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Have startup founders gotten lazier?

Written by Mark Pearson on Friday, 10 May 2019. Posted in Insight, Analysis

It takes perseverance and follow-through to be a successful entrepreneur. But Mark Pearson believes these characteristics might be declining

Have startup founders gotten lazier?

Founding a startup takes a lot of hard work – I don’t think anyone would argue with that. There are countless obstacles to overcome on the journey to starting a successful business and while each person will approach their idea differently, there’s one characteristic that can quickly kill any entrepreneurial venture – laziness. 

Every startup founder needs passion, patience and some serious perseverance to turn that idea into a successful business. You must be able to light up a room with your enthusiasm, inspire both your team and your customers whilst remaining motivated even when dealing with the inevitable periods of difficulty that come your way. 

Business success is not always guaranteed to the person who puts in the most hours or works the hardest – life unfortunately doesn’t always work that way. There’s some luck involved and there are many external factors that may stand in your way as an entrepreneur, your personality can’t be one of them.

Intellect is important as is good communication and flexibility, but these characteristics are nothing without motivation and the drive to succeed – something at your core that keeps you pushing forward. 

As a successful entrepreneur myself and founder of one of London’s leading investment funds, I have experienced the entrepreneurial journey from both sides. I have put in 70-plus hour weeks building my own business and have seen those who have benefited from Fuel’s investment do the same.

This is what it takes to build a new business from the ground up – without that time and a huge amount of effort, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and neither would the businesses in our portfolio. 

There is no room for laziness and, yet, it still surprises me how lazy wannabe entrepreneurs can be. 

Here’s the problem: as an entrepreneur, you’re on your own. You are carrying the business on your shoulders and you take sole responsibility for the company’s direction. Some may blame a lack of funding, resources or talent, but I can tell you that those things are all readily available to people who have what it takes. It’s actually a question of whether you are willing to put the work in. 

While there is a time and place for letting your hair down, constant laziness can mean that your startup will never be anything more than that. If you’re lazy, who is going to pick up the slack? When you begin to hire employees and expand your team, you’ll be able to share the load and delegate your responsibilities. Until then, it’s on you.

One remedy to this problem is to bring a co-founder on board. This offers an opportunity to share responsibility, combine two skillsets and bring in additional experience, however it could also open the door to conflict. So, if you do decide to go it alone, you need to recognise the signs of laziness creeping up on you.

Procrastinating and putting off completing certain tasks, being disorganised, sleeping too much, giving yourself excuses and refusing to set goals and plan for your future are all habits that will keep you from achieving your goals and driving your business forward.

It takes a specific kind of person to be an entrepreneur. Owning a business isn’t for everyone and if you recognise these habits in yourself, you may need to take the time to consider if you are suitable for the task. After all, if you have found something you are truly passionate about, there should be no time for laziness. 

About the Author

Mark Pearson

Mark Pearson

Mark Pearson is the founder of investment fund Fuel Ventures, which specialises in early-stage companies and offers a London-based incubation studio to its startups. Fuel Ventures currently has more than 20 startups under its umbrella and delivers a 70x average return on investments in the European e-commerce sector. The investment fund recently closed a £20m round from multiple high net-worth investors and corporate institutions, which span China, the Middle East and Europe.

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