The Power of Persistence

How entrepreneurs harness resilience for success

HOW HE’S DOING IT:

Regular follow-ups
Over many months, Brown sent the editor copies of his best clips and his latest book, followed up and called. “Finally the editor e-mailed me back and said, ‘This is totally up our alley and we need to look at what period of time is best to run the article.’”

Passion
“I have a mission to covering pop culture and subcultures that are misunderstood. I really believe in this feature idea. I have the attitude, ‘We have to talk about it.’”

Ruthless self-appraisal
“All the hours I’ve spent pitching over the past five years, I could have been doing short pieces and getting paid. If I’m going to work for free, I have to become ruthless with myself. I need to focus and let go of ideas that don’t work.”

TAKING OFF

When Maurice B. Tosé wanted to take his Maryland-based TeleCommunication Systems public, he encountered scores of detractors. The company didn’t fit comfortably in any box: It served governments, consumers, and carriers, but analysts and investors wanted him to choose one market. It was heavily invested in text messaging before the industry understood the technology’s value. It’s minority owned, and some said that minority-owned companies didn’t go public.

Then, in 1998, spending got ahead of finances and he mortgaged everything to the bank. He could have filed for bankruptcy, but he persisted. Two years later, Tosé’s company went public and in 2008 was ranked the No. 4 best performing small and midcap stock on the NASDAQ by The Wall Street Journal.

HOW HE DID IT:

Thick skin
“Every entrepreneur has to get used to hearing no. Entrepreneurs are often criticized for having egos, but it takes a degree of that to be able to handle the no’s and keep believing in what you’re doing.”

Determination
“As an entrepreneur, the possibility of failure makes you bound and determined to prove them wrong, whoever they are.”

High standards
“Our objective was to grow 100% every year for the first five years, and while we never reached 100% growth, we did make 70% growth in the early ’90s.”

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