The Right Way or the Easy Way - Welcome to the Grind

As a virgin blogger and now writing my first blog I was revved up by one of my colleagues who advised that I need to ensure my story gets told and to leave nothing on the table, warts and all. That got me thinking how after 26 years in business there are lots to this story so I did remind her that I was writing a blog, not War and Peace Pt II therefore as I intend to do this a little more regularly my story will get told but it will take more than the virgin blog to get it all out there.

The Grind – this is a term commonly used now but when I first heard it used in the business context it connected for me as it summed up the way I’m wired and the approach I’ve always taken since I can remember as a kid. I was extremely fortunate to have worked with my father for 23 years, he was a big influencer in my life and having migrated from Italy to Australia at 18 years old his fearless approach rubbed off on me. My dad came from a building back ground, he learnt many key trades when he was a kid in Italy and used these to make a new life for himself in Adelaide, Australia.

Was my dad an entrepreneur? The way we now revere entrepreneurs today then yes he would’ve fallen into that category, but back in the day he was seen as one of these crazy new Australians that arrived in the lucky country who loved to work 7 days to grow a business. Since I can remember, if my dad thought he was onto a good idea he always worked to make it happen. I don’t remember ever being sat down and given any official lessons but he instilled a lot of the good stuff that has moulded me and my businesses. Two things that he always reminded me and to this day still resonate: 1) if you think you have something that you can make work, then you can find the way to make it work and 2) if you fail, it’s not the end, you’ll be better the next time you have a go.

As a collector of quotes I came across this one many years ago and still love it as it reinforces why all the hard work is worthwhile.

The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. -Arnold Palmer

So as a passionate innovator and entrepreneur, I not only love working on my businesses but also enjoy talking to people that own a business and staff that work in other businesses to hear and learn what is and isn’t working out there. Entrepreneurship is a global movement now for all ages and all walks of life. Start-ups are frequent, from teenagers to baby boomers, and as we live in the most exciting period of mankind where almost everything is underpinned by the greatest invention of time, the internet, starting a business and becoming a budding entrepreneur is easier than ever before and is a title that many take to with pride.

Without sounding wholesome and romantic, I do believe the entrepreneur movement will make the world a better place, as the human mind now has the opportunity to not only bring its ideas to life quicker but also refine and scale them at a rate that would’ve taken decades before the internet. However, one concerning fact that seems to be getting louder every week is the trend of start-ups that are falling by the way side, and it is forecasted that this is just the beginning. There are many theories out there why this could be trending but I do believe there are some fundamentals that have been forgotten in some circumstances with start-ups and budding entrepreneurs. I’m fairly certain that every entrepreneur, no matter how much or how little experience they have, know that there are two ways they can approach their work, which I describe as either the Right Way or the Easy Way.

Henry Ford once said “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do”. How many of these budding start-ups that are falling away are failing because they thought their idea was going to magically become the next big thing? The Easy Way for a start-up entrepreneur is almost alike the young budding sports star that has a big first year and then falls away never to be seen again, often a victim of the publicity they may have read about themselves and started to believe in. I love business so much because it really is a marathon or an ultra-marathon to build something sustainable. To survive and thrive you must have done the hard yards to get where you want to go, there are no short cuts. The Right Way needs to start with the Grind, persistently working every day at the little things and not assuming that a good idea is the blue print to a successful business.

We all love the stories of the entrepreneurs that reached their Everest and still seem to be climbing, the successful ones that were on the bones of their arses and tirelessly picked themselves up to make it happen. These are the business heroes that define the Grind and they continue to climb as it becomes a part of their DNA. No doubt successful entrepreneurs need more than just the Grind to make a successful business, but without this as the foundation of their approach, little else is likely to happen.

I think the great Larry Bird said it best when he was asked about how he achieved the heights in his career “I've got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end”. So welcome to the Grind, what every passionate entrepreneur needs to bring to the starting line.