As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., let us all take a moment to remember the great leader that he was. Like today’s entrepreneurs, King was a visionary, but his achievements didn’t come easy. In fact, they came at a cost, yet he persevered and never backed down. King is a role model for so many, but entrepreneurs in particular can take note of these four valuable lessons he taught us:
1. Be a Doer, Not a Dreamer
A dream is only a dream unless you have the courage to make it real; King took action and now his dream is reality. All too often, dreams die with their inventors. To be an entrepreneur is to be more than a dreamer; you have to be proactive. For King, it took the courage of one to make his dream a reality for millions.
2. Challenge the Status Quo
Change is scary, but without it, we never would progress. To keep up with this ever-changing market, businesses always need to be reinventing. King had a vision of a better future and he challenged others to imagine this “new life” with him. The key here is to be bold. Regardless of rejection, change can be good; sometimes, it just takes a strong personality to convince others of that.
3. Build Your Following
King was and is an inspiration to millions of people, but he didn’t do it all on his own. It took the large groups of people who organized marches, participated in protests and influenced legislation that played a key role in the success of the civil rights movement. Today, the Internet makes it much easier to reach a large number of people quickly. If you have a message worth sharing, make it known so others can join you.
4. Success Comes at a Price
The civil rights movement was a constant struggle; its ultimate success didn’t happen overnight. Its victories emerged from the blood, sweat and tears of many willing to fight for what they believed. Sadly, for some, that price was death. Fortunately, the stakes are far less for entrepreneurs and business owners, but sacrifice remains a requirement. Success takes hard work and dedication; if you’re willing to commit, however, the reward is satisfying.