We are all, to some degree, the products of our environment. Research conducted by UCLA and the American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, finds that children whose parents are more educated tend to perform more successfully in school themselves. Another indicative guide for predicting a child’s academic success, according to the study, are the parents’ expectations.
How we grow up and the things we’re exposed to during our formative years can play a significant role in who we become. Which is why I consider myself so fortunate to have grown up in a family of entrepreneurs.
In my childhood home, business was one of the most common topics of dinnertime conversation. And the entrepreneurial focus of our upbringing had a lasting impact on my siblings and me. In a family of seven children, four of us have become business owners. I am confident that far fewer of us would have gone on to start our own companies had our parents held typical 9-to-5 jobs.
But growing up in an entrepreneurial home benefited me in more ways than merely sparking my passion for business at a young age — although it certainly did that as well. I also gained invaluable real-world business experience long before many of my peers began their path to entrepreneurship.
From my upbringing, I learned three key lessons about running a business — lessons I still use today at my company.
- Entrepreneurship requires resilience
Nine out of 10 startups will fail. To be successful, entrepreneurs need resilience.
I watched my father come close to bankruptcy and bounce back. Having him as my example helped me build my “entrepreneurial stomach” and taught me to manage difficult situations.
I learned to compartmentalize, separate my business ambitions from the rest of my life, and not allow setbacks to destroy me emotionally.
The good news is that this resilience can indeed pay off. Research from the Social Science Research Network revealed an interesting statistic: Entrepreneurs who have failed at a previous business have a higher chance of success on their next venture than first-time entrepreneurs starting a new company.
- Entrepreneurship requires patience
Here’s another surprising fact about entrepreneurship: The top cause of new business failure is that founders try to grow the company too quickly, to scale up before they’ve set the proper foundation and before the business is ready for the next level. Entrepreneurship demands patience.
When he was 70 years old, my father sold a company he’d started when he was in his 40s. It takes time to grow a business.
The lesson I took away from watching my father take the slow, methodical path to success was that if I were to become a successful entrepreneur, I would need to develop patience. Business is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Entrepreneurship requires connections
No entrepreneur has ever succeeded (or even failed) completely alone. Success in business requires developing and cultivating the right relationships. This was one of the most valuable business lessons my father taught me.
In the real estate business, where my company operates, I understand that our success depends on a larger network — a network of lenders, agents, brokers, contractors, appraisers, tenants, and other parties who also have an interest in our transactions. Learning to cultivate the right relationships is an important lesson I learned from my father’s long-term success. As an entrepreneur, you’re only as strong as the team you’ve built.
As I examine my own foray into entrepreneurship, I believe all of these business lessons from my entrepreneurial family have served me well.
In addition to learning and applying lessons about resilience and patience to my own business, perhaps most important of all, were my father’s lessons about prioritizing relationships above all other considerations.
I hope these lessons can also help you on your entrepreneurial path.