If you’re like us, you’ve probably read numerous start up stories over the years, and perhaps analysed a few in more detail.

For every successful start-up there will be 10 different opinions on “what made that business thrive”.

Was it the team? The world changing idea? The fearless leader? Luck?

I would say none of those, or any other of the many possibilities. My opinion is that there is one ingredient that beats all the others:


Might seem obvious now, but these things are often overlooked by most people. After all, there are so many moving parts to a start up – funding, employees, development, analytics, marketing …. the list is endless, and our minds often get buried by the multitude of tasks.

But let me tell you, if there is one aspect of yourself that as an entrepreneur you have to hone it’s the total determination to succeed.

With this approach you will gain the following:

  • The energy to set goals and achieve them
  • The resilience to bounce back from the many blows
  • The confidence to bring other people on board
  • The interest to constantly analyse what you’re doing and how to improve it
  • The demeanour that will make you a leader
  • The strength to take care of the endless tasks
  • The vigour to drive your imagination

I came across an interesting observation the other day. Namely that very few successful business starters end up having another success. The author put it down to “success in business is largely due to luck”.

Fair enough, he was more of a philosopher than a business person. However, anyone who has been through the furnace knows that luck is the least important variable.

I will give you a different answer to what he observed. Successful business people the first time around are driven by “the threat of death”.

If it fails now, I’m done for.

However, after their first success, they can then afford to fail. This breeds complacency, and destroys that “total determination to succeed” or in this case “total determination to survive” that they had when they were driven by “the threat of death”.

Of course, it is much better to have internalised “total determination to succeed” than to be motivated by the threat of failure. Gives you a greater degree of control.

So in summary you want to start a successful business?

Then be totally determined to succeed … no matter what.

Tip: Internalisation and repetition work. Don’t have the will to succeed yet? Every time you realise that say to yourself “I will succeed” over and over until you feel it.