I have immense respect and admiration for the thousands of individuals who every year have a go at becoming their own boss. The sad fact is that very few are still trading after 5 years. Whether it’s poor economic conditions, shortfall in finance, recruiting and retaining the right staff, lack of market demand, the phenomenal challenges faced are (at first sight) enough to put anyone in their right mind from embarking on an entrepreneurial venture.
Whilst many management advisers correctly stress the importance of business plans, marketing strategy’s and excel spreadsheets, is sufficient emphasis placed on embracing the right mindset? A mental state that is tough and able to cope with the inevitable roller coaster which comes with going for growth. In my opinion mental resilience is just as important as any business plan. Self-employment or growth are not the answer for everyone; in fact, for the unprepared it potentially ruin their lives as well as those of people who depend on them.
For anyone setting out in business or pursing a growth journey, ask yourself – what am I really good and bad at – self-awareness is an extremely important attribute. Also and more importantly when you recognize that you and only you are in charge of your own life and future, then amazing things can happen. The successful entrepreneurs I have had the great fortune of interviewing lead themselves before they lead others, they take control and have a razor like focus that steam rolls obstacles and challenges that accompany growth. They take total control of their action and decisions – they make things happen, they are doers not talkers. They remain true to their mission and dig deep when the odds are stacked against. They embrace failure and are life long learners.
Business growth and personal transformation go hand in hand – a business only changes when you change. Learning, self development, curiosity, thirst for new ideas, reading and networking are inextricably linked to business growth. You can’t grow to becoming a 50-person business if you don’t grow yourself and your own skills set. In my experience, entrepreneurs are so often busy fire fighting and working on the day-to-day problems that they don’t find the time or the space to make the transition from entrepreneur to professional manager and leader. Many business people fail to embrace personal change, consequently they stand still or worse, decay.
Whilst walking my dog early on Saturday morning a random discussion with a local businessman inspired this blog, he told me that he had not been on holiday for eight years. He further went on to qualify the statement with, “that’s what happens when you run your own business”. I did hold back, but my most immediate reaction was that the business was running him and he needed to change!
So the message is? Personal change and transformation are vital ingredients to growing a business, most people do it because they strive for freedom, the guy I met the other day is obviously treating his as a custodial sentence.