Persistence > talent, genius, education.
I watch very little TV, so I might be the last person to watch the Founder on Netflix. I enjoyed that the movie portrayed Ray Kroc in a way that felt unbiased, highlighting both positive and negative behaviors.
But there was one aspect of the movie that really stood out to me. That is how Kroc credited his success to his persistence:
He needed a lot of it. Even as it was exploding, his business faced bankruptcy as a real possibility. I read a lot of business biographies and that is a recurring theme.
When we see today’s successful companies, we tend to see their success as a foregone conclusion.
But many of today’s great companies had near-death experiences that their founders have written about: Tesla, Nike and lululemon are some recent examples that come to mind.
This is important for current business owners to know. When you encounter tough times, that’s not weird. Business is difficult.
I once worked with a founder who thought business was all about the idea. He believed that if your concept was good enough, the business should practically run itself.
When he encountered difficulties he started tinkering with the concept. If he could just get the concept right, everything would be okay.
But there was nothing wrong with the concept. Could it be better? Sure. But was it good enough? Yes. It just required a lot of hard work to make it work. All businesses do.
He eventually lost his business because he was trying to perfect the idea.
He didn’t have the persistence of Ray Kroc.