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Entreprenetics: The Sweet Smell of Startup Success

Entreprenetics: The Sweet Smell of Startup SuccessDuring Chelsea’s soccer tour in Asia, Jose Mourinho—their coach, commonly known by his self-proclaimed nickname “The Chosen One”—was impressed with the work ethic of some of the team’s older players. He complimented John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole for training extremely hard, even during their preseason.

Calling the old-timers “inspirational animals,” Jose told the younger players to become inspired by their professional attitude. He said something even more interesting that can trigger and inspire the mind of any soccer player, athlete or entrepreneur. “We are working very hard, and day after day the players are showing they ‘want,’” he said. “That’s the most important thing in football. If they ‘want’, they ‘can’ do everything. The group is good. The other six boys, when they come, I think they will find something good. They will find it and feel it. I think they will smell immediately that we are doing something.”[1]

Jose has the ability to smell success. As a legend in professional, world-class, soccer coaching, his winning attitude is contagious. His management principles on the soccer field can be applied to any type of business, startup, growth or Fortune 1000. I fully appreciate and understand his use of the “smell” analogy to success as an entrepreneur and investor.

"When you enter a startup’s office, you can sense the momentum of that startup—you feel, see, hear, and definitely smell how the company is operating and executing on the startup battlefront."

Before I invest into any startup, I usually make a point to visit their offices. When you enter a startup’s office, you can sense the momentum of that startup—you feel, see, hear, and definitely smell how the company is operating and executing on the startup battlefront. Utilizing all your human senses, as part of the due diligence and investment decision process, is critical for any investor.

You can study every book ever written about investing, but when you actually invest into a startup, your senses are amplified. Jose can smell success because he has personally been around success and failure. He won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan but failed to do the same with Chelsea and Real Madrid. The ability to smell success quickly is further enhanced by experiencing both success and failure. If you have experienced both, your nose can differentiate success from failure quickly.

"Jose Mourinho can smell success because he has personally been around success and failure."

In a previous article, I discussed the magic of culture being incorporated at NewsCred, a New York startup located right around the corner from Broadway. Yes. I noticed the sweet smell of success the moment I walked through their startup doors that Friday morning to learn more about their disruptive business model.

Smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling success plays into the psychology of any entrepreneur mind. When it comes to entreprenetics, the psychology of the entrepreneur mind, you should imagine your end goal as vividly as possible, with all of your senses. For example, you can amplify the process by allowing your entrepreneur mind to hear the sounds associated with your imagined picture. Can you hear yourself laughing all the way to the bank to deposit your million-dollar check? You don’t have to eat your imagined picture but should try to taste your end goal. Can you taste the food being served to you in the Hawaiian resort after you have successfully sold your company to Google?

You know you’ve seen your vision and success clearly enough when you can smell your successful outcome. Can you smell the fresh breeze coming from the Dubrovnik beach in Croatia as you a vacation after your IPO?

You must be disciplined and go through the visualization process every day.

If Jose Mourinho uses his other senses to see his success, you can too. If you want to go a step further, visualize yourself as “The Chosen One” in your chosen game of startups. Proclaiming yourself as “The Chosen One” worked for Jose Mourinho. It can work for you too.


[1] “Jose Mourinho in awe over his Chelsea 'animal' trio,” July 16, 2013, Jeremy Wilson, in Bangkok, The Telegraph

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Damir Perge, author of Entrepreneur Myths: The Startup Reality, is the founder of entrepreneurdex, a startup studio using complexity science to fund, launch, accelerate and scale startups and growing businesses.

An entrepreneur and investor, with more than 25 years experience, he's worked with ventures in the technology, internet, media and publishing, entertainment, energy, and manufacturing sectors raising more than $300 million in capital for various companies and investing more than $50 million into startup and emerging ventures. He's sat on the boards of 11 companies, served as editor-in-chief of Futuredex, a private equity magazine. Follow 

Pre-order Damir Perge's upcoming books at damirperge.com >

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