Jason Feifer on what makes a successful entrepreneur

Jason Feifer, Editor and Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, was in Des Moines today sharing his thoughts on what makes a successful entrepreneur.

Feifer spoke about what the most important qualities are for today’s entrepreneurs. Here’s what he had to say:

Overcome your resistance to change

Being constantly open to new ideas is an important trait for any entrepreneur.

“When the bicycle was first introduced in the 1800s, it freaked everybody out. People were scared of the bicycle. Not just because it seemed like something people would fall off of, but because it created change,” Feifer said. “People don’t like change. The history of innovation is a new thing coming along and people resisting it.”

Ask uncomfortable questions

Feifer stressed the importance of entrepreneurs constantly asking themselves uncomfortable questions.

“The goal is to get to a place where you’re comfortable being uncomfortable. It just becomes the norm and you’re able to challenge yoursel in ways the hadn’t thought of before,” Fiefer said. “Here’s an uncomfortable question for example: ‘why am I doing this?’ And if the answer is, ‘because that’s the way its always been done,’ well that’s a terrible answer.”

Play the long game, especially when it hurts

Only looking at things in short-term can be detrimental to a business, Feifer told the crowd.

He brought up Blockbuster as an example of a company that failed to view long-term trends by ignoring the popularity of streaming video and remained tethered to their business plan.

“The story of Blockbuster is that they didn’t see it coming and that Netflix came along and totally ate their lunch,” Fiefer said. “I don’t think that’s true. I think they did see it coming and they weren’t able to change fast enough. Could you imagine if Blockbuster when they saw this coming decided to shut down stores and transition into a completely different business model? That company would still be around now.”

Discard what worked yesterday

Companies that are able to throw out previous methods that brought them success are more likely to be ahead of the curve and see long-term success.

“This is very difficult to do,” Feifer said. “We all find something that works and want to hang onto it. And then if something changes, we want to try to convince people to buy what we’re already doing.”