Today I had the pleasure of speaking to a room of small business people, coaches and entrepreneurs about the barriers to growth. The barriers include: the leader’s ability to develop and change, the need to put systems and processes in place as the business evolves, and the need to understand how your marketplace changes as you and your business grow.
While I went in with a planned presentation to lead a group discussion, I also walked away with a new insight that all of us face when being entrepreneurial. There is a yin yang effect about everything, including starting and running a company. We start companies for many reasons. For some it is the freedom of expression and creativity that comes from an environment with much less policy and bureaucracy than working for the man. For others, there is a desire to be the best baker, brick layer, or auto repair person you can be. Or because of experiences and insights from working for someone else that give you the perspective to be able to do the business better. Yet we quickly learn that being great at baking or bricklaying has nothing to do with running a bakery or contracting firm.
In so many ways being a successful entrepreneur requires us to run into our weaknesses head on. Entrepreneurs are often focused on vision and the future, however, if you are to make it more than a year or so, you quickly learn that success in business is one part vision, two parts getting things done! Execution really matters!
Being creative and exploring new solutions, technologies, or ideas are the life blood of entrepreneurship. Many new companies come from the notion of research and development, but be careful. Be creative, yet be selective. Prioritize well, my friend. Or find yourself having “bit off more than you can chew,” as the saying goes. Over funding too many ideas, projects and innovation can leave you without a product or market to sell it in, and no revenues and no cash in the bank to prove it!
I was the asked some good questions today. “When do you know what to do? It sounds at times like the free-for-all, wild west style of running a business fuels growth and innovation.” My response was, yes it can. “So when you put structure, routine and process in place… aren’t they at odds with the entrepreneurial spirit?” Yes, they can be. After all, opposites only exist in relation to each other.
The best advice of all comes in the form of ones own experience. For me I want structure, routine and and process to fuel the early entrepreneurial spirit. I find that this yin yang effect helps me amplify the entrepreneurial spirit and extend its shelf life, if you will. It is this very structure that helps an entepreneurial company be creative, to be able to communicate in practical ways with more staff and customers, to balance priorities and be like it used to when it was much smaller. And if you ask me, slightly better than before.
Do you have a yin yang, entrepreneurial story? Please share and give me something to write about!