‘Grit is every entrepreneur’s trump card,’ says Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner.
Editor’s Note: In the brand new podcast Masters of Scale , LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how best to scale a business — and at Entrepreneur.com , entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences on our hub . This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: to achieve success, entrepreneurs need an excellent idea, good timing, money and luck. But a lot more than that – they want grit.
Grit. Every entrepreneur discusses it, however, not everyone defines it the same manner.
“Some individuals mistake grit for sheer persistence — charging up the same hill, over and over. But that’s nearly why by the term ‘grit,’” says Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder, Greylock partner and host of Masters of Scale, a podcast series examining counterintuitive theories to growing a company. “The type of grit you must scale a business is less reliant on brute force," says Hoffman. He believes the individual should be determined, innovative and efficient.
And one individual Hoffman believes perfectly encompasses his definition of grit is Nancy Lublin, a serial entrepreneur who has founded and run several nonprofits, including Dress for Success, DoSomething and Crisis Text Line.
“Nancy Lublin may be the entrepreneurial exact carbon copy of Indiana Jones,” says Hoffman, talking about her tenacity and concentrate on her own ultimate goal. “She actually is a 10 out of 10 in terms of grit.”
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In the seventh bout of Masters of Scale, simply titled “Grit,” Lublin talks a whole lot about how exactly her determination helped her persevere in the nonprofit sector, a global Hoffman believes is a lot trickier to navigate than commercial. Listed below are just some of the ways this all-important quality helped Lublin build and rebuild nonprofits that made a direct effect.
Turn failed cold calls into great stories.
The podcast opens up with a tale about how exactly Lublin desperately tried to get Donald Trump, then only a “builder,” to donate unused space in his real-estate empire on her behalf nonprofit Dress for Success, a business that delivers professional clothing to low-income women trying to land employment. After a surprise visit to the luxurious Trump Tower with Milk Duds at hand (a candy Trump reportedly enjoyed), Lublin spoke to his assistant about her request. After being told “he’s broke,” she was sent just about the most beautiful – and expensive — rejection letters she’s ever received. Written on Trump Tower gold embossed letterhead, Lublin says, she could “scrape off that logo and make fillings for everybody I understand.”
Related: Mark Zuckerberg Reveals the 5 Strategies That Helped Facebook Grow at an Insane Rate
Take all of the help you’re offered — when you don’t require it
In the first days of Dress to Success, Lublin and her team could have a clothing drive at big-name companies, like Goldman Sachs. Executives would donate their fancy suits to ladies in need, but there is a big discrepancy in sizes. “We’d get beautiful suits and the biggest suit will be a size eight,” Lublin recalls. The common size American is really 14, and the common size Dress for Success client was a 22.
However they would do the drives anyway, despite the fact that some suits would stay static in storage for a long time before anyone might use them. “Once you gave us your Armani suits, you gave us money,” says Lublin. “It had been area of the whole cycle of Dress for Success — wealthy business women connecting with women who are likely to venture out and land their first jobs.”
Related: How 6 Business Titans Created a Thriving Team
Simple solutions, executed quickly, can create big transformations
Actor Andrew Shue (well-known for his character Billy Campbell on Melrose Place) launched DoSomething at the height of his popularity. The nonprofit was designed to get young people involved with causes. But after a decade, it had been nearly defunct. Lublin found her next challenge.
“It had been burning,” she says. “When I acquired there that they had just let go 21 out of 22 people” and with $250,000 with debt, Lublin had to carefully turn it around quickly.
Fortunately, the business had a breakthrough moment: texts. For years, DoSomething have been communicating using its young donors through emails, but wasn’t obtaining a huge response. After entry-level employees attempted a text system, the business started to bounce back.
“When you see someone take action really smart, grab it and elevate it, and become like, ‘Let’s do that’” she says. “So we pivoted, became a membership organization and did everything around text.” Under Lublin, DoSomething added 5 million teenage volunteers.
Find out more in the latest bout of this new series above. Listeners may also access new episodes on Apple , Google , Stitcher , Spotify