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Success: reality or appearance?

with 4 comments

Success, reality or appearance?

In a previous post, I was talking about the meaning of success and trying to define what is success. In this post, I would like to talk about another aspect related to success , and I will handle it in the business area. Success in business is something each entrepreneur want to meet, because by definition it is rewarding, it means also that we are earning enough money to life from our activity. But does a positive image reflect always a success? In other word, does the image reflect the reality?

Let us be more concrete. In business magazine, you can read articles about some entrepreneurs, presenting their project. For a lot of people, the fact to have an article about you in a magazine is an evidence of success, and starting from this article, this positive image, they are concluding very quickly that the entrepreneur or the company mentioned here is a successful one. If you have a look to the article, you will notice that in fact, you do not know a lot of things about the success ..or the non-success of this company. The fact to have an article talking about you in a business magazine is always an good point in terms of marketing, to gain in visibility. An article is only a summary of the company or entrepreneur story, and a lot of informations are not told. I would like to take the example I red few times ago in a magazine related to employment and jobs. That magazine was publishing during several times, testimonials about people who decided one day to move to another job, another career. In this case I will refer to, it was a guy working in a bank since more than 15 years, who decided to move to a creative job. As he was very handy, he decided to launch a business of creation of furniture, objects with recycled materials. He explained that he was much more happy by this new activity than by his previous job as an accountant. You will note that by mentioning this, he is showing a positive image of himself and of his project. But in the article, it was not mentioned if he was earning enough money to live. But what he mentioned in this article is that he invested in real estate, bought 2 or 3 apartments he renovated himself, this apartments ensuring rent revenues and a financial security. This last element is important to be mentioned, because it will make you conclude on another way: we do not know if he is earning enough money from his new project, but he has other source of revenues allowing him to pursue his new activity, his objective.

I will tell you another example. I am used to attend entrepreneurship sessions, organized in Brussels on a monthly basis by the BetaGroup. In these sessions, web entrepreneurs are presenting their projects. The presentation is followed by a short question & answer session, and after presentation, people can talk about the projects or to make network. I was talking with entrepreneurs, and some of them were explaining to me the difficulties they had to reach the break even with their project, and for that reason, that they still had another job as web consultant or developer for big companies. We can see here different success levels: the product they wanted to develop is a success on a technical point of view, some of these projects are presented during the session, and also in business magazines, which is a marketing success. But as we know, the last and important success is the economical success.

There are two important things needed to be reminded when you want to develop a business. First, remind that to be an entrepreneur is a difficult task. There is no easy business. Entrepreneurship is always risky, but you can and you have to create alternative plan to ensure the needed revenue to live. It will need hard work, to combine the two activities if you ensure your revenues by an activity. It is up to you to elaborate your own alternative plan. The second point is to remember that your success has to be your own, matching with your values, the way you are seeing things. What I mean is that your alternative plans will be the one you can deal with and not the plan you copied from somebody else. But don’t hesitate to talk and share ideas with other entrepreneurs, with inspiring people who will advice and help you to build your own solutions, your own success.

BetaGroup website:


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 14, 2011 at 21:55

4 Responses

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  1. I was today at the Microsoft BizSpark event during which entrepreneurs tried to got funding. Some of them had a product but didn’t know how to design their business model!

    So yes, being on stage doesn’t mean you are succeeding but it is a proof that you believe in your project


    June 14, 2011 at 22:19

    • Indeed, believe in your project is very important. As you mention here, the design of a business model is a huge task, but sometimes, some people doesn’t present a business plan. I am thinking about some books telling how to do business and earn a lot of money without any efforts. Most of the time, there are lack of informations, and people writing these kind of books are just making money with the credulity and naivety of people who are buying these books.

      Thanks for your comment, Abdelkrim. 😉

      Eric Saint-Guillain

      June 14, 2011 at 22:31

  2. The business plan is the resume of the company. It explains what the product is, how it works, and benifits. More importantly the business plan touches on competition, and the chances of product viability in the market place, and shows your financial position. Together, these are usually encapsulated in the executive summary, and lets an investor/client or customer whether they want to know more about the venture. The business plan is a living document; that will undergo many changes, as success, reality, and or appearances evolve over time. If it was easy everyone would be an Edison, Tesla, Ford, Gates or Jobs who would be the first to tell us that it is immense belief,work, and dedication, but they would not trade it.

    Fareed Ansari

    June 14, 2011 at 23:58

    • Fareed,

      Thank you for your interesting comments. Indeed, the business plan and the financial statements of a company tell if the business is successful, generating cash or not.

      Eric Saint-Guillain

      June 15, 2011 at 08:39

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