An entrepreneur is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise, according to Merriam-Webster. Sounds easy enough, right? Or … does it sound a little different than what you were thinking?
The funny thing is that I meet with a lot of entrepreneurs who discovered how to make a widget and sell it. They never realize, though, what comes with turning that widget into a full-fledged enterprise. It’s way more than just the widget. It’s all the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes the business work.
So to be an entrepreneur, you have to focus on three areas. OK, it’s way more than three areas, but let’s stick with the 30,000-foot view.
- Organization – One of the biggest areas where I see entrepreneurs fail is the admin. You have to get on top of it and stay there. During EntreLeadership, I ask people to raise their hand if they love accounting. Without fail, less than 5% do. Why? Because entrepreneurs hate being bogged down in the numbers. Therefore, many of them fail. Accounting is one of the most important admin pieces of your business. But it doesn’t stop there. You have to focus on hiring and doing it well. Most entrepreneurs interview a handful of people, with a short amount of interviews, and then hire someone who ultimately doesn’t work out. And then, they can’t figure out why the person failed. Organization is key to winning!
- Management – While an entrepreneur can start out alone, they usually don’t stay there. That’s when management comes into play. Even though that word gets a bum rap, it’s something that has to happen. I hear people say all the time, “I don’t want to manage, I want to lead.” Well, that’s great but practically impossible. You have to get into the day-to-day stuff and make sure that your operation is running correctly, team members are being led well and you’re getting information from all, yes ALL, levels in the company. We have a saying around here, “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” Hiring a team doesn’t mean you can take your hand off the steering wheel.
- Assume Risk – It has been said that entrepreneurs can go from sheer exhilaration to sheer terror and back in the same 24 hours. It’s what separates entrepreneurs from leaders. It’s easy to lead when someone else is taking all the risk. You have to be willing to step out there and do some gut-wrenching things. You have to be willing to put some, not all, on the line to make your deal happen. Taking chances has to be part of your life going forward—even when others around you probably won’t have the stomach. Let me reiterate, never put it all on the line!
If you’ve ever thought about stepping out on your own and being your own boss, then you’re already on your way. Just don’t be one of those who fails from a lack of planning.
Question: What skills do you need to make your business work?