Greater Peoria’s startup community—which has grown and evolved substantially in recent years. With the help of Startup GP, we identified “10 Startups to Watch in 2018” and asked them about their entrepreneurial journeys. Their ideas are not always “rocket science,” but far more importantly: they offer real solutions to real needs where none existed before.

Besides relaying some interesting “aha” moments, they offer great advice for other prospective entrepreneurs—and each of their answers is different from the next. Persistence is a common thread, of course, as is passion and hard work. Other suggestions?

  • Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Start small and ramp up.
  • Focus on providing value.
  • Ask for help.
  • Seek out mentors.
  • Learn sales.
  • Hire people with character and integrity.
  • Take care of your people.
  • Have fun and enjoy the journey!

There’s nothing better than learning firsthand from someone who’s been there. Each of these startups is in the trenches right now, learning as they go. Also in this issue, Chad Udell of Float provides another valuable perspective on the startup journey, recounting the lessons learned from his company’s launch of a great product that wasn’t as successful as hoped. “Every business has some failures,” he notes. “It’s really how they recover from those missteps that will provide success to them in the long term.”

“Press on!” said Coolidge. Persistence isn’t the only trait needed for success as an entrepreneur or business owner, but it can certainly be a tremendous differentiator. iBi

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