What they don’t teach you in Entrepreneur School
Entrepreneur schools are popping up all around the country and some of the most established schools are starting to teach about Entrepreneurship. The question is can this be taught or are you born and entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are clearly a different breed. These are people who are willing to go against the grain, they are not followers. They are always looking for solutions to problems in their world. They are extremely flexible and huge risk takers. They generally start with very little and create their own opportunities.
I have met a lot of people who claim to be entrepreneurs but their abilities don’t match up to their wish to become a succesful entrepreneur.
The Ego and I
Now that doesn’t mean that you take unnecessary risks but your risks are calculated and clearly you always try to minimize risk. However, especially in the startup phase of your company, you constantly need to balance revenue, cash flow and growth. This is never an easy task but it is one that the entrepreneur thrives on. Also there are no formulas to get you there.
Sure there are case studies that show you how companies have handled this but there is no blueprint that you can follow. People are always looking for a book or a guideline to follow that is their roadmap to prosperity. Unfortunately if it were that easy everyone would be successful. There are so many variables in any given startup that there is no concrete path to follow. There are some best practices but at the end of the day you need to remain flexible and agile. While this makes management and training a challenge it is also the greatest strength of small companies.
Because inherently as a company grows, the only way to maintain management and control of the company is to create policies and procedures so that the growing staff has a proven path to follow. Once these policies and procedures are put into place and followed, and management moves more into a true role of management the company becomes structured. By its very nature this structure makes it less flexible.
One must remember that no company is perfect.
The problems that you face as a small company generally includes funding, reserves, too few clients, managing growth. Large companies have issues with being too regimented, lack of customer service and many times being out of touch with their customer base. There are people whose forte it is at every size company. But the Entrepreneur is geared to be successful at the early stages of a company. One of the things that happens in the early stages is that there are plenty of naysayers. It seems as if everyone, including your family are all too eager to tell you the flaws in your plans and the way you should be running your business. To say that you have to have a thick skin is an understatement.
Over time your skin actually becomes too thick. Your Ego starts to get in the way as your business goes. Classically, the people who start the company are willing to work all hours, day and night, seven days a week because you are dependent on this company working. So you will do whatever it takes. When you get to the point of hiring employees, there is a shift in the mentality of your company.
If you hire well, your employees will still care about the company but they will never perform to the level that the founders did. They simply do not have as much at stake. In the worst case they would go and get another job. The founders have put their entire financial life on the line with credit cards, home mortgages, and signed leases. It simply is a greater motivation for the founders. This is where many Entrepreneurs struggle.
The very Ego that got them the point of a successful business now can cause a chasm between them and their employees.
While from the entrepreneur’s standpoint they are driving their staff to perform better and better by pointing out areas from improvement, employees generally feel that there is an abundance of things that they cannot do correctly and they feel like they are letting the Entrepreneur down. Employees have been trained their entire life to meet the needs of a superior, whether it be a parent, a teacher and a boss in the corporate world. The Entrepreneur feels like the only person the employee should try to impress is themselves and believes that the employee needs to be able to have the same drive as themselves. While the Entrepreneur and the employee will never have the same motivation come at a problem the same way, hopefully an understanding of how each other think will help build a bridge.
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