Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

Making it in business is tough, that's why so few companies actually do make it. For every ten who try, one will be successful, and the degrees of success vary greatly. Likely, 99% of entrepreneurs who are smart enough, diligent enough, crazy enough and stubborn enough to "make it" barely do so. In most cases their businesses provide less income than did their previous career, they work more hours for themselves than they did when they were an employee of someone else's business, and benefits such as healthcare insurance and retirement plans are a rarity for a start-up and those who start them.

All entrepreneurs, successful or not, wealthy or not, should be more highly regarded by their communities for they are seasoned warriors. Ethical and successful entrepreneurs should be highly leveraged by their communities and their local, state and federal governments. Successful or not, the lessons learned through entrepreneurship are the greatest lessons one can learn, in my opinion.

This Huffington Post article highlights the fact that as entrepreneurs we think we must do it all, we think we CAN do it all, though the most successful businessmen and women will tell you that the key to success is actually the complete opposite; letting go is the key. Understanding what the one thing is that you should be doing, that no one else can do, and hiring against your skill-set is the secret.

If you were to fast forward to the five year anniversary of the opening of your new business, the business was healthy and viable, would you then hire one person to handle marketing, keep your books, and train new employees? Of course you wouldn't, so why hire one person to do all of those things in the beginning? You wouldn't do this because you would want experts in each department who can put their entire focus and energy into "that one thing" they only they can do. And if they can't do "that one thing" then we all know we would need to replace them with someone who can.

So why is it then that in the early years entrepreneurs try to do it all? Two reasons: 1) they are undercapitalized, and 2) they are "control freaks". The first is obvious, the second is because of the first. Under capitalization is the reason most businesses don't make it. New entrepreneurs are "control freaks" because they don't have the capital to hire people who don't produce results. Although entrepreneurs are risk takers, new business is so vulnerable and fragile that if an employer gives an employee responsibility and that employee fails to deliver, the company will likely fail; it is just that fragile.

Far too many entrepreneurs try to do it all, yet they aren't effective at any of it. A lot of hours are worked, stress is off the charts, workload is too heavy, and the things that should be the focus (like sales) get a fraction of the entrepreneur's energy and focus while they try to control everything else.

The Huffington Post article validates why franchising is so attractive to many people; the Franchisee has essentially outsourced areas of the business they are not experts at through the Franchisor and/or Vendors preselected by the Franchisor, and the franchisee can then focus on getting the business off the ground so that one day they can open a second and third business, which by the way, requires that the entrepreneur give up control, because they can't be in two places at the same time!

I know I make it sound so clear and easy to employ or outsource the right people, but it's not. It's hard to trust and allow others to have an impact on the success or failure of your business when it is you, the entrepreneur, whose livelihood, income, credit rating, legacy, bankruptcy, children's education, family, etc that is on the line. Letting go and letting people in when you have so much to lose is hard to do for these entrepreneurs because it conflicts with everything we have been taught is required to survive. Tribes survive, villages thrive, those who take the path unmarked usually don't come back. Entrepreneurs are taking the path unmarked. The question is this: do they not come back because they wandered the jungle alone and fell victim to the various dangers, or did they not return because what they found on their journey (that unmarked path) was so much better than the village they left behind? This is the very essence of entrepreneurship, wondering what else could possibly be out there waiting for me, if only I can beat the odds and navigate the jungle alone.