“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”
- Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries
What is interesting is that most of the entrepreneurs out there have goals to make large businesses and make a lot of money but they don’t know why they want that. Business owners care about the power and glamour of a Fortune 500 business, but we don’t know what that really means for our own lives. We are so quick to envision these big goals with our businesses, but do we realize what it will take to accomplish that? Most importantly are we willing to make those sacrifices necessary in order to make our dreams a reality?
Where Are You Going?
So many hot shots build on lofty ideas that sound great. It seems like they do this so they can tell strangers at a party like they are some celebrity. You can get excited and your partners are stoked, but it doesn’t matter what you talk about if you don’t have a good understanding how you are going to get there. Of course there are always unexpected bumps and lessons along the road to success, but still you must exude patience and constantly build on your business mission statement. This statement can create unity and purpose. Get every member of the company involved with this statement as it evolves.
You have to realize you will have to deal with many complexities of a business. You have to realize there are legal aspects. Not just the organization of an L.L.C. or some other type of business entity, but there are so many legal issues with contracts, compliance, customer relations, quality control, and so many other potential sticky issues. Are you prepared in case anyone might sue you? Do you know how to handle all of your customer’s concerns properly and how to properly have products returned? Would you even want to sell products or deal with customer service? How do you organize your systems so your employees know their tasks to the utmost degree?
What Government entities would you need approval from or organizations would you have to establish relationships with in order to fulfill your service? I can go on and on (I think I just did). Sometimes you might find yourself climbing a ladder, but it is leaning against the wrong wall. The last thing you want to do is end up half way through your journey feeling completely trapped and helpless.
Is Everyone On The Same Page?
One of the worst things you can do is go into a partnership with different aspirations of what is the main objective. If you have alternate motives then you will eventually suffer immensely. You will argue over everything. You will question who to hire, what type of growth you would shoot for, how patient or aggressive your direction should be, and how to deal with challenges. You will grow to despise and not trust each other. It will damage your friendship and make you wonder why you ever got together in the first place.
You company will struggle and the systems will be out of whack. For instance you might feel like selling the company after a certain point, but one of your partners may not want to. You might feel caught in it for whatever reason and spending more time then you want while your partner might question your desire. You may feel like bringing in people to train and replace you, but your partner doesn’t want that yet at the current stage the company is at. Do you see how this is one of what could be many, many issues?
Know what each person wants and respect it. Often the different viewpoints have valid arguments. Establish their goals and your goals together and create synergy so that it can be worked out properly. Be open and honest with your dreams and then you will find the right people to surround yourself with. So that way each person gets what they want and the business becomes more important than any one person.
Why Do You Want To Accomplish These Goals?
Know what your personal dreams are. Know exactly what you want out of your business. If it means you want to be a millionaire working 80 hours a week then prepare for that (I hope you don’t want to work that much). If you want to work a few hours on a leadership basis and make a solid income that supports your lifestyle then make sure that your company won’t compromise your quality of life. Know when you want to leave (if you do) and if you want to return. Don’t feel obligated to one idea or direction. Be flexible to other director’s wants and needs or else how can you expect the same from them. The business should be the means and not the end. It will allow you to be more fair to your family, friends, employees and the company as a whole.
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