What Motivates The Most Successful Entrepreneurs?


What do you think motivates entrepreneurs? Many would probably suggest to live the life of luxury, to quote the much used phrase “to spend a few years working harder than anyone can imagine to have the life that most could only imagine”. Whilst there are entrepreneurs who are completely money orientated I think the reality is a little deeper than that. I mean there are many entrepreneurs who don’t lead the life of luxury after all. I think it all comes down to one theme – internal significance.

I’ll share with you my biggest fear. At some point, hopefully many many years from now, I’m going to be lying on my death-bed, where I imagine I’ll take the last few minutes left to summarise what I’ve achieved. Nothing would make me feel worse than being dissatisfied with what I’ve done. That I didn’t make enough of a dent in this world. The fact is I want a legacy, I strive for what I class as significance.

My entrepreneurial hero, Richard Branson (how cliché eh?), forwarded on this great article about the Dodge Brothers v Henry Ford case.

Elliott G. Stevenson, the Dodges’s attorney asked Ford, “What is the purpose of the [Ford] company?”

Ford replied, “To do as much as possible for everybody concerned, to make money and use it, give employment, and send out the car where the people can use it… and incidentally to make money…. Business is a service not a bonanza.

“Incidentally make money?”

“Yes, sir.” Ford replied.

I’d argue the most successful entrepreneurs aren’t primarily motivated by money. The most successful entrepreneurs are motivated by doing something they love doing, making a difference and being the difference, creating value and valued creating, but most of all achieving significance – a legacy, fulfilment, purpose or however you want to define it.

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