Check out my video about entrepreneurship and liberty in America and how other small business in other countries might not be as fortunate.
Tag Archive for 'Entrepreneurship'
Check out my video about entrepreneurship and liberty in America and how other small businesses in other countries might not be as fortunate.
“Stop and smell the roses!”
Most small business owners wish they had a dollar for every time some “civilian” presumed to pass judgment on the way we spend our time.
Of course, we shouldn’t follow our dream to the detriment of family, health, or spirit. But civilians should remember that “stop and smell the roses” is a metaphor. And every human gets to define his or her own metaphorical “roses.”
In fairness, it’s not the civilian’s fault, because they are typically those who work someone else’s dream, as an employee. Since their “roses” are not likely to be found where they work, it makes sense for them to think a small business owner should get out of the business more, or to question why we work on weekends, or to encourage us to play more golf.
When you see small business owners working on their business on a beautiful Saturday, instead of playing golf, don’t presume that they aren’t smelling their roses.
Here’s what civilians often don’t understand about entrepreneurs: We don’t have to leave work to smell the roses.
Some experts take a very narrow position by saying an entrepreneur is only someone whose business idea can scale to national reach, like the founders of Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. Others cast a much wider net to include anyone who takes a business risk.
Here is my very broad definition: An entrepreneur attempts to create a new product, service or solution while accepting responsibility for the results.
Notice this definition doesn’t refer to profit or equity or even business. But it does infer what I consider the following critical elements of entrepreneurship, including a relationship with the abiding twins of any entrepreneurial endeavor – success and failure.
Ownership: Whether in the literal equity sense, as in business ownership, or an entrepreneurial employee who takes initiative and assumes ownership of the performance of a team or project, entrepreneurship does not happen unless someone takes ownership of execution and results.
Courage: This is the backbone of entrepreneurial behavior because the stakes are always high. Failure can manifest in many forms, including financial loss, professional setbacks and personal embarrassment. Nothing entrepreneurial happens until conviction raises the level of courage above the fear of failure.
Curiosity: Curiosity is the face of entrepreneurship because the eyes see what isn’t there, the ears hear sounds others miss, the nose smells opportunity, and the mouth asks “What if?” There are many business owners who are not curious, but there are no entrepreneurs who aren’t driven by curiosity.
Vision: A futurist is someone who makes a living connecting the dots into a picture before it is evident to others. Entrepreneurs are futurists when they envision an opportunity or solution associated with their industry, discipline or assignment.
Risk: Successful entrepreneurs are not foolhardy; they gauge their risk tolerance based on the potential emotional, professional and financial costs. Entrepreneurs take risks knowing that whether they succeed or fail, they will learn something useful.
Redemption: Plans often don’t go as envisioned. Successfully resetting and refocusing – for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial employees – requires an answer to the most powerful question in the quest for entrepreneurial excellence: “What did we learn?”
The 21st century needs all kinds of entrepreneurs.
Since 1995, control of the three major elements of your customer relationships – product, information, and buying decision – has been shifting from business to customer. As you may remember, I’ve identified this shift as a marketplace transition from the original age to the new one – the 10,000 year-old Age of the Seller is being replaced by the Age of the Customer.
As this shift plays out, two types of businesses - Hidebound Sellers and Visionary Sellers - currently exist in parallel universes, but not for long. Which one are you?
These companies are so invested and entrenched in the old order of control that they deny the reality in front of them. They can be identified by the following markers:
- Misplaced frustration: As performance goals get harder to accomplish, frustration makes those who deny the new realities think their pain is caused by a failure to execute.
- Bad strategies: It is said that armies prepare for the next war by training for the last one. So it is with Hidebound Sellers. Not only do Age of the Customer influences make them think they’re being attacked, but they persist in using Age of the Seller countermeasures.
- Destructive pressure: Convinced of execution failure, pressure brought to bear by management results in an employee casualty list instead of a growing customer list.
- Equity erosion: Defiance in the face of overwhelming evidence sustains the deniers only until they run out of Customers with old expectations, and/or equity and access to credit are depleted.
These businesses are adjusting their plans to conform to the new reality of more control by customers. Visionary Sellers are identified by these markers:
- Acceptance: They accept that the customer is now in control and make appropriate adjustments to this reality.
- Modern sales force: They hire and train their sales force to serve increasingly informed and empowered customers.
- Technology adoption: They offer technology options that allow customers to find, connect, and do business using their preferences.
- Relevance over competitiveness: They recognize that while being competitive is still important, today it’s just table stakes and is being replaced in customer priority by the new coin of the realm: relevance.
In the Age of the Customer, Hidebound Sellers are dinosaurs waiting for extinction. Visionary Sellers are finding success by orienting operations and strategies around a more informed and empowered customer.
So what’s the verdict? Are you Hidebound or Visionary?
One of the traits of an entrepreneur is a passionate desire for more - to discover and acquire more information, more efficiency, more productivity, more capability, more speed and yes, sometimes even more money and stuff.
But entrepreneurs don’t own the franchise on this trait. Lots of people WANT more. It’s just that entrepreneurs set themselves apart from others because they actually have the ability to create more. God bless entrepreneurs because, without their vision, courage, energy, and passion to create more, many of the things that enrich our lives would not exist.
It’s important that our world creates the fertile soil in which entrepreneurship can grow. Fertile entrepreneurial soil is where accomplishment is recognized, courage is admired, passion is encouraged, ideas can be openly debated and where truth is valued.
And entrepreneurs are not just found in the traditional marketplace. You can find them in education, in medicine, in research and yes, even in government. All species of entrepreneurs should be allowed to flourish wherever you find them.
But if you are having trouble finding an entrepreneur, the quickest way to solve that problem is to go hang out with small business owners.