By Jeff Fortney
When I was young, one of my chores was to bring in the mail. I enjoyed this task, as I always seemed to have mail. My father told me anything addressed to Occupant was really meant for me, since I was an occupant of the house. Every day I sorted the mail on the dining room table, pulling anything that was addressed to me. As time went on, I discovered that most of this mail asked me to buy things, which wasn't possible on my 50 cents per month allowance.
Today, we still receive paper solicitations, but with the advent of email, the number of daily solicitations has expanded. I receive at least five a day from various vendors or service providers. And like in the days of my youth, I read each one. Except this time, I read them to see who is offering what (and often to measure their sales skills). Recently, this headline caught my attention: Are You an Entrepreneur or Just a Sales Person?" After reading the body, I was convinced the writer didn't understand what the term "entrepreneur" really meant. The word is commonly used, but the actual skillset of entrepreneurship has been lost in the translation.
The successful merchant level salesperson (MLS) or ISO must act and maintain the spirit of entrepreneurship. Yet most don't understand what it takes. Forbes magazine said it best in 2013, when answering the simple question: What does it take to be successful starting your own small business?
The following eight skills presented in that article stand the test of time.
Although these present a strong entrepreneurial foundation, I believe one factor is missing. A successful entrepreneur doesn't always succeed. Entrepreneurs can and do fail at times. Thomas Edison was not just a successful inventor; he was also a true entrepreneur. It is said he was asked how it felt to fail over 10,000 times when trying to invent the light bulb. He responded, "I didn't fail all those times, I just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Although this speaks to persistence and resiliency, it also speaks to the fact that failure can be common for entrepreneurs. I met a self-described serial entrepreneur who freely talks about the ventures he started that failed. But he refused to call them failures, believing every one was a lesson learned on what wouldn't work. His biggest lesson? Never fear failure.
Whether you're an employee, a supervisor, or an ISO owner or MLS, having a true entrepreneurial attitude and approach is your best course for success.
Jeff Fortney is senior vice president of business development and partnerships for TouchSuite LLC, a fintech company providing POS systems, payment processing, SEO solutions, working capital and marketing services to small and midsize businesses. A long-time payments industry professional and mentor, Jeff focuses on strengthening and developing corporate partnerships and evaluating new business to drive strategic growth. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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