Success Rule No. 1: Make the Commitment

In an earlier blog I promised to flesh out, in five parts, the 10 rules of successful entrepreneurship from the book, "The Intelligent Entrepreneur" by Bill Murphy Jr. I've changed my mind a little -- I'm going to devote one post to each rule, as there is such good, juicy stuff to share.

A couple of days ago, I promised to flesh out, in five parts, the 10 rules of successful entrepreneurship from the book, "The Intelligent Entrepreneur" by Bill Murphy Jr. I've changed my mind a little -- I'm going to devote one post to each rule, as there is such good, juicy stuff to share.

Rule No. 1: Make the commitment!

Entrepreneurship, and especially physician entrepreneurship, is not for the faint-hearted. It is not the course of action to choose as a way to escape the hassles of medical practice. Becoming an "accidental entrepreneur" as a make-do option when no other job materializes is equally unlikely to predict a good result.

Becoming an entrepreneurial physician — a physician business owner taking charge of his or her future – is not about reacting to what you don't want.

Your success as an entrepreneurial physician will be directly proportional to what you DO want — passionately, intensely, fiercely!

From the book: "In the long run, you are much more likely to succeed if you can draw on a deep reservoir of resolve."

So just how badly do you want this?

One of the pleasant surprises of entrepreneurship for me as a physician has been to discover how much entrepreneurship has become my way of life. It truly suits my personality.

It's about taking the reins. It's about mapping the route. It's about embracing the risk.

In deciding whether you have what it takes to adhere to Rule No. 1, the book provides valuable questions to ponder:

• What else will compete for the time and resources that it will take to get your business started and running successfully? Family? Financial obligations? Your current job? Your research commitments? Your community activities?

• What support systems can you rely upon as you move forward into physician entrepreneurship? A spouse who believes in you? Family acceptance? Like-minded colleagues? Mentors? Advisors? A business coach?

• What is the opportunity cost that you are willing to bear? Those same money, energy and time resources in the first question might be best used in other areas.

• What is your record of achievement, creation and reinvention? If your life has been one straight line from college to medical school to practice, and you've not branched out to engage in any "extramural activities" to develop other skills such as leadership -- the ability to analyze, problem-solving beyond medical diagnosis, team work, delegation, project management, organization -- then perhaps now is not the time for entrepreneurship to succeed. This has to be more than just a tantalizing idea!

• What is your tolerance for risk? This is a tricky question as there are two kinds of risks involved here: The first is the obvious risk of trying and failing, and the second is the risk of remaining in place and not being able to enjoy a deeply rewarding career and a larger sense of contribution. It's the risk of having the world pass you by.

I encourage you to dip into "The Intelligent Entrepreneur: How Three Harvard Business School Graduates Learned The 10 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship" -- it provides very valuable insights into what will increase your odds of success!

Next time, I'll cover Rule No. 2.