I can’t tell you how often I’ve stood before a group of starry-eyed entrepreneurial wannabes and said, “So you think you’re an entrepreneur?” Most budding business owners, future franchise owners, business school graduates, or people who think they have a great idea that should be a business have never thought about what it means to be an entrepreneur.
And that’s why 93% of all businesses started today will be out of business in five years or less. I believe that understanding what an entrepreneur is should be a prerequisite course in high schools, business schools, and post-graduate courses and a required element of any business plan.
Two types of people will always struggle with entrepreneurship, in particular.
One is The Dreamer.
The Dreamer has an idea for a business that all of their buddies have told him he could get rich with. So, they take their life savings and dive in. It is my experience as a certified Master Business Coach that about 95% or more of these people have no idea what to do. They don’t have a business plan. They haven’t considered what it takes to own and run a business. They don’t have any business experience to begin with. And, they ALWAYS underestimate the amount of TIME, EFFORT, and MONEY required to sustain their business. They haven’t a plan that gives them options. Inevitably, they struggle mightily, become frustrated, run out of money, lose their investment, and return to the factory.
The second type is the former CORPORATE “How hard can entrepreneurship be” big shot.
I see it every day, and it’s sad, and there’s not much I can do about it. A person works for twenty years or more, climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. They have a big title. They make tons of money. They have loads of perks. They have support teams out of the wazoo. They retire early and decide that they want to be an entrepreneur. Many times, it is ego alone that gets in the way. The fact is, this type of entrepreneur is like that television show, NAKED and AFRAID. They begin their venture with the attitude of “How hard can this be? I was a big shot in corporate. I know how to do this. Prospects and customers will fall to their knees and kiss my shoes once I’m in the market.”
They throw lots of cash at their project, have drinks with their friends, and brag that they are now entrepreneurs. Then, they fail.
They’re not prepared to be an entrepreneur because they don’t know what it means to be an entrepreneur. What isn’t taught in business school is that success is lonely, and entrepreneurship is lonelier. You have no marketing department backing you up. You have no sales teams backing you up. You have no HR, CFO, or assistants as support. You have no paycheck or benefits program. And, when you tell prospective clients about your past titles or degrees, they don’t care. All they want to know is how you can help them. You’re often alone and feel naked in the wilderness and don’t know what to do.
Naked and Afraid.
If entrepreneurship is right for you, it’s a fantastic thrill ride of twists and turns, challenges and jubilation. If entrepreneurship isn’t for you, it can be a nightmare that ruins lives.
If you’re considering the life of an entrepreneur, think it through and have all the facts. Know what you’re getting into, and be prepared. Get help. Hire a coach. Build a team of advisors for every business level you might not know. Build a team of employees who can be as passionate as you are about the business and what it does.
In an article from the March 2023 edition of INC. magazine by Will Leitch, there is a description of an entrepreneur that I like. It says, “But what is an entrepreneur other than someone open and curious, who understands their value, who is willing to look past steep odds, who assembles and empowers a team? What is an entrepreneur but someone who inspires other people to come along for the ride? What is an entrepreneur but someone who can’t help but seize opportunities and then use them to create even more?”
If you want to be an entrepreneur or are struggling as one, give me a call or write me. As a Master Business Coach, I specialize in helping entrepreneurs thrive rather than just survive.