I spend a lot of ink on self assessment in my book. I always thought that you have to figure out what you’re capable of and can do and are good at and passionate about before you can make a wise choice to be an entrepreneur. In my analytical, architectural mind, that makes sense: build a foundation of understanding—of yourself, your customer, your product—before you build the product and the business. However…
I recently saw the results of a poll on an entrepreneur-oriented web site that had 51% saying they think it’s a better idea to learn about starting a business by just starting a business. Only 22% thought they should get prepared by talking to successful (and unsuccessful) entrepreneurs or read books before they make the plunge. That just doesn’t seem right to me.
Here’s my dilemma: I started out by just starting out; damn the torpedoes and all of that. I figured it out as I went along and I succeeded with luck and balls. Now, many years later, I’m telling people what I learned: that you can really screw it up if you don’t learn a few things first. Luck and balls… Continue reading
The dream of every entrepreneur is to start and run a business that will provide a rewarding, challenging, and fruitful life. Or maybe it’s reaching that pot of gold in three to five years—or someday. Most founders I know see overcoming the challenges as the fun part, where the journey is as—or more—important as creating the exit. For me, that’s true. It was never about the money, it was about the puzzle-piecing, the arranging the parts of the business in a well-oiled symphony of ever-expanding efficiency and production. The money just comes along with doing that well.
OK. Maybe that sounds a little dramatic. It is really true, though. If you don’t love the challenge of arranging and massaging each detail of growing the business, from engineering to manufacturing to eCommerce to the mail room, you may miss some critical component. A business is like a big machine, with gears and levers and belts and motors, all whirring in fine precision—at least it SHOULD be. However, trust me, if you don’t pay enough attention to that little gear over there, you could break the machine. Or, more likely, make it run inefficiently. It runs, but it might be losing power.… Continue reading