Monday, May 16, 2011

It's a Jungle

Steven Schussler's "It's a There" depicts an entrepreneurial narrative using his experience creating the commercially successful "Rainforest Café" as a framework for providing insights, lessons, and inspiration for any aspiring entrepreneur. Schussler narrative is made even more compelling since success did not come easily - he suffered the indignity of being fired, survived financial hardship, and was even "mauled by" his own dog! The dog mauling had to be a low point.

"It's a Jungle..." is developed around Schussler's five Ps for entrepreneur success - personality (do you fit?), product (do have something people need and will buy?), persistence (can you embrace failure and continue?), people (do you care for those around you?), and philanthropy (are you willing to give back?). He fleshes out each factor with examples from his experience and shares the hard lessons learned along the way.

I particularly enjoyed the section on personality. In this section, Schussler challenges the reader to reflect on the importance of passion. Will you have the level of passion required to overcome the failures, challenges, doubts, and uncertainties that will provide obstacles on the path to success? What motivates you to work? What motivates you to work 60+ hours a week?

The self-examination question he asked: “If were independently wealthy and never had to work a day in your life, would you still spend your time attempting to become a successful entrepreneur?” is a great question. Too many people attempt to do something for the wrong reasons. Whether it is money, recognition, or some other reason, without passion for what you are doing the persistence will not be there. Passion will also help to provide the inspiration for the sometimes desperate actions necessary to be successful. Schussler’s story of being nailed into a barrel to get the sales job is an example of going well beyond your normal comfort zone to accomplish a goal—all due to a high level of passion.   

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