“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.”
Rejection is one of the only things that is unavoidable in the marathon that is an entrepreneur’s journey. New entrepreneurs learn to never accept “No” for an answer. They learn quickly that tenacity – the ability to keep going and not give up – is a key factor in the race toward success.
Successful entrepreneurs hear “No” and immediately use it to fuel their ambition. In fact, some of the world’s most notable leaders were driven to succeed with the help of some good old rejection. At the beginning of his career, author Stephen King pinned every publisher’s rejection letter just above his writing desk. This ritual served as a daily eye-level reminder to keep pushing forward.
We see this playback with many start-ups seeking venture capital too. According to Fundera, 0.05% of startups earn venture capital. Of those that did raise VC money, only 1% of that small number reach “Unicorn” status ($1Billion+ valuation).
Although it’s critical for a start-up to learn to deal with rejection from naysayers -it is also important to realize negative feedback is an opportunity to improve.
Rejection hurts. Today’s young leaders need to turn rejection into their new or next opportunity. One should tap into the entrepreneurial resources available: a strong mentor, supplemental education and calculated partnerships to increase the odds of future success.
In the latest Forbes8 Mastermind, founder Dave Shah shares his entrepreneurial advice and how strong partnerships scaled his start-up business into a global operation. Shah reflects on a key moment as a young professional that shifted his perspective from an intern prospect to an aspiring founder.
“I got the opportunity to meet somebody who was a very significant role model for me at the time, and I asked him, “Hey, can I have an internship with you, with your business?” And his response was, ‘No, that would be a waste of everybody’s time. It doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t you start something else yourself?’ I walked away a little bit bitter, but it really lit a fire inside of me,” Shah shared.
This experience fueled Shah’s desire to start Wave Labs, an end-to-end software development company that builds decentralized solutions for start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. After immersing himself in an entrepreneurial program at UCLA, Shah credits finding the perfect strategic partner as a game-changing move that balanced his weaknesses and strengthened the company.
“I often brag about my co-founder as being one of the company’s strongest assets because, honestly, we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without him. Somebody who had a lot of experience in the technical area and the marketing space, whereas I had more experience in the brand consulting space. Finding him was of paramount importance.” Shah explained.
Embracing rejection opened up hidden insights and yielded great results. Here are some of Dave’s tips to create upside for you personally and professionally:
- View rejection as a lesson and get tactical about what you’ll do next.
- Become an active listener to learn exactly how you can improve upon your skill set.
- Be strategic about finding the right partnerships that are complementary to what you offer as a leader.
- Hone your communication style to become more effective when pitching to key stakeholders.
- Monitor, appreciate and share the progress you’ve made to boost your confidence.
In essence, every successful person has dealt with the pain of rejection. What matters most is how you use it to develop your character and tune your business muscles. “No Pain, No Gain” in the entrepreneurial world comes from overcoming rejection to go the extra mile – and all the miles afterwards.