Patience: The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Virtue
As an entrepreneur launching and operating a business, you need a lot of things. Among them: a solid business concept, funds, a marketing plan, internet access…and patience. Lots and lots and lots of patience.
The need for patience permeates every aspect of starting and running a business. Small business owners need a tolerance for delay and the capacity to withstand difficulty. As a freelancer, I’ve found my patience tested regularly in ways that are likely common to most entrepreneurs.
Waiting for the ROI on networking – It would be fabulous to walk into a mixer and walk out 2 hours later with 5 (or even 1) solid lead that you’re quite sure will convert to a signed proposal. The reality is it just doesn’t work that way. It can take months, sometimes years of repeat exposure at networking events and on social media to build trust and establish relationships that transform into referrals and contracts. But don’t give up! Patience pays because after the ball gets rolling, it builds momentum, and networking gets easier and yields greater results. Think of your networking time (online and offline) as an investment that’s building interest with each and every interaction.
Just sign on the dotted line, would you? – On occasion, you’ll find yourself courting a prospect longer than the Amish require before their folk can get married [a comparison that stems from my residency in Lancaster County, PA ;)]. You promptly submit a proposal…and then find yourself waiting. People are busy and budgets are tight. Sometimes it takes a long time before a client decides to move forward because of other priorities. Sometimes they decide not to move at all because of reasons beyond your control. Without a doubt, you need patience in situations like these. As you’re waiting for “yea” or “nay”, keep yourself top of mind in subtle ways that show your interest, but that don’t make you appear pushy. Interact with prospects via social media by sharing, liking and commenting on their posts and, at appropriate intervals, send emails to check on the progress of decision-making and to reinforce that you’re available to field questions.
As with any other core competency, building patience as a professional strength is easier for some entrepreneurs than others. Whether it’s inherent in your genetic makeup or not, it is a quality worth developing and exercising. Without patience, you’re left with frustration. Which do you think is the better choice for your business model?
Your turn to weigh in! How has your patience been tried as an entrepreneur? What tips can you share for maintaining patience when you want immediate results?