In June this year, four years have passed since we’ve turned the idea for Enuda into a tangible business.
According to Eurostat, the EU statistical office, the company is now part of a narrow niche of start-ups that survive.
The “survival rate” for start-ups is slightly different between the individual EU member states, but nevertheless, the odds of staying in business more than three years are not something you would bet your money on.
So, in true spirit with the scientific method, let’s look at why the company has survived and managed to deliver remarkable growth.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could reveal the “silver bullet”, the magic sauce needed to establish and develop a business despite all odds?
Spoiler alert – there’s no magic sauce
There, I said it out loud, there is no actual “proven formula” or one right way of doing this. Then, maybe, you think it’s all because of pure luck; after all, those who didn’t survive can’t all be incompetent, right?
I don’t have the proven method of starting and developing a business, but I have some principles and general ideas on entrepreneurship which I gladly share.
And I happily share all my “entrepreneurship secrets” because… read on and you will see why you will not use them, anyway.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
Most of the popular books on the topic, the advice in the media, and the talk of the town revolves typically around this image of an entrepreneur: a person who starts a business, works 15 hours a day, seven days a week for five years and then sells the whole thing to some humongous company for a lot of money.
That could be an entrepreneur, but that’s only a tiny part of what entrepreneurship means.
To me, an entrepreneur is someone who:
- Is entirely, absolutely, and utterly unemployable (I fit perfectly into that mould),
- Is a person who gets the ball rolling and can’t wait for others to take the initiative,
- Can live with the risk, the uncertainty, and the insecurity of how things will play out,
- Is competitive enough to take an idea and has a strong will to succeed.
And finally, the irony did not slip my mind: it’s a person who doesn’t rely on much advice from anybody else but will instead make up their own mind.
“Stay on the f… bus”
How do you develop something valuable in life?
The Finish-American photographer Arno Minkkinen tells the story of how you can use the Helsinki bus station as a piece of clear-cut advice on that.
Here’s a short version, and you can find this remarkable story on the internet.
The analogy is this:
You jump on a bus in any direction, and each stop represents a year in your growth.
After maybe a couple of stops, you’ve achieved something, so you can compare it to others. Now, you realise that what you have is by no means significant or different.
So you get off the bus, grab a taxi back to the bus station and jump on another bus. After a couple of bus stops, you again compare yourself with others and realise that you don’t have something significant or different.
And from here, it’s all rinse and repeat.
The answer is super simple:
Get on a bus – any bus – and stay on the f…. bus.
Commitment is the new goal
There’s a lot of hype surrounding entrepreneurship. Don’t believe it.
Entrepreneurship (and many other good and valuable things in life) is just the common result of a rather dull approach to riding buses in Finland: stay on the bus for long enough to make it work.
Do the boring stuff every single day until it becomes a habit and you get super good at it. There’s no silver bullet or magic path to success. And it doesn’t involve burning the midnight oil.
Instead, show up every day, learn to live with the risks involved, and stay on the freaking bus for long enough to see results. Make a commitment to yourself, and stick with it.
“Patience is a competitive advantage. In a surprising number of fields, you can find success if you are simply willing to do the reasonable thing longer than most people.”James Clear