I went into business because I’m passionate about my industry, about being an entrepreneur and about enhancing, improving and adding value to someone’s business and life through my meaningful and just-in-time contributions
Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about what it means to be an “entrepreneur.” Entrepreneurs have been qualified, described, classified, defined, investigated, characterized, construed, represented, delineated, designated, detailed, explained, expounded, illustrated, interpreted, and labeled. Writers have gotten into our heads, our minds, our skin and our shoes in an attempt to find out what makes entrepreneurs tick. We’ve been called rugged individualists, bootstrappers, soloists, risk-takers, speculators, and merchants. You name it better!
I tend to use the phrase “business owner” interchangeably with “entrepreneur.” In my mind, if you own all or part of a relatively small, privately held company – whether you started it, bought it, or inherited it – you fit the bill. It is the same term.
I’m not going to do any further defining. You know who you are and what you are. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you.
Why do I need to address this?
This article is written not for accomplished business owners who have taken their firms public, or who have driven their privately-held companies’ revenues into the hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s written for existing small to mid-sized business owners who struggle to break through to the next level … who work hard but never seem to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. And it’s written for future entrepreneurs, so they might avoid learning the hard way.
Before I get into why you started (or want to start) your business, let’s spend a minute on whether you should have done so, or should do so in the future. (I want would-be entrepreneurs to feel included, but from now on in this guide I’ll refrain from referring to you, just to keep things simple. So even though things are referenced to existing business owners, it applies to you also.)
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone!
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I know business owners who should not be in business, and bet you do too. Statistics don’t lie! Numbers are telling us all with more than 70% of new businesses don’t survive to their 5th anniversary. Hard to swallow? Yes it is!!!
Chambers of commerce, the Small Business Administration, and the adult education departments of many community colleges sponsor “How to Start a Business” classes. If you’ve ever attended one of these, you’ve no doubt heard a litany of characteristics you need to succeed in your own business. Typically, they include things like the ability to focus on details while still watching the big picture, people skills, negotiation skills, and enough savings to keep you afloat personally until the business becomes successful enough to start paying you a salary.
There are also thousands of books, guides,e-books and courses on the topic where you can find the answers. All these are valuable, important, but unfortunately not sufficient or over the top and will take you a lot of time to master! I will present to you condensed wisdom in a format that will not overwhelm you but will challenge you to think it through on your own terms and in your own time, for your own benefit and results.
You need to be passionate about 3 things only
I submit to you, though, that the over-riding characteristic that separates successful entrepreneurs, visual thinkers from also-rans, wrong objections seekers, “fuzzy-minded-looking-for quick-fix opportunity” seekers are passion, vision and clarity. And at the beginning or your entrepreneurial journey, you need to be passionate about these three things and the three things only:
- You need to be passionate about being an entrepreneur and willing to take risks and to absorb threats that may come your way
- You need above average passion for your industry. I would say you need to love what you do as with unreserved love your chances radically improve
- You need to be clear and certain that your contribution will positively enhance, improve and add value to someone life/business/organisation. You need to be inside out – service oriented.