Serial entrepreneur Steven Schussler is CEO and founder of Schussler Creative, a company that creates themed experiences for retail, attractions and restaurants such as Rainforest Cafe and Backfire BBQ. His new book, “It’s a Jungle in There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring“, is an interesting recollection of his entrepreneurial journey over the years.
Here are some lessons that I gleaned from the book:
“Entrepreneurship is like performing a steady walk across two forty-foot-high platforms. It doesn’t have to involve fancy footwork; it can be just moving gingerly along the taut wire strung forty feet above the arena floor. What makes the performance impressive is the lack of a safety net.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be a risk-taker. You can’t worry about falling.”
Have passion and ambition.
“I’m talking about the difference between liking something and loving something, about people who don’t just do what they like but love what they do, about not going through the motions but going through with emotions.
But passion by itself isn’t enough. Producing the greatest invention or work of art on Earth isn’t enough. It doesn’t become significant until the person of passion who created it has enough ambition to share it with others.”
Being excellent involves “sweating the small stuff”.
“The truly successful entrepreneur has to have what is called the “helicopter view”: the ability to gain enough mental altitude to see the big picture while retaining the ability to descend, hover, and see the details, too.”
Always look out for opportunities.
“Always be on the lookout for products or services that people need, and then be prepared to provide those needs in exchange for adequate compensation.
The sooner you train yourself to look around for opportunities to provide desired goods and services for profit, the sooner you will achieve entrepreneurial success.”
Persistance pays off.
“The entrepreneurial game isn’t a perfect world… Because no is the contemporary entrepreneur’s constant companion, one has to learn how to deal with it and what steps to take to change no to yes.
Persist you must. The apple highest on the tree always leaves the sweeter taste.”
There are many other lessons in the book, of course. Indeed, although much of Schussler’s ideas about entrepreneurship has been preached to ad nauseum, his anecdotes and personal experiences make those ideas come alive. And while his positive, upbeat writing style tends to exaggerate some of his experiences and make them seem incredulous – like getting himself nailed inside a barrel so as to surprise a potential employer to land a job – it at least makes the reading fun.