Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Be your own boss / start your own business? Think about it!

If opening your own business is as easy as the starter kit you're selling me, I have few questions.
  • what's with the statistic that 1 in 5 businesses makes it to year 5 and half of those to year 10?
  • why did the largest capitalist country in the world require a “stimulus package”?
  • why are other countries around the world declaring bankruptcy?
  • how is the world in a global economic crisis?
Possible Answers? 
1. Not everyone is wired ‘equally’.
       Being an entrepreneur requires a very special innate set of tools beyond passion. While we like to think we're all equal the REALity is we are not.
    • Organization – successful business is a culmination of a thousand daily responsibilities. The good ole “it’s all up here” isn’t going to cut it.
  • Persistence – not only is the table not set for you, you aren’t even provided with a spear to hunt your own food.
  • Patience – very few things in business happen quickly and the worse people get in their jobs, the slower that process is.
  • Resilience – it’s almost comical how many times you will get punched square between the eyes and have to pull yourself back up off the mat.
  • Independence – the cliché ‘it’s lonely at the top’, is real.  
  • Coach, mentor, leader  - great business is built from the bottom up, not the top down. YOU are irrelevant in comparison to those you’ve empowered to deliver the service / product. This is counter intuitive to everything you've been taught to date. 
 2. They didn’t teach me business in school.
What I was taught was a skill set for a specific area of interest. eg: I’d like to be a physiotherapist, so I’ll pursue that vertical of education, finish with a degree, intern and then of course.... maximize my earning abilities by being my own boss because why would I work for someone else so they can collect all the money and I only receive a percentage of the wage? Followed by:
  • Wow, I had no idea there was as much risk associated with owning my own business.
  • Additionally, I’m working harder & longer than I was when I was working for someone else (read: 24/7) with marginally better returns (to start).
  • I can’t charge as much because since we lowering prices to be competitive, I’ve got to work harder to demonstrate the value.
  • I wish someone could have taught me the reality of business at the same time as I was learning my area of interest. 
Area of interest + business acumen = the start line of business. 
 3. Great business evolves from systems.
Whether it’s a bottle drive, not for profit, small / medium or large business there’s a fairly standard (& required) formula for success that has had to have been well articulated for the reproduction & scaling of your business.
  • Straight up, repeat business success is predicated from a single word; ENGAGEMENT.
  • How am I going to engage prospective employee’s to buy into my product & vision & sell it and how am are we then going to turn around and ENGAGE customers for their 1st, 20th, 200th interaction?
  • Without a vision people can get behind, a mission that can be put against a tangible audit to show pass / fail and clear goals and objectives that support both the mission & vision, you have taken a loan and borrowed your way to being the 4/5 businesses that do not make it to 5 years OR you have created ‘m-equity’ whereby the scaling ‘success’ of your business is 100% tied to you. read: no one will buy you out bcs it’s ‘all about you’ and any valuation is going to be based on good will vs. tangible return on investment.
Vision + mission + goals & objectives. Many business owners make the mistake of not articulating a clear vision & mission and even less create, adhere to or retool the goals & objectives.

4. The world was created to thrive and survive based on interdependent relationships.
  • Successful business ecosystems are no different than successful team sports.
  • There has never been a championship hockey team comprised of goalies in every position and there will never be a successful industry comprised of entrepreneurs in every sector.
  • If we look at current industry trends, we see the partnerships, alliances & mergers taking place to shrink the rapidly expanding marketplaces to capture the critical mass.
  • More profitable for business & consumer. Infinitely more challenging for entrepreneur in inventory or service related business. 
In short, while there’s a lot of upside to being your own boss / starting your own business, it’s a decision that needs to be carefully weighed with the REALities of great business which statistically speaking.... may not favor everyone.

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